After a busy three weeks or so without a fixture, it’s time to check in on the U23s admist a number of squad changes.
Since the dramatic 5-3 victory over Derby before Christmas, Billy Barr’s squad has notably changed, with a couple of squad members heading out on loan.
Goalkeeper Joe Hilton, who hasn’t had much game time this season due to injury and the form of Eastham and Stergiakis, moved to Fleetwood Town on a seven-day emergency loan on Tuesday evening.
Although the loan is only for a week, Hilton could head out on loan to another club this month with potential opportunities limited.
Meanwhile, the U23s’ top scorer Brad Lyons has headed out to Morecambe until the end of the season. The Northern Irish midfielder has been a key player for Billy Barr’s side this season, scoring six times in his last six appearances.
But, with Ben Paton returning from injury in the near future and Lyons needing experience in senior football, the decision has been made to send the 23-year-old on loan to League Two.
Meanwhile, Hayden Carter – who has spent most of the season with the first-team but featured in the Derby victory – went out on loan to League One outfit Burton Albion.
There’s also been a loan move for Harry Chapman, who has featured a number of times for Barr’s side in the Premier League 2, who has made the switch to Shrewsbury Town.
However, Billy Barr’s side are set to be boosted by the return of Luke Brennan. The winger has been on loan with AFC Fylde, but has now been recalled due to a lack of game time.
It is unclear whether Brennan will head out on loan again, but he could come in as a direct replacement for Chapman.
We could also see Tom White welcomed back into the U23 side, with Bolton boss Ian Evatt revealing there are “ongoing discussions” between the two sides about a potential return for White, who has struggled for game time.
Our last, but not least, update concerns Tyler Magloire. The centre-back returned from his loan spell with Hartlepool this week, but judging by comments from Pools boss Dave Challinor, Magloire could be set for a return back to the North East.
Barr’s side are back in action on Monday 25 January as they make the trip to Manchester City in an important match in the race for the Premier League 2 Title.
Follow our Twitter account dedicated to the U23 and U18 sides, where we provide unrivalled coverage on Billy Barr and Mike Sheron’s side, so check that out at @academy_rovers.
We spoke to Rovers’ Head Of Academy Stuart Jones about everything academy-related. There’s some brilliant insight into what it takes to be Category One, the upcoming talent and much more: https://youtu.be/5SS_-nQnh5Q