Cheltenham Town striker George Lloyd has built himself up from academy prospect to first team regular during his first three years as a professional player.
The Gloucester-born youngster put pen to paper on a long-term deal in 2017, and has featured in 14 games so far this season, scoring three goals.
Despite a two week lay-off in October after suffering a concussion, Lloyd has helped contribute to the Robins’ strong start to the season, as they sit second in League Two and have progressed to the FA Cup Third Round.
“It’s somewhere I want to be right now and it’s where the start to my career is and has been,” he proudly reveals. “I’ve come through the Under 18s to now being a third-year pro, so I think a personal triumph for me would be playing at a level that is as high as I can get to.
“If that is with Cheltenham then that would be great as it’s where I’m from and have grown up.”
Lloyd has been handed an ample amount of first team action by manager Michael Duff this campaign, alongside fellow academy star Callum Ebanks and Lincoln loanee Ellis Chapman.
As a result, the 20-year-old has formed a close support bond with them as they take a big step up into Duff’s squad.
“Coming through the academy is a bit different, I try to speak to him (Ebanks) sometimes on the pitch,” Lloyd continues. “I know as a young lad coming through the academy at the club it is really hard sometimes, so I try and talk to him to help him out in any way I can.
“We try and help each other out as anyone would in any team really.”
During the 2018/19 season, Lloyd joined Hereford on loan in order to gain senior team experience, a spell which he reflects on as being very helpful for his development.
“The competitive side of first team football was the biggest thing I got from playing there,” he disclosed. “It’s not as resilient as League Two, but a lot of ex-league players were there, and it helped because they were always fired up and ready for matches.
“At the time when I was coming in, they struggled a bit as they had a new manager taking over. But for me, it’s all about getting experience and playing competitive football week in week out with the first team.”
Ahead of the return of fans to the Jonny-Rocks Stadium on Saturday when Cheltenham host Exeter, Lloyd is excited to have support from the crowd behind him again.
“Obviously, it’s what everyone wants,” he said excitedly. “Having fans back is also what the club needs on the financial side, and as players you definitely don’t get that home advantage without the them.
“Hopefully with the supporters back we can make Whaddon Road into the fortress we made it into once before.”