It's one of the consequences of being at the cutting edge of football journalism, as Loan Watch is, that when something big happens in the game, everyone wants to talk to you about it. Don't get me wrong, we receive correspondence all year round at Velikonja House but it's usually just requests for signed photos, interviews, after-dinner speaking, children's parties, that kind of thing. However, when the Belgian play-offs come round, all hell breaks loose. Our post bag and in-boxes are full. If I didn't have a couple of staff on the sick I'd be very tempted to start up a Belgian Play-off Watch, the appetite seems to be there for it. As it is, it's all hands on deck just trying to get through the e-mails and letters. Here's a brief missive from a City fan named James who, apparently, is also a Rangers fan (each to their own, I'm not here to judge).
"Hi Loramski and staff,
I'm a big Loan Watch fan, it's the highlight of my week. I wish we could send those wasters Gunnarsson and Zohore out on loan, they're rubbish. Thanks for the Belgian play-off stuff last week, keep it coming. I find it really interesting and enjoyable, even though it's another reminder of how sad and pointless Scottish football is these days. Keep up the good work.
Thanks James, we'll do our best.
Not a big round-up this week as it's international week, some significant games though. One chance and one goal for Adam le Fondre yesterday as Bolton pull six points clear of third place in League One with a 2-0 win at Shrewsbury. Another high energy performance from Adam even though the service into him wasn't great. An injury for City old boy Andrew Taylor here, hopefully not too serious. At the other end of the table, Deji Oshilaja returned from injury for Gillingham but a late winner gave Peterborough the three points. Stuart O'Keefe had a chance late on to win the game for MK Dons at Port Vale but it finished 0-0. Ben Wilson was on the bench for Rochdale.
An important 1-0 win for Plymouth at table-topping Doncaster today takes them thirteen points clear of fourth place in League 2. As with Bolton, the title isn't out of reach but securing promotion will be the first priority. A quiet game for Matty Kennedy but he's played his part in getting Plymouth into this position. At non-league level, Cinderford followed a midweek 4-2 win against a Frome side who turned up without their kit by losing 3-1 against Kettering yesterday. Jarrad Welch had put them ahead but then missed a chance at 1-1 which proved costly.
Welcome aboard the Loan Watch Express to Theo Wharton, who has joined Lloyd Humphries on loan at Weston-Super-Mare this week. Now 22, Theo made a promising debut for City as a sub against WBA in the FA Cup in early 2012. Malky said then that Theo had a big future ahead of him but, rather like Malky himself, his big future seems to be behind him now. As a City player at least. He only made one more appearance for us, as a sub in the shadow side that got beaten at Macclesfield in the following year's FA Cup. He should've come on at MK Dons in last season's League Cup but Russell Slade bottled it and put an injured Lee Peltier in central midfield instead.
I've no idea why Theo hasn't gone out on loan before now, he's only started one first team game in his career, an international for St Kitts and Nevis last year. He's a neat, tidy, busy player. Technically and positionally sound, rarely has a bad game but rarely stands out either. If he was a plumber, you'd be happy for him to sort out your sinks and toilet but you wouldn't fancy him to install a central heating system. He's joined Weston at a difficult time, they've now lost six league games in a row in March (having lost eleven in a row earlier in the season). Theo came on in the 44th minute but it was Humphries who had the chance to put Weston ahead in the second half, things slipped away after his miss and they lost 3-1.
Congratulations to former players Scott Malone and David Forde who both made their respective leagues' Team of the Season this week, Malone in the Championship and Forde in League 2 (he's Portsmouth's keeper). Goals in the week for Conor McAleny and Jon Parkin. Parkin has also helped York to make the FA Trophy Final on May 22nd, having beaten Lincoln in the semi-final. (The final is played at Wembley on the same day as the FA Vase Final between South Shields and Cleethorpes. Loan Watch was slightly surprised to find that one of South Shields' semi-final goals was scored by Julio Arca). An excellent solo goal for Wilfried Zaha in Russia for the Ivory Coast this week. A belated mention for Rudi Gestede and Javi Guerra who both scored for their clubs last Sunday.
Plenty of former player action at Barnet yesterday as they beat Cheltenham 3-1. Former youngsters David Tutonda and Luke Coulson both started but manager (head coach) Kevin Nugent is the main talking point for now. Fans aren't happy with both results and the style of play at present, yesterday's performance was poor again even though Nugent finally got his first win. Long balls aimlessly kicked upfield despite a swirling wind and big Cheltenham centre-backs. It makes you wonder, if Nugent is playing basic, old-fashioned, ineffective football now he's in charge, who on earth did he serve his apprenticeship under as an assistant manager?