Joe Uglow – @Joe_Ugs
Joe blogs about his top loan signings from our recent years in the NL
1 – ADAM RANDELL
Without doubt one of the most naturally talented loanees we have had in the last 10 years. Funnily enough I don’t think we actually realised it at the time and may have been guilty of underestimating the impact he had on the team that season, Adam’s loss was certainly felt the next season when we didn’t have him in the middle of the pitch. Able to play central midfield, wing or right back Rands did a great job in all positions, breaking up play and always able to pick a pass, not to mention the absolute screamer he scored away at Bromley early on in the season. It’s no surprise to see him starring at the top of League One for Argyle this season, and who knows we may even see him in the Premier League in years to come.
2 – SAM SHERRING
Another ever-present in the famous “Ashton Gate” Season, Sam showed a maturity beyond his years as he starred at centre back and on occasion at right back as well. Strong in the air, positionally aware and comfortable on the ball; Sam had all the attributes to play higher. He’s had good spells subsequently elsewhere since leaving TQ1 and will no doubt go on to have a very successful career.
3 – KIEFFER MOORE
There’s no denying the impact the Paignton-born striker had when he joined on loan in the 2016-2017 season under Kevin Nicholson. 5 goals in 4 games was a massive turning point in our season, made even better that “one of our own” was spearheading it. We still had to rely on another “Great Escape” that season but you can’t help but think we would have been comfortably mid-table or better if he had stayed with us. Rumour has it he was on his way to sign for us permanently when Ipswich picked up the phone following a FA Cup humbling at the hands of Lincoln City & Matt Rhead, what might have been had that not happened…
4 – CONNOR LEMONHEIGH-EVANS
CLE enjoyed two loan spells at TQ1, the first in the Owers relegation season showed promise but the following season when Gary Johnson brought him back down in the Conference South really allowed CLE to show off the talent he possessed. Instrumental in our title winning season he was one of the first names on the team-sheet, eventually signing on permanently and helping to push United to the brink of promotion back to the EFL.
5 – SAIKOU JANNEH
In terms of impacts I cannot think of many bigger than Saikou Janneh. Shortly after GJ came in he quickly realised that additional firepower was required and it arrived in the shape of Saikou “I score goals” Janneh. From his first interview the fans loved him and he created a formidable partnership with Jamie Reid scoring 18 goals in 33 games. Another loan followed the next season in the NL, but let’s forget those unsuccessful few weeks!
6 – NATHAN SMITH
Initially brought in by Paul Cox at the start of the 2015-2016 season, Nathan Smith was a rock at at the heart of the defence that season. Despite his slightly smaller frame he was never bullied and finished the season as Player of the Season & Young Player of the Season, an impressive feat for an inexperienced loanee. Nathan has gone on to play regularly in League 1 and was linked with Championship clubs in recent seasons.
7 – JAKE ANDREWS
Although the lasting memory of Jake Andrews will be his petulant refusal to go off injured at Ashton Gate, there’s no doubting the talent that he had and the impact it had on our Conference South winning season. There wasn’t a better left foot in the league (except when taking penalties!) and his set pieces were an incredible weapon in our pursuit of the title. One game in particular that stands out is the 7-2 thrashing of Oxford City where Jake helped himself to a hat-trick including a goal scored directly from a corner!
8 – STEPHEN DUKE-MCKENNA
Another loanee who had a massive impact at TQ1, Duke-Mckenna was one of the main reasons behind our turnaround last season, and showed the ability to win games almost single-handedly towards the tail end of the season. One game in particular; Chesterfield at home live on BT Sport stands out – “Dukes” was unplayable that day and tore the Spireites to shreds.
9 – SINCLAIR ARMSTRONG
In years to come if you look back at the excellent Torquayfanstats.com website you may be forgiven for asking what impact Sincs actually did have, but 2 goals in 9 games doesn’t tell the full story. From his debut it was clear that 19 year old Armstrong was not a youngster fresh out of u21 football in the mould of failed loanee Rob Street, instead he was strong, powerful, direct with an eye for goal and the fans loved him! As well as his two registered goals he had an acrobatic overhead kick chalked off for offside away at Barnet, another goal harshly ruled as an own goal against Stockport at home and generally struck fear into the opposition in every game he played. It was incredibly disappointing that QPR decided to recall him when they did and who knows what may have happened if we had held onto Sinclair for the final part of the season.
10 – RHYS HEALEY
A rare shining light in a season of utter dross under Owers. Healey arrived with a good reputation from parent club Cardiff City and helped himself to 6 goals in 8 games (albeit 3 of those came against already relegated Guiseley). It was clear he was a class above, but unfortunately he couldn’t keep us up on his own and we were meekly relegated with two games to spare.