Loan Watch: Long one of three debutants


Shane Long was one of three Saints players to make their loan debuts this weekend following his deadline day move along the south coast. This and more in this week’s Loan Watch, in association with Kuflink…

A full 90 minutes for Long on his debut helped AFC Bournemouth return to winning ways on Saturday with a 3-2 victory over Birmingham City.

The Irishman played the duration as caretaker boss Jonathan Woodgate helped the Cherries to their first win since the opening fixture of the new year.

Goals from Arnaut Danjuma, Jack Wilshere and Philip Billing either side of a Scott Hogan double for Birmingham ensured of the three points.

Another Saints loanee featured for the opposition during the final five minutes; youngster Yan Valery coming off the bench for his first appearance in Birmingham City’s colours.

Despite some positive early signs, he was unable to prevent defeat for Aitor Karanka’s side who currently sit 22nd in the Championship table.

On the acquisition of Valery, Karanka said: “He is desperate to help us and he knows he is going to help us a lot because he is a very good player.”

The third Saints debutant this weekend was Jake Vokins, who made his first start of Sunderland during their 2-2 draw at MK Dons.

Vokins played 84 minutes as goals from Charlie Wyke and Luke O’Nien helped the Black Cats to a point at Stadium MK.

Sitting seventh in League One, Sunderland have just one defeat in their last five and have two games in hand on sixth placed Charlton who are just two points better off.

Elsewhere in League One Gillingham duo Callum Slattery and Tom O’Connor fell to their first defeat in the last five at home to league leaders Lincoln City on Friday night.

Slattery, who started and was substituted in stoppage time, tasted defeat for the first time in a Gills shirt.

O’Connor, who continued his recovery from a groin injury this week, featured for the final 23 minutes.

Back into the Championship it was a successful weekend for Angus Gunn, who started his second successive game between the sticks for the Potters.

Gunn helped gain Michael O’Neil’s side’s first clean sheet since Boxing Day as they drew 0-0 at home to Reading.

Despite the positive shutout, it remains just one win in five for Stoke who currently sit ninth in the Championship.

Into the Premier League, Mario Lemina featured twice during a busy week at Craven Cottage for Scott Parker’s Fulham side.

First up was the visit of Leicester City, where Lemina came on at half-time and prevented any further damage to the 2-0 scoreline.

Then came a London Derby with West Ham, where the Cottagers did well to hold off the high-flying Hammers and come away with a valuable point.

Lemina played 79 minutes of the draw with West Ham, which meant his side are now eight points off of safety.

In Scotland, Mohamed Elyounoussi featured twice as substitute for Celtic who looked to close the gap on league leaders Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premier League.

On Tuesday the Norwegian played the final 20 minutes of the 4-0 win at Kilmarnock, as goals from Scott Brown, Albian Ajeti and a double from Odsonne Edouard secured the three points.

Then on Saturday the Scottish champions won 2-1 at home to Motherwell, in which Elyounoussi featured for the last ten minutes.

Finally, in Serie A, defender Wesley Hoedt was an unused substitute as his Lazio side won 1-0 at home to Cagliari.

It’s now six wins from the last six league games for Simone Inzaghi’s side, who sit fifth in Serie A.

The final two loanees are Crawley Town’s Jake Hesketh and Doncaster Rovers’ Josh Sims, both recovering from long-term injuries at their football league clubs.

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