Loan Watch: Hesketh gains valuable minutes

By SFC Media time Tue 02 Mar Loan Watch

Jake Hesketh continued his development with two appearances off the bench for League Two Crawley Town. This and more in this week’s Loan Watch, in association with Kuflink…

His first appearance came during Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat to Grimsby Town, the young midfielder featuring for the final 23 minutes at Blundell Park.

Hesketh’s second outing of the week came with a far greater outcome as Crawley went on to beat Exeter City 2-0 thanks in part to the introduction of the Saints loanee at the break.

John Yems side currently sit in 13th, but just a point and a game in hand behind Harrogate Town in 12th.

Up a division now into League One and it’s a similar tale of vital game-time for Doncaster Rovers' Josh Sims.

The attacking midfielder started and played 57 minutes of the defeat at Ipswich Town, in what was Sims’ second successive start on his road to full fitness.

Doncaster currently sit sixth in the division and continue to chase an automatic promotion spot.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: Josh Sims of Doncaster Rovers in action during the Sky Bet League One match between Northampton Town and Doncaster Rovers at PTS Academy Stadium on December 05, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
Josh Sims in Doncaster Rovers colours (Photo: Getty Images)

Remaining in League One now for what was as week of mixed fortunes for Gillingham’s Tom O’Connor.

Tuesday night saw the Gills lose 1-0 at AFC Wimbledon, where O’Connor played 84 minutes before being substituted.

But the results turned slightly more positive at the weekend, with Steve Evans’ side grabbing a hard-earned point from behind in a 1-1 draw at Portsmouth.

O’Connor played the duration of the game at Fratton Park.

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23:  Darnell Johnson of AFC Wimbledon holds off Thomas O'Connor of Gillingham FC during the Sky Bet League One match between AFC Wimbledon and Gillingham at Plough Lane on February 23, 2021 in Wimbledon, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Tom O'Connor (L) taking on AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night. (Photo: Getty Images)

Into the Championship now and it was a successful week for Yan Valery who continued to build his minutes at Birmingham City.

The young full-back played 15 minutes during the 3-1 defeat at home to Norwich on Tuesday night, before helping keep out any form of QPR fightback on Saturday during City’s 2-1 win.

Aitor Karanka’s side have seen a slight upturn in form in recent weeks with two wins from their last five games.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 13: Yan Valery of Birmingham City in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Luton Town at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium on February 13, 2021 in Birmingham, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
Yan Valery has been gaining valuable experience at Birmingham City. (Photo: Getty Images)

Back down to the south coast where Shane Long continued his goalscoring form with AFC Bournemouth.

The Saints loanee scored his second goal in as many games on Wednesday night but was unable to help his side avoid a 2-1 defeat at home to Cardiff City.

But Jonathan Woodgate’s side put things right at the weekend with Long playing the final 10 minutes of the 1-0 win over third place Watford.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 24: Shane Long of AFC Bournemouth scores their team's first goal past Dillon Phillips of Cardiff City during the Sky Bet Championship match between AFC Bournemouth and Cardiff City at Vitality Stadium on February 24, 2021 in Bournemouth, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Shane Long heading home against Cardiff City. (Photo: Getty Images)

Finally in the Championship it was a difficult week for Stoke City and Angus Gunn, who had two away trips at sides in the top seven to contend with.

First up was a trip to Barnsley on Wednesday night, with Michael O’Neil’s side suffered a 2-0 defeat to their hosts.

Then came a visit to second place Brentford, where Gunn was unable to prevent a fightback from a goal down by the hosts, who went on to win 2-1.

Gunn played the duration of both for his Stoke City which currently sit in 10th.

ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 19: Wesley Hoedt of SS Lazio during the SS Lazio training session at the Formello sport center on February 19, 2021 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Marco Rosi - SS Lazio/Getty Images)
Wesley Hoedt in Lazio training. (Photo: Getty Images)

Now onto Italy where it was busy week for defender Wesley Hoedt, who had a UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie at home to Bayern Munich to contend with on Tuesday night.

The holders breezed past their Italian hosts with a 4-1 first leg victory, but were unable to score during the 37 minutes Hoedt was on the pitch for.

Unfortunately, there was further disappointment for Simone Inzaghi’s side on their return to Serie A action at Bologna on Saturday.

Hoedt played the full 90 minutes as Bologna stunned Lazio with a 2-0 victory.

Finally, in the Scottish Premier League, Mohammed Elyounoussi featured for the final 25 minutes as Celtic faced Aberdeen.

With caretaker manager John Kennedy in charge for the first time, Elyounoussi helped his side to a 1-0 victory over fourth placed Aberdeen on Saturday.

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