Caretaker boss Steven Kinniburgh says he would love to keep Leon Lobjoit at Corby Town - but admits he won’t be surprised if the in-form loan striker is recalled to Sixfields by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
And former Oxford United defender Kinniburgh also made it clear he believes Lobjoit could be the ideal man to provide the scoring spark to the misfiring Cobblers attack as they look to turn around their Sky Bet League One slump.
Town haven’t scored in more than 500 minutes of league one football, and last Saturday were thrashed 6-0 at home by Bristol Rovers.
The Cobblers are preparing to entertain AFC Wimbledon this weekend, and their attacking options are even more limited than they have been recently, as they will be without the suspended Alex Revell as well as Chris Long, who is still struggling to shake off a hamstring problem.
Lobjoit was sent on loan to the Steelmen last month and has proved to be a big success, scoring twice in five starts as Kinniburgh’s team have claimed four straight wins to rise to within touching distance of the play-offs in Evo-Stik Northern League First Division South.
And the Corby caretaker boss, who has overseen the upturn in form following David Bell’s departure just days after Lobjoit joined the club on loan, has been very impressed.
“If we had the chance, I would love to keep Leon,” said Kinniburgh. “I will open those discussions with Northampton to see what they want to do.
“But when they have been to the games, they will have seen his development.”
Hasselbaink sent Lobjout and fellow rookie striker Joe Iaciofano on loan to Corby and Chesham United respectively at the back end of September, and the pair still have a couple of weeks to run on those arrangements.
The Dutchman made it clear he didn’t think either were ready to play for the Town first team, and said they needed to go and experience men’s football and that he would ‘see how they come back and how they are, and then assess them again’.
Well, Lobjoit has made a big impression at Corby, scoring his second goal for the club in Wednesday night’s 3-1 win over Alvechurch, and Iaciofano made it an impressive four goals in four starts for Chesham, as they drew 1-1 at Bishop’s Stortford on Tuesday.
Both players still train daily with the Cobblers squad and, as far as Lobjoit is concerned, Kinniburgh, who has also played for Cambridge United, believes the former MK Dons and Coventry City youngster already has what it takes to make the step up to League football.
“I think he’s got the potential to do it (step up to League One) and to be honest, I don’t see why you wouldn’t give a boy with such enthusiasm and who is so eager to play the game a chance,” said the Scotsman.
“When you look at League football into non-League football, there isn’t too much difference.
“The quality of player is better and the fitness levels are better but he’s got that in abundance. I think the boy is worth a chance to have a shot.”
Lobjoit is set to feature for the Steelman again on Saturday when they entertain Carlton Town, while Iaciofano is in line to start for Chesham as they travel to Dorchester Town.
Neither player has featured for the Cobblers first team since Hasselbaink took over from Justin Edinburgh.
Steve Kinniburgh quotes courtesy of Northants Telegraph