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Loan Report: Youngsters Ready or Not for First Team Return?

I thought I’d do a little statistical update on the kids out on loan at the moment with some showing more promise than others during their temporary spells in the Championship this season. The likes of Barry Bannan, Nathan Delfouneso and Andy Weimann have been touted with spells in the first team next term and have been looking to impress the boss from afar in 2011, joined by the likes of Jonathan Hogg, Eric Lichaj, Shane Lowry and Elliott Parish out on loan.

Nathan Delfouneso – 9 appearances / 1 goal / 617 minutes / 68 (average mins/game)

When Nathan Delfouneso netted on his Burnley debut, just 5 minutes into the game which saw his effort defeat Brad Guzan in the Clarets 0-1 win over Hull, the 20-year-old was all set to show Houllier what he was made of and set the Championship alight. However, since then he has failed to net in his next 8 games, including 6 starts, which may indicate that the long-time prospect is some way off regular first team action. Shame.

Andy Weimann – 16 appearances / 3 goals (1 every 242 mins / 725 minutes / 45

19-year-old striker Andy Weimann joined Watford on loan earlier in the season after recovering from a long injury sustained against his former club Rapid Vienna. The Austrian has been mainly used as a sub during his 16 appearances in the league this term having only started half of those and completed the 90 minutes on just 1 occasion but has shown that he can make an impact at a decent level, scoring 3 goals, including one against Bannan and Lichaj’s Leeds, and picking up 1 assist. Promise

Barry Bannan – 7 appearances / 2 assists / 301 minutes / 43

When Barry Bannan joined Leeds on loan, I for one was pleased that the young Scot, capped this season at senior international level, would be getting regular first team action. However, he has been used sparingly at the play-off hopefuls despite some promising displays. In just 7 appearances he has started just 3 and completed the 90 minutes just once. His best game was in a cameo role against Weimann’s Watford, coming on to set up both Leeds goals in a 2-2 draw. Underused

Jonathan Hogg – 16 appearances / 6 yellows, 1 red / 1418 minutes / 89

Jonathan Hogg made a surprised Villa debut in the 2-2 draw with Man United earlier in the season and immediately showed that he was not overawed by first team action. The midfielder is not as young as many of the other ‘youngsters’ at 22 and many feel that serious injuries early in his progression may well mean that it could be too late for his Villa career, despite signing a long term deal at the end of last year. He has been a mainstay in Portsmouth’s thread-bare squad and has impressed in the most part, despite seeing red in a 0-2 win over Doncaster. Regular.

Eric Lichaj – 13 appearances / 2 assists, 1 own goal / 1170 minutes / 90

Right-back Lichaj, similarly to Hogg, is one of the younger crop to have come through the ranks a little slower than most but put in eye-catching performances with no nonsense tackling in his first few Villa games. After being found out somewhat inevitably in the 4-0 defeat to Man City he was unceremoniously dumped from first team duties and shipped off to Leeds to cover for defensive injuries. Despite the return of Paul Connolly he has kept his right back berth and become a favourite under Simon Grayson. He has 2 assists to his name but did net in the wrong end in a 2-0 defeat to bottom club Sheffield United. Solid.

Shane Lowry – 14 appearances / 4 yellows, 1 red / 1244 minutes / 89

Aussie defender Shane Lowry is yet to turn out for the Villa first team, despite almost making Australia’s World Cup team last summer. The 21-year-old has been on loan at struggling Sheffield United this year and has filled in at centre and left back. Understandably he has been part of a back line that has shipped plenty of goals, 24 to be precise, as the Blades have undergone a dismal run of form under Micky Adams. The fact that he hasn’t turned out for Villa already suggests that the Premier League may be a bridge too far at this stage and Lowry has had blips in a rocky United defence which has also included a straight red card in the 3-2 defeat to Scunthorpe. Doomed.

Elliott Parish – 7 appearances / 18 goals conceded / 630 minutes / 90

20-year-old keeper Elliott Parish joined League Two’s Lincoln City earlier in the year but has been powerless to prevent a lorry load of goals in his 7 starts for the side, who sit just two points above the drop from the Football League. A 6-0 defeat to Rotherham and 4-0 loss against Gillingham have made up for most of the 18 goals he has conceded during his short in which he has conceded a goal every 35 minutes on average. Tested.

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