So we’re into the final stretch of the 2019/20 Premier League campaign and although our survival is far from secured, things could be worse and we are set for another trip to Wembley, so it’s been a mixed old year.
That’s definitely true on the loan front and in the end, we only saw the sensible return of goalkeeper Matija Sarkic given injuries to both Jed Steer and Tom Heaton, and even though we did bring in experienced stopper Pepe Reina, Lovre Kalinic was allowed to depart.
So beginning with Sarkic, having headed to Livingston at the start of the season, he worked his way impressively into their starting XI, making 18 starting appearances and keeping seven clean sheets – one of which came again likely Premiership winners Celtic. His performances also saw him gain his first international call up and he made his international (non-competitive) bow for Montenegro against Belarus in November. He remains with us as third choice.
Andre Green got another crack at the Championship and moved to Preston North End over the summer, but with a mix of competition and further injuries holding him back, he only made two starts for them, with four substitute showings – returning one goal. We recalled him in January and sent him out to Charlton Athletic and he’s already scored twice in four starts, with an additional showing from the bench.
Jake Doyle-Hayes headed to League Two for a spell with Cheltenham Town and he remains with them for the rest of the year. The 21-year-old now has 26 starts and two showings from the bench, and he returned his debut goal in their victory over Bradford City in mid-September.
James Bree got another crack at the Championship with a loan spell to Luton Town, and he’s already made 27 starting appearances for them, with two further showings from the bench. He will complete the season with them.
Callum O’Hare headed to Coventry City and the ironic Trillion Trophy Stadium and he’s now made 17 starts across all competitions, with an additional 15 appearances from the bench. He opened his goalscoring account for them in 3-3 draw with Oxford United, and added a second as they took victory over Blackpool. He made that three goals in their recent FA Cup clash against Ipswich Town. He will also complete the season with them.
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy also headed out to League One, but to Tranmere Rovers and he certainly had an impact on his debut – he saw a straight red card. Having long served his suspension, he made 11 starts at Prenton Park, with 12 substitute showings and returned five goals. He was recalled at the end of January and instead headed to Championship side Derby County with it likely he has joined their Under 23 group ahead of the 21-year-old securing himself a new deal with them over the summer.
Scott Hogan made the switch to Stoke City and he made five starts across all competitions with ten additional substitute showings. He opened his account for them with a brace against Derby County in their league clash in mid-August and he added a further goal against Swansea City in early October. Having been recalled in January, he joins O’Hare at the Trillion Trophy Stadium, albeit for the home side, not the ground sharers, and he has one Birmingham appearances to his name, with a goal.
With three substitute appearances for us, highly rated Jacob Ramsey has a chance to impress as he made a deadline day switch out to Doncaster Rovers, but the 18-year-old is yet to feature for them.
Skipper James Chester will also be looking to better his game time now he’s fit as he headed to Stoke City on deadline day, but again, he is yet to feature for them.
Finally, as referenced above, Croatian international stopper headed to Toulouse but in two appearances for them, he’s yet to win although he did keep his first clean sheet on the opening day of February as the travelled to Amiens.
That’s your lot – for now.