HUDDERSFIELD TOWN have handed teenage striker Connor Loftus a second chance – and development coach Steve Eyre is backing him to take it.
The 18-year-old who was released by Bury at the end of last season has joined academy graduates James Burke, Israel Johnson, Max Leonard and Jordan Sinnott in signing first-year professional contracts.
Loftus, who was born in Bolton and started out with hometown Wanderers before joining Bury’s Centre of Excellence, had a spell on trial with Town at the end of last season and featured in an FA Premier Academy League clash with Sunderland.
Now the nippy frontman joins centre-back Burke, right-back Johnson, striker Leonard and central midfielder Sinnott, the son of former Town defender Lee, in a development squad which also features keeper Lloyd Allinson and midfielder Matt Crooks.
“Connor is a young goalscorer who we believe is possibly a late developer and we are in the fortunate position where we can offer him another chance,” explained Eyre.
The newly-signed quintet all have terms to next summer, and Town have the option of an extension at the end of that period.
“I had a meeting with the players as a group after they signed and told them what a wonderful industry they are entering,” said Eyre, the former Manchester City coach and Rochdale manager.
“They have reached a big milestone, but they aren’t guaranteed first-team football, although as a club we want to create a pathway which provides them with opportunities.
“The manager (Simon Grayson) is a big believer in youth development and often had some of the academy lads training with the first team towards the end of last season.
“From my point of view, I am looking forward to using the skills I have learned over the years to help these players progress.”