Fleetwood manager Steven Pressley is targeting closer ties with Premier League Everton, having extended the loan of striker David Henen to cover the Christmas period.
The 19-year-old will remain at Highbury until after the visit to Bury on January 2. But Pressley is already hopeful he can keep the highly-rated Belgian for longer and is eyeing up further opportunities to raid Goodison Park.
Pressley declared the two clubs “a good fit” and believes they have a mutual interest in further co-operation. “I’m really really pleased,” said Pressley of Henen, who is understood to have cost the Toffees around £200,000.
“He’s made a good impression. He’s brought the speed at the top end of the pitch I talked about in my first few weeks in charge. He appears to be a popular figure in the group as well.”
And he believes Everton, who are closely watching their U21 player, will have seen what Town can offer.
Pressley added: “It’s the benefit of putting players out on loan and it’s what Everton will see.
“When they brought him here they wanted him to get accustomed to the intensity of the game in this country.
“Loaning players to League One brings a physical aspect, brings a demand and also changes the onus from development to first-team football.
“When you’re playing U21s, there’s not such a pressure to win games as there is at first- team level.
“That’s a big change for players when they come out on loan.
“The demands change and the thought process has to change because in first-team football it’s about winning.”
The Belgian’s loan extension may only have been confirmed but Pressley is already thinking longer term and beyond the current deal Fleetwood have with the Merseyside club.
He continued: “I’d certainly hope if he continues to play in the manner he is and Everton are satisfied with the treatment of the player and the way he’s developing, then maybe we could extend beyond the current timescale.
“We have to look further than David. Everton are a club that are a good fit for ourselves in their ethos and in the way they go about things.
“I think we can benefit them greatly in respect of future loan players and benefit ourselves bringing in good loan players.”
Indeed, Pressley believes Fleetwood’s proximity to Liverpool, along with the £8m training complex at Poolfoot Farm, could give Town the edge in attracting more of Roberto Martinez’s youngsters.
He added: “I hope it can be the start of something. They see the benefit.
“We have a wonderful training base, which is taking shape now.
“I hope we play the style of football that can attract the likes of David Henen to the club.”