Loan Watch: Laird promoted with Bournemouth

Wednesday 04 May 2022 14:12

Manchester United youngster Ethan Laird was an unused substitute on Tuesday night as Bournemouth edged out Nottingham Forest 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium to earn promotion back to the Premier League.

Laird, who has overcome his recent injury setbacks to make six appearances since his loan switch across the division from Swansea City in January, watched on from the dugout at the Vitality Stadium where Kieffer Moore’s 83rd-minute strike was the difference. 

Having secured the Championship’s second and final automatic promotion spot with a game to spare, the Cherries will now return to the division alongside Fulham next season, who clinched the second-tier title on Monday evening. 
The stakes were certainly high under the lights on the south coast, with the Championship’s second and third place teams going head-to-head, separated by just three points at kick-off. 

Chasers Forest, who have United midfielder James Garner in their ranks, knew that victory would see them go level on points with Bournemouth, while leapfrogging them on goal difference going into this weekend’s final round of matches. 

But it was the home side who took the spoils to clinch a spot back in the Premier League after a two-year absence, ahead of their final-day fixture at home to Millwall.
It means that Garner, who played 90 minutes in Tuesday's game, and the Nottingham club will have to progress through the play-offs if they too are to join Bournemouth and Fulham at next season’s top table. 

The Tricky Trees now go into their last match of the campaign, away to Hull City on Saturday (12:30 BST), looking to finish 2021/22 as the highest-ranked side in the play-off picture. 

They would need a win to do this ahead of fourth-place Huddersfield Town, who also have 79 points but a much inferior goal difference to Garner’s loan club. 
Garner's Forest will face one of Sheffield United, Luton Town, Middlesbrough or Millwall in the first round of the play-offs.
Due to not being able to finish lower than fourth in the table, Forest’s first match of their two-legged play-off will definitely be away from home, with the return leg to follow at the City Ground a few days later. 

Should they finish third, their respective matches will be on Friday 13 May (19:45 BST) and Monday 16 May (19:45 BST), while a fourth-place rank would see them play on Saturday 14 May (15:00 BST) and Tuesday 17 May (19:45 BST). 

The final will be held at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 29 May, 16:30 BST kick-off. 

Loan Watch: Levitt nets a vital goal


Dylan Levitt scored a huge goal at the weekend, and James Garner also impressed once more for Nottingham Forest.

Elsewhere this weekend, there will also be United involvement in the League Two play-off shake-up via Nathan Bishop and Mansfield Town. 

The United goalkeeper is hoping to help the Stags prolong their campaign when they face already promoted Forest Green Rovers in their regular-season finale on Saturday afternoon (15:00 BST). 
The 22-year-old will hit the 50-appearance mark in Mansfield colours this season if he plays on Saturday.
Off the back of a 2-2 draw away to Salford City on Tuesday, Mansfield currently occupy one of the four play-off positions as the fifth-placed team in the division and know that another point would be enough to make sure of their place in this season’s semi-finals, continuing their pursuit of a spot in the third tier for 2022/23.

Good luck to James and Nathan this weekend and congratulations to Ethan.