Sheffield United loan watch: Luke Freeman faces lay-off at Nottingham Forest after 'successful' operation and Rhys Norrington-Davies returns for Luton Town

Sheffield United are now eight points from safety at the bottom of the Premier League after yesterday’s 3-0 defeat at Southampton.

Monday, 14th December 2020, 1:11 pm

The comprehensive beating on the south coast was Chris Wilder’s side 11th defeat in 12 games and leaves the Blades rooted at the foot of the table with just a solitary point for their efforts.

But how did the players currently not part of the first team picture get on for their loan clubs at the weekend?

Did they fare any better than their struggling parent club?

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Sheffield United midfielder Luke Freeman, on loan at Nottingham Forest, faces a spell on the sidelines after "a successful hernia operation”. Photo: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.

Let’s take a look.

Luke Freeman

The 28-year-old midfielder is currently on a season-long loan with Championship side Nottingham Forest.

But Freeman, who joined United for a then club record £5m from Queens Park Rangers in the summer of 2019, faces a spell on the sidelines after undergoing a ‘successful’ hernia operation which is expected to keep him out of action until the New Year, reports Sky Sports.

The former Bristol City and Queens Park Rangers man has not featured for Forest since their 2-0 defeat to Barnsley last month after being sidelined with a groin problem.

He has made 10 appearances for the Reds and has scored once.

Rhys Norrington-Davies

Wales under-21 international Norrington-Davies is on loan at Championship side Luton Town for the 2020/21 campaign.

The 21-year-old has made 16 appearances so far for the Hatters, producing some excellent displays to also earn three full Wales caps, and returned to Bramall Lane last week to pen a new long-term contract with the Blades.

But Wilder says Norrington-Davies will remain with the Bedfordshire club for the remainder of his loan spell and came on for the final 16 minutes of Luton’s impressive 3-0 win over Preston North End at Kenilworth Road on Saturday.

"No recall from Luton, we want him to stay there for the season and start building a career for himself,” said the United boss.

Jake Eastwood

The 24-year-old goalkeeper joined Scottish Premiership outfit Kilmarnock in July on a six-month loan and is back to full fitness after suffering a thigh injury on his debut against Hibernian in early August, but was not in the matchday squad for Killie’s 2-0 defeat at Celtic yesterday.

David Parkhouse

The Northern Ireland under-21 international forward signed for National League side Hartlepool United on loan until January in September.

Pools lost 3-0 Woking on Saturday but Parkhouse, who has yet to make a first-team appearance for Wilder’s side, was once again not in the matchday squad.

Tyler Smith

Twenty-one-year-old striker Smith joined League One outfit Swindon Town on a season-long loan in August.

The forward, who has not made a senior appearance for the Blades, has become a favourite among Robins supporters by scoring seven goals during his loan spell – including the winner in the 2-1 win over bitter rivals Oxford United last month.

But Smith was substituted on 71 minutes during Swindon’s 1-0 defeat to Fleetwood Town at the County Ground on Saturday, a result which sees John Sheridan’s men slip into the relegation zone.

Marcus Dewhurst

Young goalkeeper Dewhurst re-joined League Two Carlisle United on a temporary basis until January 2021 at the end of August.

The 19-year-old had previously joined the Cumbrians on-loan on deadline day last January, but failed to make a competitive appearance before Covid-19 brought about the suspension of league football in England.

Dewhurst hit the headlines last month month when he pulled off two saves in Carlisle’s penalty shootout win over Southern League Premier Division South outfit Hayes & Yeading in the FA Cup first round on his debut, but was not in the matchday squad for the 4-0 win over Stevenage at Brunton Park on Saturday.

Ismaila Coulibaly

Mali under-20 midfielder Coulibaly joined United from Norwegian outfit Sarpsborg 08 earlier this season and was immediately sent out on loan for the next three seasons to high-flying Belgian side Beerschot, the Blades’ sister club.

Coulibaly, who has been named in United’s list of U21 players for the 2020/21 campaign, is more than enjoying life in the Belgian Pro League and has played a key role in Beerschot’s fine start to the season.

However, his side suffered a second successive defeat on Sunday when they were surprisingly beaten 3-1 by lowly Royal Excel Mouscron.

The United youngster has scored four goals in nine matches for Beerschot, who remain in third place following yesterday’s result.

Sam Graham

The 20-year-old central defender is on loan at National League outfit Notts County – his second temporary stint with the Magpies – until January but has been sidelined recently with a back injury suffered in training.

County did not have a game on Saturday after their fixture at Yeovil was called off due to a player from the home side testing positive for Covid-19, so Graham could be back in contention for the encounter with Stockport County at Meadow Lane tomorrow evening.

Regan Slater

United allowed the 21-year-old midfielder to join League One outfit Hull City last month on a season-long loan but was an unused substitute in table-topping Tigers’ surprise 1-0 home defeat to Shrewsbury Town on Saturday.

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