General view inside Elland Road before the Brentford match, August 2019
Championship

Loan Watch: Leeds United’s Conor Shaughnessy continues in new role, as Lewie Coyle features and Laurens De Bock prepares for Sunderland debut

In our Loan Watch feature series, the Football Transfer Tavern take a look at how a selection of players from a particular club are faring while away from their parent sides on loan, and provide a brief update regarding their form.

As Leeds United retained their top spot in the Championship despite dropping two points at home to Derby County at the weekend, the Elland Road natives’ loan contingent enjoyed a mixed week away from West Yorkshire.

Here, we take a look at a Whites man who is continuing on in his new role, another who maintained his 100 per cent appearance record, and one who is preparing for his potential debut.

Conor Shaughnessy

Conor Shaughnessy signed for Leeds’ academy in 2016 and was handed his senior debut on the opening weekend of the 2017/18 season away to Bolton Wanderers, but featured just once under Marcelo Bielsa last term (TransferMarkt) before joining Scottish Premiership side Hearts on loan in January.

Now, the 23-year-old centre-back is plying his trade in League Two for Mansfield Town on a season-long deal, and is yet to miss a second of action in the fourth-tier under John Radford (WhoScored) since moving to Field Mill on Deadline Day.

But it has not been in his natural defensive role where Radford has favoured Shaughnessy, with the former Republic of Ireland U21 international instead deployed as a central midfielder for each of his four appearances to date.

Shaughnessy’s most recent league outing in the role came on Saturday away to Port Vale, where he penned his joint-most tackles in a game (2), played one key pass and completed a single successful dribble, but failed to record an interception, clearance or block.

Lewie Coyle

Another product of Leeds’ academy, Lewie Coyle is again plying his trade in the third-tier with League One side Fleetwood Town, for whom he has been tasked with holding down honours in his natural right-back position by manager Joey Barton.

The Hull-born defender made his Fishermen season debut in the curtain-raiser win away to Peterborough United, and has played in each subsequent fixture across all competitions (TransferMarkt), having been at Highbury Stadium for the prior two campaigns on loan, too.

Coyle, who has made 23 appearances for the Leeds first-team, enjoyed a strong performance in his most recent outing of the campaign, as he penned an 85.3% pass success rate, along with one interception, two successful dribbles, a block, and one key pass as Fleetwood beat Rochdale 2-1 (WhoScored).

The Fishermen are next in action on Wednesday night, when they face Liverpool’s Under 21s in the Football League Trophy.

Laurens De Bock

Laurens De Bock was a rarely-seen member of the Leeds first-team following his arrival from Club Brugge in January 2018, as he made seven appearances (TransferMarkt) before joining KV Oostende on a season-long loan deal that summer.

The former Belgium youth international, who failed to earn a senior cap in either of his two call-ups, is now on loan in League One with Sunderland, but is yet to see his name listed on any of Jack Ross’ matchday teamsheets.

Black Cats boss Ross was impressed with De Bock’s efforts for his side’s Under 23s last week, however, and the Sunderland Echo have suggested that the left-back is now in contention to make his debut in the Carabao Cup against Premier League side Sheffield United on Wednesday night.

De Bock is not guaranteed to start the cup clash with the Blades, but is nearing a greater role at the Stadium of Light.

The weekend’s results for Leeds’ loan contingent will likely leave the Elland Road natives in a mixed state of mind, as Mansfield Town utilising Shaughnessy in a midfield capacity will be unlikely to change his standing in Bielsa’s plans, where he would face competition for Kalvin Phillips, Adam Forshaw, Mateusz Klich, Mateusz Bogus and Alfie McCalmont.

What will be even more disappointing for Bielsa, though, is De Bock’s struggles to establish himself in the North East as of yet, but the Argentine head coach should take comfort in Ross’ plans to utilise the Belgian in an advancing role.

Speaking after De Bock featured for Sunderland’s U23s, Ross noted, via quotes by the Sunderland Echo: The way we play, there will be an onus on him to get forward but it’s a very good starting point to have those defensive attributes to begin with. He does have a good left foot and that will help him when he does get higher up the pitch.”

Coyle being an established member of Barton’s plans at Fleetwood will also likely buoy Bielsa, and in particular by his accurate passes at the weekend in a game he offered a creative and defensive presence.

Leeds fans, given Coyle has now been away from Elland Road for two seasons and is set to remain at Fleetwood until the New Year, does he have a future at United? Let us know in the comments below…

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Loan Watch: Leeds United’s Conor Shaughnessy continues in new role, as Lewie Coyle features and Laurens De Bock prepares for Sunderland debut
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