Sheffield United loan watch: Luke Freeman struggles 'to make an impact' in Nottingham Forest's 3-0 win at Wycombe Wanderers

Sheffield United are 12 points from safety following the latest round of Premier League games which saw them go down to a battling 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Bramall Lane last night.

Monday, 8th February 2021, 11:26 am

The result means United remain anchored at the foot of the table with just 11 points and only 15 games left to pull off the great escape.

But what about the players who are not currently part of the first team picture at Bramall Lane?

Let’s take a look to see how they fared at the weekend.

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Luke Freeman

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

Freeman has now fully recovered from surgery to correct a hernia problem which had dogged him in the early stages of the season and started in the Reds’ 3-0 win at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.

But despite being handed a rare chance to impress by Forest boss Chris Hughton, the former Arsenal and Bristol City man once again looked off the pace at Adams Park.

Sheffield United's Luke Freeman started for loan club Nottingham Forest in the Reds' 3-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Nottinghamshire Live’s Leigh Curtis, in giving Freeman a rating of five, wrote: “Struggled to make an impact in terms of the Reds’ attacking threat. Will get better once he gets fitter and that will improve the more often he plays.”

Rhys Norrington-Davies

Wales under-21 international Norrington-Davies was recalled from his season-long loan at Luton Town last month to allow him to join the Hatters’ Championship rivals Stoke City until the end of the current campaign.

The 21-year-old left-back, who put pen to paper on a new long-term contract with the Blades in December, missed the Potters’ goalless draw with Reading at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday as he began a three-match suspension following his sending off against Huddersfield Town seven days earlier.

Tyler Smith

Twenty-two-year-old striker Smith joined League One outfit Swindon Town on a season-long loan in August and is the club’s top scorer with seven goals in all competitions.

However, he has only scored twice since John Sheridan took over as boss at the County Ground in November.

Speaking last week, the former Sheffield Wednesday man told the media that Smith would remain with the Robins for the remainder of the season amid speculation he may return to Bramall Lane.

Asked why it hasn’t quite worked out for Smith under Sheridan so far, the Town boss said: “I wouldn’t say it’s just Tyler. I think it’s just confidence.

“We’ve had a chat with Tyler, I like him, he’s got a good way about him. He gets disappointed when he’s not in the team, he gets disappointed when we’re not winning.

“He’s got a bit of hunger about him, which I like to see in players. But I think it’s just the formation or system we play.

“But he’s one of many players who has been in and out of form.”

Smith was not part of the matchday squad for the game with Shrewsbury Town 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 Belgian side Beerschot, the Blades’ sister club.

Coulibaly, who has been named in United’s list of U21 players for the 2020/21 campaign, has scored five goals this season for his loan club but was an unused substitute in Beerschot’s 2-1 home defeat to second-placed Antwerp yesterday.

George Broadbent

The 20-year-old midfielder joined Coulibaly at Beerschot last month on a deal until the end of the season.

Broadbent made his debut in Beerschot’s 3-0 defeat against Jupiler League leaders Club Brugge shortly after signing but hasn’t featured since and, like Coulibaly, was on the bench for yesterday’s loss to Antwerp but wasn’t called into action by new coach Will Still.

Regan Slater

United allowed the 21-year-old midfielder to join League One high-flyers Hull City on a season-long loan in November and he has made 19 appearances so far in East Yorkshire.

He came on as a 22nd minute substitute for injured Tigers’ skipper Richie Smallwood in Saturday’s shock 1-0 defeat to Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium and writing for HullLive, City writer Barry Cooper said of Slater’s display: “Took a while to get into the game but when he did, made a couple of crucial interceptions. Will be disappointed with the way the goal was conceded. 5/10.”

Jéan Leroy Belehouan

The 20-year-old French central defender joined National League Premier side FC Halifax Town on loan for the remainder of the season last month.

Belehouan, who is a second-year scholar with the Blades and plays for the under 23s, wasn’t in action at the weekend due to the Shaymen having no game.

Jake Eastwood

The 24-year-old goalkeeper joined League Two strugglers Grimsby Town until the end of the season on deadline day and made his debut in the Mariners’ 1-0 defeat at Newport County on Saturday.

It’s Eastwood’s second loan spell of the season having returned from a six-month stint at Scottish Premiership outfit Kilmarnock last month.

Speaking about his move to the East Coast, the Bladesman said: “I am looking forward to it. We need to stay up and win some points and at the bottom of the table where we are, they don't really come around very often so as soon as we start picking up some points and some wins, we will be in a much better position in a short period of time."

Michael Verrips

The Dutchman became the second goalkeeper to leave Bramall Lane on deadline day when he joined FC Emmen in his homeland until the end of the season.

Verrips, who like Eastwood is 24 years old, made his debut for the Eredivisie’s basement side’s 1-0 defeat to AZ Alkmaar on Saturday, a result which leaves his new club winless from their opening 21 league games.