Lewis Hornby says a professional contract at the Cobblers is ‘at the back of his mind’ but is happy to focus on football for the time being.
The 17-year-old has gone from youth-team prospect to first-team regular in the past month, turning in several accomplished performances in the centre of midfield.
For a period, Hornby was keeping on-loan Manchester City youngster Emyr Huws out of the first-choice 11, although the two both started last Saturday’s home defeat to Cheltenham Town.
However, Kettering-born Hornby, whose father played for Burton Albion and Yeovil Town, remains on a scholarship deal at Sixfields.
Aidy Boothroyd commented last week that the club will discuss professional terms with the player in due course but that the plan is to keep him on youth terms to maintain his hunger.
“It’s always in the back of your mind,” conceded Hornby, who is set to continue his run in the first team at Torquay Unied on Saturday. “You want to become a footballer, but I’ve just got to keep working hard and hopefully that will come.
“I’ve got no complaints. I’m in the side and I’m playing regularly so I have got nothing to complain about at the moment.”
Hornby has impressed lots of people both within the club and who watch their games, not just with his technical ability but also the way he has handled the pressure of being involved in the senior side.
He showed nerves of steel to score a penalty in an FA Cup first-round shoot-out at Bradford City in November, and illustrated his growing confidence last Saturday with a shot from just inside the Cheltenham half.
“I’m quite good at handling pressure,” he said. “I’m quite a calm person, I don’t really let pressure affect me too much.
“I had a target in mind at the start of the season and I’m hitting that target not so I’m pleased with the way things are going.
“It’s a big thing for me and I’ve just to keep my head down and keep working hard.”