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Alan Knill is delighted to extend Plainmoor stay of Jak McCourt

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 10, 2013

By David Thomas

Jak McCourt's youth loan with Torquay United has been extended by another month.   Picture: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

Jak McCourt's youth loan with Torquay United has been extended by another month. Picture: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

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In the wake of a new deal to keep defender Anthony O'Connor, Torquay United manager Alan Knill has also extended the youth loan of Leicester City teenager Jak McCourt.

The midfielder, 18, has already spent two months on a youth loan at Plainmoor, making seven first-team appearances, and he will now remain at Plainmoor for at least another month.

Knill, who extended defender O'Connor's loan from Blackburn Rovers last week, believes that being part of United's fight against relegation will benefit Liverpool-born McCourt.

"It's the first time that Jak has worked under this sort of pressure and, whatever situation arises again in the future, he will be better for it," said Knill.

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"He's is still a young player learning his trade. Ever since he arrived, he's just kept working hard, and he accepts that he might not play every game. But we've spoken to Leicester and Jak, and we agree that it's better for him to stay here.

"The other good thing about Anthony and Jak is that they both wanted to stay with us, which is a big plus. Anthony is just enjoying playing in a position [centre-back] which he believes is his best."

O'Connor, 21, has just been voted as the club's player of the month for November.

Even though McCourt has been on the substitutes' bench in recent League Two games, he may not play in United's Devon St Luke's Challenge Cup quarter-final at Witheridge on Tuesday night (7.30pm).

Knill has not announced his team, but he is wary of the risk of injuries to players whom he may need during the busy period of Christmas and New Year matches coming up.

Saturday's visit of in-form Southend United to Plainmoor is the first of six key League Two games in the space of 22 days, and that schedule may mean a chance to impress at Edge Down Park for one or two of the apprentices who lost 5-0 to Arsenal in the FA Youth Cup at Boreham Wood last Friday.

Senior winger Billy Bodin is now back in full training, after six weeks out with a knee injury, but he is another player whom Knill plans to keep under wraps for the bigger dates to come.

Former Torquay winger Lloyd Macklin is expected to sign for Chippenham Town in the Southern League Premier Division. Macklin, 22, who started his career at Swindon Town, was released at Plainmoor at the end of last season.

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