Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh has explained his decision to let striker Joe Iaciofano join non-League neighbours Corby Town on a work experience loan, saying the teenager has ‘gone beyond’ youth team football.
The 18-year-old joined the Steelmen last week, and on Wednesday night made an instant impact as he scored and also won a penalty for another goal as Gary Mills’ side beat UCL side Desborough Town 3-0 to reach the final of the NFA Hillier Senior Cup, which will be played at Sixfields.
Joe will be playing men’s football, which will be competitive. I think he has gone beyond the youth team now, and I think that is a level he is comfortable in and is not a challengeCobblers boss Justin Edinburgh
The youngster has enjoyed a prolific season with the Cobblers youth team, netting 18 goals, with his form seeing him getting noticed by former manager Rob Page, who invited him to train with the first team and also gave him three brief substitute appearances for the senior side.
Edinburgh has also been impressed with Iaciofano in his short time at the club, but following the loan signings of strikers Keshi Anderson and Michael Smith it was clear any further first team opportunities for the player would be unlikely.
The Town boss was still keen for the Iaciofano to play men’s football though, and feels a stint in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League with the Steelmen will be a huge benefit top him.
“Joe will be playing men’s football, which will be competitive,” said Edinburgh.
“I think Joe has gone beyond the youth team now, and I think that is a level he is comfortable in and is not a challenge.
“We felt that going with Gary Mills at Corby, and I know Millsy well as he played for me at Rushden, he will be under good guidance there and things will be done right at that football club.
“It is men’s competitive football, and for somebody of his age that is the next challenge.
“If he can get some good game time there, and we feel he will meet the challenge, and that then gives him a better chance when he comes back for pre-season.
“It means he has been involved in men’s football and played week in, week out, and that is the thinking there, and that will always be how we do things.”
Iaciofano, who is available for recall to the Cobblers at any time, is the second teenager to be loaned out to non-League this season, with midfielder Shaun McWilliams, who signed a professional contract last summer, having also enjoyed a stint at King’s Lynn.
And Edinburgh is keen to continue the trend in the future, saying: “I think once somebody has become comfortable in their environment then they need a fresh challenge, and that is what Joe needed.
“That is the way we will work with the youth team, as we have no gap between the 18s and the first team, so I really feel loans benefit us as a club and the player as well.”