Loan watch: Review of the season

By SFC Media time Thu 26 May Club

We take a look at the progress of several players from Southampton who spent time out on loan during the course of the 2015/16 season.

A handful of Saints’ development squad made season-long loan moves to further their experience of the professional game.

Two players who had previously spent time out on loan were defenders Jack Stephens and Jordan Turnbull. The duo spent the 2014/15 campaign together at Swindon Town which is where Turnbull returned for another season.

Centre-back Turnbull made 46 appearances across all competitions for the League 1 side who finished 16th with eight clean sheets recorded. The Saints man missed just four league games all season and played 90 minutes in all of the other games.

Stephens didn’t re-join Turnbull at the County Ground and instead went up a division to the Championship with promotion chasing Middlesbrough at the start of the season.  

Aside from playing in most of the Teessiders’ League Cup run, including a triumph over Manchester United in the fourth round, Stephens found game time to be limited at the Riverside and cut his stay in the north east short to return to Saints in January.

He was soon on the move again though, making a deadline day switch to League 1 Coventry City for the remainder of the campaign. At the Ricoh Arena, Stephens made 16 appearances to help the Sky Blues up to a final position of eighth, just outside of the play-offs.

Also moving into the Championship were attacking players Sam Gallagher and Gastón Ramírez who joined MK Dons and Middlesbrough at different stages of the campaign.

Gallagher spent the first half of the season at stadium:mk and made 15 appearances for Karl Robinson’s side. After providing two assists in his first game, Gallagher’s playing time was reduced to the point where he, like Stephens, ended his stay in the Championship early.

At that point Ramírez, who had played for Saints in their League Cup wins over MK Dons and Aston Villa, headed to Middlesbrough to complete the season there.

Reunited with compatriots Cristhian Stunai and Carlos de Pena, attacking midfielder Ramírez contributed seven goals and four assists in Boro’s final 18 matches of the season to help them win promotion to the Premier League.

Defender Jason McCarthy also signed up for a long-term loan switch when he made the move to League 2 side Wycombe Wanderers initially for one month in October.

The deal was extended to January and then for the rest of the season as the 20 year-old soon became a key figure in Gareth Ainsworth’s side as the Buckinghamshire side pushed for promotion.

Although Wycombe ultimately fell short of the play-off places, it was a hugely successful spell on a personal note for McCarthy who was voted as the supporters’ player of the season. One of the many highlights from his time there included netting the winner in a 2-1 win over local rivals Oxford United.

Later on in the season forward players Sam McQueen and Ryan Seager moved into League 1 with Southend United, and Crewe Alexandra, respectively.

Both men had featured regularly for Saints’ Under-21 side before making their moves, but would each get a taste of league football. 

McQueen made 17 appearances for Southend, contributing two goals and two assists, while Seager’s time in Cheshire was sadly cut short by injury just four games into his time there where he had scored one goal.

Another man who played a significant role was winger Lloyd Isgrove who joined League 1 Barnsley just before Christmas. At that time, the Tykes were in the relegation zone, but a stunning run of form in the second half of the campaign lifted the Yorkshire side into the play-offs.

Isgrove has played 27 times for Barnsley, including their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final win over Oxford United, and will make another return to Wembley this weekend when Barnsley take on Millwall in the play-off final.

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