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Loan Report: Slow Starts As Royals Kick Off Season

Another four Royals have gone out on loan for this season, so how did they get on last week?

Sunderland v Oxford United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

The good times just keep on coming for Vito Mannone at Minnesota United. Another three games in a couple of weeks since our last loan report and the Loons made it three games unbeaten. This run started with a 0-0 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS, which was followed up by a 1-0 win over Portland Timbers thanks to a 92nd-minute penalty which was converted by Ethan Finlay.

The most important result of the run was the last game though, which was another victory over Portland Timbers - by a 2-1 scoreline - but this result sees Minnesota through to the US Open Cup Final. The Loons took the lead just after the 20 minute mark, with the Timbers equalising on the stroke of half time. The winning goal came with just over 25 minutes to go, and so booked their place in their first competitive final.

Yeovil Town begin life in non-league for the first time since 2002, and it’s been a mixed start for the side from Somerset. An opening day 1-0 away defeat to Barnet was followed by a win on Tuesday at home to Eastleigh. Royals keeper Liam Driscoll was an unused sub in both games.

After being told to find a new club over the summer, keeper Luke Southwood completed a move north of the border on a season-long loan to Hamilton in the Scottish Premiership, and it was a bad start to the season for the Accies as they were hammered 3-0 away at Ross County. The Reading stopper was an unused sub in this opening game.

Last season we were reporting on Marc McNulty on loan at Hibernian. Manager Paul Heckingbottom was desperate to get the striker permanently this summer, but unfortunately for both parties this deal didn’t come off. Instead the ex-Coventry striker has gone out on loan once again, this time slightly below the border to League One giants Sunderland.

McNulty played the full 90 minutes on the opening day as the Black Cats were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Oxford United. Former Royal Tariqe Fosu put the visitors ahead with quarter of an hour gone, and a penalty just after half time which was converted by Lynden Gooch rescued the home side from their blushes in a match they will feel they should have won.

Another player who was told to find a new club over the summer was striker Sam Smith. Much like Southwood, the youngster was unable to secure a permanent move away from the club so has joined League Two side Cambridge United on loan. He was in action on the opening day for the Us, coming off the bench just after the hour mark but was unable to help his side secure a victory. They settled for a 0-0 draw at home to Bradford City, despite being reduced to ten men.

Elsewhere, Sone Aluko is still on loan at Beijing Renhe, but hasn’t featured in their last three matches at all. That run started off with a 3-0 defeat at Guanghzhou Evergrande, who are owned by Dai Yongge’s friend Xu Jiayin, with Renhe then drawing 1-1 with Shenzhen and losing 2-1 to Henan Jianye.