GOOD luck to Liam Ridehalgh as he starts a second month on loan to Swindon.
Our talented left-back has been a regular in the County Ground side, and is gaining valuable experience.
He made a real impact here last season, only to suffer a troublesome foot injury when it got to the business end.
It proved costly, because he wasn’t fully fit when the new campaign began and found himself behind Gary Naysmith and Calum Woods in the pecking order.
Now he’s getting regular competitive football and when he returns to the Galpharm, will be in a position to push for inclusion.
Loans can be highly beneficial to both clubs and players for a variety of reasons.
As in the case of Liam, they provide a chance of gametime for players who are returning from injury.
For more experienced players who aren’t in the long-term plans of their parent club, like Nathan and Tom Clarke and Robbie Simpson, it’s a chance to put themselves in the shop window and perhaps even earn a move to the team they have joined.
Loans also allow clubs hit by injuries to bring in players as cover, which was the case when I went to Tottenham Hotspur from Sheffield Wednesday.
It helped Spurs out of a hole and gave me an enjoyable month at one of the most famous clubs in the country under an experienced manager in George Graham.
Loans are also of massive benefit to young players.
They have to play matches in an environment where results really matter, and that will have been brought firmly home to Chris Atkinson up at Darlington, who have just parted company with manager Mark Cooper.
They also have to learn to operate under different coaching staff and look after themselves off the pitch in a place which is strange them.
How a player responds when out of their comfort zone, both personally and professionally, can be very telling.
Jack Hunt is a top example of a young player who has thrived when out on loan.
He had a great first half of last season at Chesterfield, who went on to win the League II title, then earned a high-profile full Town debut in the FA Cup tie at Arsenal, and hasn’t looked back since!