Ethan Laird

Loan Watch: Laird's 'fantastic' season continues

Monday 19 December 2022 10:42

New Queens Park Rangers head coach Neil Critchley is eager to help Ethan Laird continue his development in west London, after the Manchester United right-back helped the Rs to a 1-0 win at Preston North End on Saturday.

Jimmy Dunne’s 58th-minute goal was enough to end the Londoners’ four-game losing streak as Critchley’s reign got off to a winning start, a week after he was appointed to replace the Rangers-bound Michael Beale.

Laird, who has appeared in 19 of QPR’s 20 league games since moving to Loftus Road on a season-long loan in August, once again caught the eye with his front-foot style and marauding forward runs.

After the game, Critchley was asked about the potential prospect of Laird returning to the Reds in January, but left no doubt as to where he wanted the right-back to see out the season.

“In any 12-month loan there is a natural break around mid-season that applies to all players but Ethan has been having a fantastic season here, playing every single week,” Critchley said.

“I am sure Manchester United will be happy with Ethan and the way he’s been playing and his development. My aim is to carry that on.

“I see myself as someone who can coach players to improve in the team they are playing in. Ethan is someone I have been aware of for many years coming through at United, and I tried to sign him previously at Blackpool, which didn’t happen, so I am pleased he is here and hopefully is for the rest of the season.”

Another Reds full-back played the full 90 minutes for Preston, with Alvaro Fernandez going close to opening the scoring for the Lilywhites just moments before Dunne’s decider.

Elsewhere in the division, Hannibal and Birmingham City got back to winning ways on Friday night, as the Blues survived a late scare to beat Reading 3-2 at St Andrew’s.

The Midlanders raced into a three-goal first-half lead, with Troy Deeney scoring twice before Hannibal’s free-kick drifted through to former Red Tahith Chong to convert.

Our Tunisia international was substituted on 76 minutes and watched on as the Royals rallied – Lucas Joao and Tom Ince reduced the deficit but John Eustace’s side clung on for all three points.

With a raft of lower league and non-league games postponed due to the freezing weather in England, our only other loanee in action was Sunderland’s Amad.

The Ivorian’s three-match goalscoring run came to an end, but the Black Cats looked to be heading towards a remarkable victory, as they recovered from the setback of losing two players to injury – including the red-carded Elliot Embleton – to lead through the returning Ross Stewart.

Ozan Tufan struck with eight minutes to go for the Tigers though, ensuring the game ended 1-1.