With festive football in full swing, Southampton’s loan players enjoyed a busy period of action as Nathan Tella continued his impressive form with Burnley whilst there were standout displays from two academy loanees. All this and more in the latest Loan Watch…
In the SkyBet Championship, Tella’s table-topping Burnley side ensured they headed into 2023 still at the summit with a dominant 3-0 win over Birmingham City on Tuesday night.
Despite starting on the bench, Tella entered the fray just after the hour mark and rounded off the scoring in stoppage time as he notched his eighth goal of the season.
With the visitors pushing for a late goal of their own, the Clarets countered and the Saints star was played through on goal; charging forwards from the halfway line, Tella showed confidence and composure to slot the ball into the bottom corner.
Elsewhere in the league, Will Smallbone played just over an hour for Stoke City in their 2-2 draw away to Rotherham which saw the Potters go three games unbeaten.
It was Smallbone’s 22nd appearance of his productive loan spell as Stoke remain 17th in the table at the end of the calendar year.
Down a division in League One, both Caleb Watts and Dan Nlundulu picked up further minutes for their respective clubs in narrow defeats against top opposition.
Nlundulu played another full 90 in his 20th Cheltenham appearance as they were beaten by top-of-the-table Plymouth Argyle, whilst Watts was introduced off the bench in Morecambe’s defeat against a playoff-chasing Port Vale side.
In the Vanarama National League, Jake Vokins picked up further senior experience with two appearances in a week for Woking.
He started and played 65 minutes as the Cards fell to an FA Trophy defeat against Eastleigh last Tuesday, before coming off the bench as a late sub on Boxing Day to help his side return to winning ways against Aldershot in league.
Meanwhile, there was greater success for two of Saints B team’s loanees in the National League South.
Young defender Will Tizzard earned himself a place in the Team of the Week for his performance in the ‘A4 Derby’ with Chippenham Town.
The Bluebirds were 3-1 winners on Boxing Day against rivals Bath City, as Tizzard played the full 90 minutes in a vital victory in the battle for survival in the sixth tier.
Meanwhile, Jack Bycroft also enjoyed a positive festive period as he continues to shine between the sticks for Taunton Town.
On Boxing Day he made several key saves in an important 3-1 win against Weymouth, which moves the Peacocks up to 16th in the table and three points clear of danger with multiple games in hand.
Prior to that result, Bycroft also put in a stellar performance in the FA Trophy third round last Tuesday - he kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win against Slough Town and earned the Man of the Match award for his efforts.
Finally, up in Scotland, Kazeem Olaigbe continued his experience of senior football with more minutes off the bench for Ross County, this time at Ibrox in a narrow 1-0 defeat against second-place Rangers.