It’s always interesting keeping an eye on loan players away from the club and seeing how they cope away from the bubble of Elland Road, and this season it’s fair to say that a few are beginning to make names for themselves, three of them are over the border in Lancashire, from Accrington to Fleetwood and the more known destination of Blackburn and Ewood Park.
Marcus Antonsson – Blackburn Roves
Antonsson is the most high-profile player to be loaned out this season and it certainly wasn’t a case of getting rid of him for the sake of it. His move over to Blackburn would give us an assessment of whether or not he could cut it in the English leagues and for a club expected to win every week. It may well be that he leaves on a permanent basis but he is still relatively young and is banging in the goals for Blackburn, so maybe Thomas Christiansen will be thinking that his Leeds career still has legs. He absolutely had to go in the summer, at that time he wasn’t good enough to break into our side and getting experience in England was so important. So far he is showing that he is more than capable of coping with the physical aspects of the league, and we know that League One can be very tough. Certainly one that will be debated come the summer.
Lewie Coyle – Fleetwood Town
Without doubt Lewie Coyle should be coming back in the summer and looking to cement a place in the first-team. We went years without a decent right-back and then all of a sudden we had Gaetano Berardi and Luke Ayling, Lewie Coyle coming through and add into that Vurnon Anita, a nightmare situation for the youngster, who has ability and mentality for the first-team in my eyes. He is one of the most consistent youngsters to come through the academy and maybe that’s due to him having to wait longer than most. He is tough and very aware of the position and what needs to be done. He won about eight man of the match awards for Fleetwood earlier in the season (as voted by fans) so that tells you how well he has done so far.
Mallik Wilks – Accrington Stanley
For a few weeks it seemed like every Saturday I went on Twitter at about 5pm there was a GIF of Wilks saying “he’s done it again, 90+5” and Wilks had rescued a point or even won the game late on. A young player with huge potential who has dropped down a few leagues, but stepped up in terms of quality from the youth leagues and he has taken to it very well. Some will be quite happy to head down to the lower leagues and sit on the bench every week, play here and there for five minutes and some wouldn’t even want to go and play in that league. However he signed a new deal and headed over the border, and is doing very well.