Kevin Ball

Ball – Loan stars big positive

by Kate Smith

Coach happy with loan system.

Kevin Ball has highlighted the progress of the club's young loanees as he looks back on the first half of the under-21s' season.

The opening portion of the campaign has seen a number of budding stars leave the club on a temporary basis.

Ryan Noble and Craig Lynch both spent time down the A19 at Hartlepool, while Blair Adams has been a first-team regular during a spell at Coventry.

Billy Knott has also featured game in, game out down at Woking, although big defender John Egan saw a spell at Bradford cut short by a broken leg which required surgery.

“We decided that we'd actively work to get players who weren't going to be in the manager's squad out on loan, and we've done that,” Ball explained.

“One or two had opportunities but decided to stay and that's their prerogative.

“We've had quite a few young lads go out but were unfortunate with John's injury, which has curtailed his season.

“He's a very strong character, though, and knows what he faces.

“Billy went out to Woking, who we have a good relationship with. The move gives Billy game time in the real world.

“We still have aspirations for Billy to play higher, as he does, but it's still good experience for him at this moment in time.

“We've had Ryan and Craig at Hartlepool, and Blair at Coventry too.

“I went to watch Blair [recently] and he was very positive, creating one goal with an assist and having what I call a 'second assist' on another.

 “He wants to be playing on a Saturday afternoon when points really count, which I thought was a very mature and positive thing for him to say.”