Interviews

David Weir's mid-season loan round up

The pathway development manager gives us the lowdown on how Albion players have been getting on in the EFL.

By Charlie Hanson • 05 January 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
David Weir is Albion's pathway development manager.

David Weir is pleased with the progress made by the seven Albion players currently on loan with EFL clubs.

All have got regular game time in either the Championship or League One and Weir said, “We monitor all of the loan players very closely and we’re pleased with how they are doing.

“All are playing regularly which is important and they are enjoying the environment they are in.”

Matt Clarke – Derby County, 22nd in the Championship

Appearances: 23

Goals: 0

By Paul Hazlewood
Matt Clarke and Haydon Roberts in pre-season training, ahead of their EFL loans.

Matt has been consistently involved in the first-team picture since he first joined Derby last season. Derby have had a difficult season, but Matt himself has done really well, although he is disappointed with where they are in the table. It's his second season in the Championship now and he is getting used to that level of football, he's a better player without question. We speak regularly and I watch a lot of his games. You can see the general improvement in his game and I am confident Derby are very happy with him.

Viktor Gyokeres – Swansea City, 2nd in the Championship

Appearances: 11

Goals: 0

By Paul Hazlewood
Viktor Gyokeres scored his first senior Albion goal in September against Portsmouth.

He was late joining Swansea in the window because he stayed with us until the last minute, so he missed the preparation phase a little bit. He's been a bit unfortunate, it's been a bit stop-start. Swansea are doing well and players in Viktor's position have been in good form so it's been difficult for him to get into the team, but we still believe in him. It's not about the individual, it's about the team and how that individual grows in that environment. He understands that and he will have frustrations obviously, but it's part and parcel of developing as a player and a person.

Ryan Longman – AFC Wimbledon, 20th in League One

Appearances: 24

Goals: 6

By SPMF Photography
Ryan Longman has scored eight goals so far this campaign for AFC Wimbledon.

Ryan is only 20 so it's a great experience being in a first-team environment and he has adapted really well. He has had lots of minutes and is probably one of their most used players over the course of the season. It's been stop-start for a lot of players this season for obvious reasons, but Ryan has adapted and adjusted to that. He has played in a couple of different positions and against all different types of teams and he's contributing. We're happy with how he is progressing.

Warren O'Hora – MK Dons, 16th in League One

Appearances: 17

Goals: 0

By MK Dons
Warren O'Hora is a part of an MK Dons side who have climbed out of the relegation zone.

Warren has done well. It's his first taste of EFL football and he's at a good level in League One. Russell Martin is well known from his time with Brighton, and it's a good fit as both Russell and Warren play in the same position.

Not only that, Warren gets to work with some experienced centre-halves in Dean Lewington and Richard Keogh. Warren is learning a lot. He's had a couple of small injuries and missed some games, but when he's been fit he's been playing so it's been a really positive experience for him.

Leo Ostigard – Coventry City, 16th in the Championship

Appearances: 20

Goals: 1

By Rex/Shutterstock
Leo Ostigard is spending the season on loan at Coventry City.

We thought the move was a good fit for Leo with Coventry just coming back into the Championship. It's such a good level and Leo has adapted well, having been on loan in the German second division last season with St Pauli. He's in the team and I believe Coventry will be in the Championship next season. Leo is contributing to that. He's a young guy, but in his career he has had some really good experiences so far both at club and international level.

Taylor Richards – Doncaster Rovers, 4th in League One

Appearances: 19

Goals: 2

By Paul Hazlewood
Richards has been in impressive form for Doncaster Rovers.

Taylor is still young and like a few of the boys out on loan, it's his first time playing league football. It's been a great experience so far, he has learned a lot and Doncaster are doing well as a team. Taylor is living away from home on his own and he's handling it well. [Doncaster boss] Darren Moore has a good relationship with Taylor and he's getting a lot of minutes. He is very talented and it's just about putting everything together. He has shown some real flashes of what he is capable of, and hopefully that will help Doncaster be successful this season.

Haydon Roberts – Rochdale, 21st in League One

Appearances: 12

Goals: 0

By Simon Davies
Haydon Roberts has played in the Carabao Cup this campaign for Albion.

Haydon is 18 and his first experience of playing week-to-week men's football has been a great learning curve for him, and the [manager] Brian Barry-Murphy is very happy. He has played in a couple of positions and he is adapting to life away from Brighton. It's only early in his career, but we're happy with him.

Weir admits that it has been more difficult for loan players this season given the restrictions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

It was initially quite hard for them, because they spent less time in-and-around the training ground.

“Their time with other first team players has been limited but one of the big things about going out on loan is being a part of the group and understanding the environment. Some of the boys are away from home for the first time and they can’t really go out anywhere.

“The lads have still been able to go to work and train, so in that sense they are fortunate, because not everyone has been able to do that.”

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