The 2021/22 season looks set to be a big one in the career of Josh McPake.
Loan spells with Greenock Morton and Harrogate last season saw McPake get his first real taste of senior football, albeit in something of a stop start campaign.
Now however, it appears as though the coming campaign, is set to see the 19-year-old make another step up in level, and indeed the challenge he will have to face.
Recent reports have suggested that McPake is set to spend the 2021/22 season on loan with Morecambe, who have apparently beaten off loan interest from a number of other clubs, including Motherwell, to secure the teenager’s services for next season.
With Morecambe preparing to make the step up to League One for the history in their history next season, after winning promotion on one of if not the smallest budget in League Two last season, McPake and his new teammates already face a big task to keep the Shrimps in the third-tier of English football.
But for McPake in particular, it feels as though one particular departure from Morecambe that has already been confirmed this summer, means that the pressure on him is going to be significant.
Last season, the influence of Carlos Mendes Gomes on Morecambe was hugely significant in their promotion win.
The 22-year-old top scored for the Shrimps with 16 goals – including the promotion sealing penalty in the play-off final – while also providing five assists, to help complete the unlikeliest of success stories.
That however, inevitably brought about plenty of attention in the former Atletico Madrid youth man, and he has already moved on this summer, completing a move to Championship side Luton Town.
Obviously, the attacking void that has been left by Mendes Gomes will surely have to be filled if Morecambe are to be competitive in League One next season, and McPake is someone they may turn to fill that role.
Like Mendes Gomes, McPake is a versatile wide attacker, meaning you would expect him to be tasked with doing a similar sort of job for Morecambe to what Mendes Gomes previously did last season in terms of goals and assists.
Indeed, given he is arriving from a club with the size and quality of players that Rangers possess, you imagine that there will be an expectation on McPake to be able to make an impression during his time in League One.
Admittedly, his four goals in 24 games for Harrogate during the second half of last season was not exactly prolific, but given Mendes Gomes scored just twice in 16 games the season before last, that is no reason to assume McPake will not be able to improve that return in front of goal in the coming campaign.
It seems therefore, as though this campaign will be telling when it comes to how McPake will be able to step up and cope with the pressure and weight of expectation going forward in his career.
Given Rangers are reportedly set to hand the teenager a new long-term contract before sending him out on loan to Morecambe, you imagine that is something that those at Ibrox will be keeping an eye on, with a considerable amount of interest.