David Artell will certainly re-visit the loan market as he aims to bolster his squad for next season. The Alex boss added four loan signings in the January window (a fifth if you include Harry Pickering’s return from Blackburn Rovers) and although they were all used sparingly in the second half of the season, the Alex boss says they do provide value for money if you get them right.
Young Middlesbrough defender Nathan Wood certainly showed his potential when he came into the Crewe side. The 18-year-old England International excelled at League One level when Artell elected to select him and he was careful not to over load the teenager with too many games, as he finds his feet in the competitive game.
Antony Evans, on loan from German side FC Paderborn, made 13 appearances during his loan spell and the 22-year-old was unfortunate not to register a goal for the club. The former Everton youngster was limited to just six starts.
Our former player Billy Jones suffered a reoccurrence of a knee injury in his first appearance back with us against AFC Wimbledon and he went on to make just two more appearances.
Another of the Boro youngsters, Stephen Walker, never repeated the heights of his first loan spell with us and he was limited to just two starts this time around, although he did make 9 substitute appearances and scored a superb equaliser away at Blackpool at the beginning of March.
Artell told the club’s official website: “The loan market can be fruitful and it’s something you have to be interested in. There is a risk and a gamble with any signing, permanent or a loan and you have to do as much due diligence as you can to make sure you get more right than wrong.
“The Premier League or Championship loans are usually young players looking for their first or second experience of going out on loan. It is often the case that you can sometimes get them too early when they come to you trying to find their feet in the men’s game. They make mistakes and learn in your first team if you like.
“We are just looking for good players and we are aware of the market and what could become available from Under-23 level but the season hasn’t ended at the elite level and next season is a long way off.
He added: “Clubs tend to hold on to their young players to make sure they go through the pre-season with them and then look to get them out on loan at the last minute. You tend to do those types of deals later but all we can do is go out and find good enough players to improve us on a permanent basis and then see what we may need on loan.”