A look around the divisions to where our boys are involved…While we have been in full focus on the Royals in recent weeks, a number of our loanees have been making an impression in competitive action across the divisions in England and Scotland – and many of them only moved as recently as the winter window.
So below is a round-up of what has happened so far for our boys with their loan clubs…
In the Sky Bet Championship, we have a pair of strikers who have made a bit of an impression with the Under-23 sides. Dominic Samuel hasn’t yet been deployed for Ipswich Town’s senior squad since joining the Tractor Boys on deadline day, but a hat-trick in an 8-0 win on his U23s debut against Watford got him off to a flying start in Suffolk. However a toe injury has kept him sidelined since.
Harry Cardwell hit the winner last time out for Brighton & Hove Albion’s U23s against Swansea as they ran out 1-0 winners in Premier League 2 Division 2.
Meanwhile in Sky Bet League 1, centre-half Jake Cooper has slotted into the Millwall defence and made a big impact for the Lions. The defender has only conceded one goal in his seven games for the East London club… and has chipped in with two goals at the other end of the pitch, against Coventry and Port Vale!
Jake Cooper scores for Millwall against Port Vale
And our four Sky Bet League 2 loanees all occupy prospective promotion places with their current clubs! Craig Tanner’s Plymouth Argyle are currently leading the charge for the Royals loanees, after missing out last year in the play-off final. The attacker has been an unused sub in the four most recent matches; he hasn’t been used since the Pilgrims’ defeat to Westcountry rivals Yeovil. But they are currently second in the standings, eight points clear of the play-off places.
Elsewhere in Devon, Jack Stacey has been a big part of Exeter City’s rise through League 2 to sixth. He put in a man-of-the-match display for the Grecians last time out against Stevenage from right-back, extending their home run to seven unbeaten... in fact their only defeat in the last 15 was against rivals Plymouth at Home Park!
Jack Stacey lines up for the Grecians against league leaders Doncaster
Tariqe Fosu and Stuart Moore, at Colchester United and Luton Town respectively, have been used sparingly but those sides currently occupy seventh and fourth places – which would earn each a place in the play-offs if they can maintain their positions.
Right-back Sean Long has had to be patient for his chances at Lincoln City in the National League – but there’s little to complain about for the club who currently lead the table and who defeated Premier League side Burnley to become the first non-League side in 103 years to reach the quarter-final of the FA Cup!
Fellow full-back Jake Sheppard has made his mark since joining Dagenham & Redbridge – he netted on his home debut for the Daggers in a 3-2 win against Chester, and then drilled in an 88th-minute screamer to earn a 2-1 win against Bromley on Tuesday evening!
Jake Sheppard steps up with a late cracker for the Daggers
Axel Andresson notches his first Bath goal from the penalty spot
George Legg had kept three consecutive clean-sheets for Hungerford Town (including a penalty save against Bishop’s Stortford) before their 12-game unbeaten run was ended by Ebbsfleet last weekend, while fellow stopper Joe Tupper has been a regular in Carshalton Athletic’s rise to third in the Ryman League Division One South.
North of the border, defensive duo Niall Keown and Zak Jules have been in the thick of it with Partick Thistle and Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership. Ireland youth international Keown has helped the Jags to clean-sheets in three of his first five games, as well as taking home the man of the match champagne on his home debut against St Johnstone.
Zak Jules comes up against Celtic
Scotland youth international Jules has had a tougher run in his five games to date. The Well have played (and lost to) each of the top four in that time – Celtic, Aberdeen, Rangers and Hearts. But he helped them to a 2-1 victory in their other fixture against Ross County.