Hughton on Slabber switch
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Chris Hughton believes that Jamie Slabber's loan stint with AB Copenhagen will give valuable experience for the young striker.
The 19-year-old headed off to the Danish Super League outfit two weeks ago with the Danish season re-opening this weekend following the winter break. AB have it all to do in the second phase of the campaign as they currently sit in last place.
The first team coach says that, if selected, the switch will greatly benefit a player that tasted Premiership football against Liverpool towards the end of last season.
"The thinking behind it is to give him experience, with the fact that we are hoping he is going to be playing in their first team," considered Chris, who recalled a similar arrangement working well with two players back in the summer of 2000.
"It also takes us back to players that we've had here in the past like Alton Thelwell and Peter Crouch, who both went away to Sweden with IFK Hassleholm. They both benefitted from it and were both on the fringes of the first team when they came back.
"Jamie, moreso, is a lad that is still under contract and is going to be with us next season. It is an ideal opportunity for him to get some real competitive games and play at a higher level than reserve football."
Chris doesn't quite go along with the thinking that the more technical nature of Danish football will hone Jamie's own game, believing it is much more about sampling first team football with points at stake.
"That is an aspect of it but, the bigger one, is that it will be very much senior football. Some of the reserve football is against very young sides whereas this is senior football against bigger, stronger and more experienced lads.
"He will have to be really on his game to play a big part and, probably, what he could possibly get away with here, he won't get away with at that level."
By his own admission, Jamie's season has been an up and down one, injuries and form seeing to it that he has only really fired in fits and starts. He did, however, find his form in recent reserve games and got back among the goals.
"It wouldn't be unfair to say that at times he has been disappointing, but at times he has also done very well," reasoned Chris. "It has been very much up and down - and forwards can be a bit like that anyway.
"What he has got to do is get a level of consistency and realise the potential he has got. He is tall lad, two-footed with many attributes and a lot to give us here.
"He has had a sticky period and, to come through it, shows us really what he is made of. This gives him a lovely opportunity to do that more."