‘I think they’re happy’ – EFL Director of Football discusses Celtic youngster’s loan deal

Forest Green Rovers’ director of football Rich Hughes is hopeful that Celtic will allow young striker Jack Aitchinson to remain at the New Lawn for the rest of the season, as reported by the Athletic.

The 19-year-old has four goals in 14 matches this season, with a further three assists to help push Mark Cooper’s team up the table in League Two. He’s on a one-year loan from Parkhead giants Celtic, a move that can be reviewed after six months.

Hughes is hoping that the striker’s exposure to first-team football means he’ll be left at the New Lawn until the end of the season.

“First and foremost we’d love to keep him for the rest of the year, it’s a conversation to have with Celtic,” Hughes said.

“The deal is for the season but comes with a break clause, which is common in most deals. I think they’re happy. From our perspective, we’re certainly more than happy with Jack. I think it’s great for him.”

Aitchinson, who has been capped up to Under 18 level for Scotland, has certainly grown with an extended run of games and Hughes believes he has a big future ahead of him.

“With him graduating from youth football and then having a couple of loans where he’s not played massive amounts of football, I think the next step in his education is getting that run of consistent games, playing Saturday / Tuesday each week and making sure he’s ready every time he’s called upon.

“He’s certainly adapting to that and we think it is a good fit for Jack and definitely a good fit for us.”

Aitchinson has previously had loan spells north of the border with Alloa and Dumbarton, but his longest run of games has come this season. Forest Green are currently third in the table, four points off the top but having played a game more than Cheltenham and Crewe below them.

Our View

We like the look of Aitchinson, he’s got good movement and awareness of what is around him.

Senior football obviously helps massively and he’s getting a decent run of games in a side that plays football the right way.

Celtic would be foolish to reconsider his loan at present, another six months and 15 games will serve him far better than Under 23 football or even a stint in the Scottish Championship.

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