Tom fits in without a hitch

Tom Hitchcock

Tom Hitchcock

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Tom Hitchcock insists he’s just getting started after marking his Fleetwood Town debut with a stunning winner.

The striker on loan from MK Dons took just three minutes to find the net at Highbury, capitalising on a weak punch from Gillingham keeper Stephen Bywater to grab the only goal.

The former QPR man couldn’t match the hat-trick he notched against the Gills for Rotherham last season but was pleased with his first afternoon with Graham Alexander’s side.

“I did a bit of training on the Friday, “ he said. “But this was really my first time with the group. I suppose if you’re going to make a first impression in front of the home fans that’s one way to do it.

“I was just trying to stay aware of the situation. I came back a little in case the ball came free.

“I don’t know if I headed it or chested it up, and I just tried to find the target. It’s what I needed.”

Hitchock was drafted in after Liam McAlinden was recalled by Wolves and jumped at the chance to join Graham Alexander’s play-off hopefuls.

“The gaffer took me to one side on Thursday and said Fleetwood wanted me. It was a no-brainer.

“I just wanted to play football. I got my first 90 minutes in a while. I’ve been down a bit at MK. I’ve not been playing a lot.”

“I’m glad to get out there and it’s nice to get the goal.”

“I want more of that and hopefully to stay in the goals.”

Fleetwood will certainly hope the striker, who started his career with Blackburn Rovers, can reproduce the form he’s shown in the early stages of his career.

The 22-year-old, who is with Town until December 28, has averaged a goal every other game and hopes Town’s system and attacking mindset will suit his style.

“I can see the team plays the way I like,” he told The Gazette. “Hopefully that can only be good for us both.”

And the striker has taken no time at all settling into his new surrounding, with a little help from some old friends.

“I know a couple of the lads, Josh Morris and Antoni Sarcevic. They’ve helped me settle in,” he said. “But it’s a really good group and they’ve made me feel very welcome.”

And he showed on Saturday he’s not short of fitness, although this was his first match in almost a month.

Hitchock said: “They look after you at MK Dons, so I’m not short of fitness. The fitness coaches are always on my case and I’ve arrived here ready to hit the ground.”

Town’s problems up front will be eased for Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Cambridge with the return of Jamie Proctor from suspension.

David Ball remains a doubt. The injury he picked up at Milton Keynes is taking longer to heal than the club had hoped.

Assistant manager Chris Lucketti said: “We’ve been a bit unlucky with strikers. David Ball’s got quite a nasty injury. But the win shows we can call on the squad and get results.”