Notts County: New striker Jacob Blyth is living the dream
IT WAS not so long ago that Jacob Blyth was sat at work dreaming of being a pro footballer.
The 20-year-old is now living his dream and will play in the biggest game of his career today – all just 30 miles from where he worked as an accountant until only nine months ago.
After joining Notts County on loan from Leicester City, the Nuneaton-born striker is set to start at Walsall in League One.
It will be the highest level he has ever played in his career – and it all comes less than a year since he was playing part-time for Leamington in the Southern League Premier Division.
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Plucked from non-league by the Foxes, it has been a meteoric rise for the young lad and he admits he is still pinching himself.
"I do sit at home sometimes and think 'Jesus, has it all really happened!'" he said.
"I've hardly had time to catch my breath really because it's all happened so quickly for me.
"I don't like to say I was an accountant because they haven't got the best reputation.
"But I was one – and I was working nine to five at an engineering company, training on Tuesday and Thursdays and playing on Saturday at Leamington.
"I was just a normal kid dreaming of being a pro footballer and now I'm living that dream."
Blyth's career in non-league started at Nuneaton Griff when he was just 15 and he played in the Midlands Combination Premier Division for them before joining Bedworth United in 2010.
He moved to Leamington a year later and went onto score 24 goals in 64 games to catch the eye of several League clubs.
Leicester won the race to sign him and while he has not yet played for them in the Championship, he has tasted League Two action on loan at Burton Albion this season.
"I've jumped up so many leagues in the last five years!" he added.
He has taken every step-up in his stride as well, scoring goals at every club he has played for.
"Every club I have been at I have been the top scorer," he said.
"I'm looking to do the same in the short time I'm here at Notts."
Blyth has only trained with his new Magpies' team-mates twice ahead of their league clash against the Saddlers this afternoon.
But caretaker-boss Chris Kiwomya is still ready to throw him straight into attack with his other 20-year-old loan striker John Cofie, who scored on his debut in black-and-white stripes in a 1-1 draw against Crewe at Meadow Lane last Saturday.
Notts are 11th in the table – ten points outside the play-offs – so it is putting a lot of pressure on the two youngsters to fire the club back into the promotion race.
But Blyth says he can handle it.
"It is a lot of pressure, but I'm not daunted by that," he said.
"I'm confident I can handle myself and I'm determined to prove myself."
Kiwomya is excited about his latest signing.
"He gives us some young energy, which is what I like in my teams," he said.
"I like old players as well, but I just think that sometimes it's good to give youngsters who are really, really hungry a chance.
"I'm not saying other players are not hungry, but he just freshens us up.
"He's over six feet tall and we can have a mobile target man which will help us in a lot of ways.
"I've seen him in action and the kid is a handful.
"He's hard to play against and it's a chance for him to come in and do exactly what John (Cofie) did last week.
"It will be a big step up for him, but he's at a good club in Leicester so he will have been getting the right coaching in their development squad and first team.
"They really like him over there and he comes here with a point to prove – so does John.
"I hope Jacob can give us what John did – dynamism in the final-third.
"It's up him to take his chance and make his mark here."