Contrasting fortunes in the Championship and beyond – The Athletic

Contrasting fortunes in the Championship and beyond – The Athletic
Written by Publishing Team

Aaron Connolly and Taylor Richards have joined the ranks of Brighton and Hove Albion players on loan to the Championship clubs.

Due diligence has been carried out by Brighton head coach Dan Ashworth and loan director David Weir, borrowing clubs and representatives of the 21-year-old players to ensure their moves to Middlesbrough (Connolly) and Birmingham (Richards) are the best deals. For everyone.

However, just as with permanent multimillion-pound engagements, there are many uncontrollable factors that can determine whether a temporary move goes well or is counterproductive.

Take the disparate fortunes, for example, experienced by the pairs of Brighton players on loan at the start of the season to three championship clubs.

Temporary departures fared much better for Reza Khadra and Jean-Paul van Heck at Blackburn Rovers than for Leo Ostegaard and Abdullah Sima at Stoke City – or, for that matter, Matt Clark and Jason Mullombe at West Bromwich Albion.

As Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder said after securing Connolly’s services for the remainder of the season: “You never know if that service will ever be a success.”

It feels right for Connolly. A spell away from Brighton in the northeast under Wilder could be just what the Republic of Ireland striker needs to mature and get his career back to life.

Connolly had not benefited from a meaningful loan before, as he was handcuffed with injury to two substitute matches in the second half of the 2018-19 season at then-league club Luton Town.


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