JACOB Blyth says he is ready to rise to the latest challenge his rapidly developing footballing career has presented him with.
The 20-year-old striker was snapped up by Burton Albion boss Gary Rowett on loan until January 12 on Tuesday — and was thrown straight into the squad for the 1-0 home defeat to Aldershot Town that night.
He was left ruing two chances to become an instant hero at the Pirelli Stadium having been sent on for the last 11 minutes, but has vowed to do all he can to make an impact during his time with the Brewers.
The big striker from Nuneaton almost got Albion, who had been trailing since the fourth minute, back on level terms with eight minutes to go.
He met left-back Damien McCrory’s long throw-in at the near post and saw his back-header hacked off the line by defender Anthony Tonkin.
Then, in stoppage time, he looked favourite to beat Jamie Young to a through ball, but only succeeded in crashing into the Shots keeper after failing to make contact.
He said: “It was nice for me to get on at the end — I was desperate to get on.
“I nearly scored — should have scored — but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.
“I had one hooked off the line and there was the second one as well.”
Rowett’s move for the Leicester City striker would have taken many by surprise and the player himself did not know about the deal until Tuesday — having played 90 minutes for the Foxes’ development side the previous day.
He joined the Championship side in May from Southern League Premier Division outfit Leamington, where he scored 24 goals in 64 appearances, having previously had spells with Bedworth United and Nuneaton Griff.
He has bagged six goals in 11 games for Leicester’s development side this season and now hopes to prove he can handle life in League Two.
Blyth said after the Aldershot game: “I actually heard about the move today.
“I played 90 minutes yesterday against Sheffield United and today I’ve come in and really enjoyed it.
“I’ve not had much chance to get to know everyone, it was just a case of going straight in.
“You know, I weren’t expecting to start, but they seem like a great bunch of lads.”
Blyth appears to have taken the big move from the non-league ranks to the second tier of English football in his stride and hopes to make the most of his latest opportunity.
“You can imagine the facilities are absolutely second to none and there are a great bunch of lads there — I get on with every single one of them,” Blyth said of his initial impressions of life at the King Power Stadium.
“The management are great as well, I mean I’ve learnt so much from making the step from Leamington to Leicester and hopefully I can bring that to my game at Burton.
“It was a big step in terms of the football.
“They had a chat with me and they said technically I was already there. There was one or two things which needed to be improved on and I’d like to think I have improved in the last five months since I’ve been there.
“Coming here is another chance to develop my game even further.
“I mean, this league is still three or four league’s above where I was playing last season for Leamington.
“It is going to be difficult, but I’m more than willing to get on with the challenge.”
Asked what differences he is expecting in League Two, Blyth said: “I think the football will be a lot more physical, rougher, you know, they get stuck into you more — it’s more tip-tappy football in the academy.
“But I’ve had a little taste of it at Leamington, as you can imagine, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Blyth is hoping to thrive if given the chance in Albion’s starting line-up, with the Brewers having scored 28 goals in 19 games — 22 of them in 10 home outings.
He is also keen to learn the tricks of he trade from experienced Football League strikers Justin Richards and Calvin Zola, the latter who he likens himself to.
“There are a lot of experienced strikers here and I will be looking to learn from them,” he said.
“I mean, even in that 15 minutes there I’ve learnt from Richards, little things like telling me where to go, talking to me, and I’m gonna really enjoy it.
“I’m a typical, big centre-forward, you know, I sometimes like to get in behind, but I’m a finisher.
“I’ll be looking to learn a few things from Calvin Zola.
“I’ve seen him play before and I rate him very highly. He is in a similar mould so I will learn a lot off him.
“I’m here until January and the main thing for me is to get as much pitch time as possible and try and get as much experience as I can.
“I’m really excited to see what they’ve got to give and I’m really looking forward to playing with them. They look like a great bunch of lads and are all very talented.
“The way I play, I like balls in the box, I like crosses, I like heading because I’m big, and they do play that way.”