High-flying Lowestoft face keeper dilemma

Lowestoft joint manager Aidy Gallagher says the Blues owe Ipswich manager Roy Keane a debt of gratitude for allowing teenager keeper Ian McLoughlan to spend a month on loan at Crown Meadow.

McLoughlan made his debut in last weekend's FA Trophy second qualifying round draw at Chippenham, when Andy Reynolds was unavailable, and then kept his place for Tuesday's replay win.

The 18-year-old was watched by Ipswich goalkeeping coach Jim Hollman in midweek, with Gallagher admitting it had been an easy decision to play him again and leave Reynolds on the bench.

'It wasn't a difficult decision,' he said. 'The lad has come in from Ipswich and he is a quality lad, he's fitted in fantastically well, he is a terrific lad.

'He did a great job on Saturday when he showed a lot of composure at times and quite honestly it was an easy decision to keep him in.

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'We were a little bit concerned because he has got a bit of a groin tweak and he had some treatment on it in the week, but he said he was fit. He is still feeling it a little bit so we will liaise with Ipswich.

'We obviously want to look after the boy - he has had treatment at Ipswich and they have said that he is fine to play.

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'His goalkeeping coach was at the replay and I'm sure am sure he did himself no harm.

'But we have got to look after the boy. It is brilliant of them to help us. We really do appreciate what they have done, but we need to make sure we look after his best interests and obviously look after his club's.'

It will be between McLoughlan and Reynolds this afternoon when Ryman Premier League bottom side Horsham are at Crown Meadow.

Midfielder Andrew Fisk is available after serving a one-game ban in midweek, but striker Lee McGlone is suspended.

The opportunity is there to rotate the squad after the Trophy exertions.

'What was good in midweek was that boys that boys who have been waiting for a chance, like Matt Halliday, Danny Bloomfield and Jamie Godbold, all contributed.'.

'We know it's really frustrating, we understand that, being on the bench, because they are top players, but it shows what a good squad we have.

'I am sure that if they get their chance against Horsham in the next few games they will make other players wait to get back in the side. I think we have got a good squad, but we will mix it up as and when we feel necessary.

'Whatever side we pick it will be a strong side and we will feel it will be good enough to win the game and get three points.'

Lowestoft face Swindon Supermarine in the next round of the FA Trophy, but Gallagher says that won't distract from league obligations.

'There is no point looking to the next round until that's upon you,' he said. 'We had that last year in the FA Cup and we had to replay against Gloucester knowing that a game against Wrexham was waiting.

'It's really hard mentally to put that out of your mind and concentrate on what is important, but it can be a million miles away.

'If you don't do it right it can be easily snatched away from you.'

Lowestoft's title rivals Sutton United travel to lowly Maidstone with Kingstonian hosting Hastings.

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