Writer: Mike Field
Date:Friday November 1 2013
Paul Lambert has justified the decision to send Marc Albrighton out on loan for a month by saying he'll get his match fitness and sharpness back far quicker by getting a run of games under his belt at Wigan than he would by remaining with us, so when he gets his next chance in the first team he'll be far more prepared to make the most of it and build on the performance he put in against Spurs in the League Cup.
Speaking to the Birmingham Mail the gaffer explained that whilst he was thoroughly pleased with the efforts of Albrighton in the Spurs game, he realises he's only played three times for us this calendar year, so whilst he looked bright in his only appearance of this campaign, with games under his belt - that he wouldn't get here at the moment - he'll be ready to give even more when next called upon, and be able to do his best to earn a contract extension given his deal expires in the summer.
The 23 year old's move to the Championship Wigan was only confirmed the other day, but he did make his debut for them as a 76 minute substitute in their draw against QPR, and to be honest it's a bit of a no brainer for me given how long he's been out injured that he'll get at least a couple of 90 minutes over the course of the month with them, whereas the best he could hope for with us is maybe one or two cameo appearances around 70 minutes?
I know which option will get him sharper quicker, get some good confidence back and help play him into some form so he has a good shot of reminding us of the player he looked he could be under Gerard Houllier.
'He had to go out and play, he's not really kicked a ball in earnest for a year due to his injuries. I thought it was the right thing for him and for us to try and benefit from him getting out there and playing some games. It gives him game time quicker than he will get here and that was important.'
I know I've often commented on the forum, along with others, that our inability to send out our youngsters for regular league action to help their development had been a hindrance in former years and used the example of Ciaran Clark and some of his positioning at times and tendency to overplay the ball when row Z would've been the best option compared to Nathan Baker who was a little more on the ball at points and in some ways maybe aimed for row Z a little bit quicker than he should've done at points, but Clarkie never had a loan spell when he was coming through the ranks.
He went straight from captaining the reserve team, had two league games and then became the scapegoat for the Newcastle hammering back in 2010-11. He then found himself left back, midfield, right wing - I lost count but it wasn't centre half.
Baker on the other hand had two loans spells, one at Lincoln, before Championship games with Millwall, but he had more experience in competitive action in his natural position than Clark, so it was no surprise in recent seasons - last season especially - that Baker was a little more assured.
I know people will disagree, but not only has Baker come on this term, but I think Clark has already shown that he's learned from last seasons errors because of that very experience.
But anyway I'm babbling. Another loan issue we've struggled with in my humble is giving short term emergency loans to players returning from injury. We've either kept them on the bench, and in some cases not even given them a run out in the reserves in previous years, or we've thrown them straight back into the first team and wondered why their performance was off.
Even giving a player returning from injury 180 minutes in the Championship on a loan spell would mean they hit our first team again so much more prepared to do what we expect from them, so on that score as well I can't fault Lambert's decision here.
But I bet somebody will :-)
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Date:Friday November 1 2013
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