Livingston snap up ‘fantastic’ Aston Villa goalkeeper Matija Sarkic in ‘win-win’ loan deal


GARY HOLT insists Livingston have found the perfect replacement for Liam Kelly after snapping up ‘fantastic’ Aston Villa goalkeeper Matija Sarkic on a season-long loan deal.

Sarkic, 21, is yet to make his senior bow for the English Premier League new boys but has tasted first-team football during stints at Stratford Town and Havant & Waterlooville.

The Montenegro under-21 internationalist came through the youth ranks at Anderlecht before joining Villa in 2015 and Livi boss Holt is adamant the Lions have pulled off a coup by tempting Sarkic to West Lothian.

Sarkic will be part of the Livingston squad that jets out for their pre-season training camp in Budapest this morning.

Holt lauded: “Between myself, Davie [Martindale, assistant] and goalkeeping coach Tony Caig, we feel we have brought a fantastic keeper to the club in Matija.

“He hasn’t played a lot of first-team football but comes to us highly recommended and we have done our research on the lad. It all came back very positive.

“We feel that this move is a win-win for all parties. Matija will get some much-needed game time and we are getting a goalkeeper who realistically would have been a good bit out-with our wage structure.”

Following Kelly’s move to Queen’s Park Rangers earlier this month, Sarkic’s signing will see the youngster battle for the gloves with Ross Stewart.

And Holt is adamant both stoppers will get time to shine in the opening weeks of the campaign.

He added: “Matija will come in and push for the number one jersey vacated by Liam [Kelly] and between Matija and Ross [Stewart] I feel we are more than covered.

“I feel confident going into the season that we have two keepers that would be fantastic number ones. Competition for places is extremely healthy and is no different from any other position at the club, they need to work hard and make the jersey their own.

“Throughout pre-season and into the Betfred Cup section, the fans will get a chance to see both lads in action.”