The Under 20s coaching staff have been hard at work this week following the expiration of a host of development loan deals from the beginning of the season whilst two players also progress to the first team.
Firstly, Paul Simpson and Ewan Herriot have been called up to Robbie Horn’s first team squad for the remainder of the 2017/18 season. They will be joining Jack Cook who moved up in the summer, meaning three players have now progressed up from the Under 20s in the last six months.
Boss Robbie Horn has been impressed with what he’s seen from the two players: “Paul has been training with us on a Tuesday night since he came in. He’s done well in the development team and he’s also done well in the two bounce games against Musselburgh and Haddington so for me he’s earned an opportunity to show what he’s capable of. Ewan has been a consistent performer for the 20s for the last couple of years so I think he deserves an opportunity too; obviously there is space there on the right hand side as well”
Whilst three players have officially moved to the first team, several others have made their debuts this season including Jamie Chapman and Jack Gillan who featured during pre-season. Robbie Horn admits there is lots of potential in the development squad: “There are players in there that I think have got a real chance. Jack Gillan a central midfielder, Grant Rose who is a striker, Kieran Jack is another one. Bradley Barrett as well a young striker so there is definitely quality within that development squad but the most important thing at the moment is they go and play games against men”.
The four players above have all this week secured loan deals at Arniston, Gala Fairydean, Preston and Whitehill Welfare respectively. Elsewhere Ross Aitchison, Stuart Allan and Macaulay Jarrett have all extended their loans until the end of the season at their current clubs.
Head of Youth Derek McKenzie is proud to see players making the step up and knows development loans can play a big part in more players progressing: “It’s important to get the players out playing 20-30 games against men to make sure they can stand up to the physical demands of League Two. We’ve already got Jack Cook, Paul Simpson and Ewan Herriot in the squad and I’m confident there are more to follow”.
Jamie Chapman, who made his debut in the Betfred Cup v Championship side Morton has joined his local team Dunbar United on loan after spending the opening six months of the season at Haddington. Local striker Stuart Briggs has moved across the border from Tweedmouth to Eyemouth for the rest of the campaign whilst Gary Dolan has joined Burntisland Shipyard and Jack Murray has been loaned to Ormiston.
Gary Windram, another local player, remains at Coldstream after signing a season long loan back in the summer. The attacker has been in impressive form this season, scoring 10 goals in 21 appearances for the East of Scotland side.
Derek McKenzie praised all of the clubs involved in the deals for their efforts: “I’d like to put on record our thanks to the loan clubs and their secretaries for their help in getting the deals done and also to Daniel and Dennis at our end”.
The Under 20s will return to SPFL Development League East action in early February.