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Reading FC Loan Round-Up: February 14th

How are some of Reading's brightest talents getting on away from the Madejski Stadium?

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George Legg - Hungerford (National League South) Appearances: 34 Clean Sheets: 14

Legg played in all eight games this month for his side, and had an excellent start to February too, keeping three clean sheets in three wins that also included a penalty save in the final game, a 2-0 win over Bishop's Stortford. The excellent run of games has meant that the club haven't lost since November 26th, and Legg has been a big part of that success.

The young goalkeeper took part in a Q&A on Twitter last week, and some of his responses helped shed light on what it's like being out on loan.

Paolo Hurtado - Vitoria de Guimaraes (Liga NOS) Appearances: 27 Goals: 5

On the back of an excellent December, Hurtado was looking to emulate that form as Vitoria pushed for a European spot. However, the Peruvian failed to have a similar impact, making the majority of his nine appearances off the bench as the club's league form began to falter.

They did have an impressive 2-1 win over Braga though, and Hurtado stood out as having a particularly effective game.

Sean Long - Lincoln City (National League) Appearances: 7

Long departed the Royals during the January transfer window to National League side, Lincoln, for the remainder of the season, and made his debut in their impressive 2-2 draw with Ipswich in the FA Cup. Long looks to have established himself in the side, as he also appeared in their famous wins against Ipswich (in the replay following that draw) and Championship leaders, Brighton.

Long has also made his talent clear in front of a national audience, coming second in Soccer AM's skill test before the Brighton fixture.

Craig Tanner - Plymouth Argyle (Football League Two) Appearances: 30 Goals: 5

Tanner played in a part in both of Plymouth's FA Cup ties against Liverpool this month, coming off the bench in both but failing to change the results as Liverpool won in a hard-fought replay. The youngster played in six games overall this month, mostly off the bench, but was an unused substitute in the most recent two matches.

Tanner surpassed 100-career games over the past few weeks too, 76 of which came in an Argyle shirt.

Jack Stacey - Exeter (Football League Two) Appearances: 25

Stacey played in all seven games over the past month for Exeter having just extended his loan deal until the end of the season. He played 90 minutes in every game as his side won six of the seven played, with the only defeat coming against Tanner's Plymouth.

Although used predominantly as a winger at Reading, Stacey has been played at a number of positions at the League Two club, but his performances at right back have meant he's now the first name on the team sheet.

Speaking to the Exeter Express and Echo, Stacey said:

"I'm really happy to stay here for the rest of the season.

"Getting used to a different position in a different league takes some time but the coaches here have worked me really well and we're doing well at the moment.

"I think we've conceded two in the last nine games, which says it all, really.

"We do a lot of work as a back four, and also all the defence, as we've got a great squad of defenders, and it's really starting to show out on the pitch now."

And manager, Paul Tisdale, also gave a glowing assessment of Stacey's performances so far and his decision to stay for the remainder of the season.

"I think Jack's a versatile player who's got a good capacity physically for the game.

"He can play in different positions and is a good team player, so he'll be a vital element to our progress over the next three months.

"I'm delighted he'll stay with us and that Reading have allowed it, and I think time will tell how long he'll play at right-back or in midfield or whatever, but he's a very, very confident footballer and we very, very much like having him at Exeter.

"The season will have twists and turns, wins and losses and all sorts going on, so the more players you have available to you to a good standard, the better, and Jack certainly gives us some strength in depth.

"I'm very pleased he's staying with us."

Tariqe Fosu - Colchester United (Football League Two) Appearances: 21 Goals: 2

Tariqe made five appearances this month, but they were all cameos from the bench as he continues to struggle to be a reliable 90-minute winger even at League Two level. He is the go-to guy from the bench though, often being the first man Colchester turn to when they need to change a game, and they extended him until the end of the season during the window.

Axel Andresson - Bath (National League South) Appearances: 8 Goals: 1

The Icelandic defender has become an immediate mainstay in the Bath side since joining on loan, and became a fan favourite around Christmas when he opted to stay in England to play instead of going back to Iceland to spend Christmas with his family.

He earned further 'cult-hero' points the following week too, scoring a penalty in a 4-0 win against Truro City, despite playing centre-half for the game.

Zak Jules - Motherwell (SPFL) Appearances: 2

Jules joined the Scottish club during the January transfer window for the remainder of the season, and has since made two apeparances for the club, one start and one from the bench.

In an interview with the Scottish Sun, Jules had much to say on Jaap Stam's influence on his career.

"Jaap thought it was a good opportunity to get first-team football.

"With the fans we’ve got here and how competitive the league is, he said it will benefit my career.

"He’s been superb and has worked very closely with me. To have someone of his stature coach you is amazing.

"Even the more experienced boys like Paul McShane are learning from him because he has so much to offer.

"I can remember him as a player a little bit. I’m 19 now, so I was just a baby when he won the Champions League with Manchester United.

"The best piece of advice he gave me was when he first came in. He wanted me to be a little bit more aggressive — that’s Jaap Stam all over!

"In possession he likes his defenders to be relaxed, composed and able to play the ball out from the back.

"He’s been quite hands on with me and coached me in that sense.

"I like to play, so it’s suited me. When he first saw me in the Under-23s training he brought me straight over and I’ve been there ever since.

"It’s all about your mentality. When I go into tackles, you have to think what he’d do to me if I ever bottled it!

"He looks intimidating, but he’s actually quite a funny guy. He likes a bit of banter and has a few jokes with the players. He’s a nice guy.

Jake Cooper - Millwall (Football League One) Appearances: 5 Goals: 1

Cooper departed the club at the back end of the January window and went straight into the Milwall starting eleven against Bradford. Since then, he has played every minute for the club including in impressive performances against Watford and Coventry, in which he scored from a corner to put his side 1-0 up in a 2-0 triumph.

Cooper was named in the team of the week following that goal and clean sheet.

And he also spoke glowingly on his time at the club so far, amid the fans clamouring for their club to sign him at the end of the season.

"I’ve loved every minute of it so far, it’s been a great experience.

"Hopefully we can keep that going for the rest of the season.

"I’ve had a few chances so it was nice to turn one in for once. It was my birthday as well (Friday). The fans were great, we had a good following there. The fans have been great since I joined the club.

"It’s nice to keep another clean sheet, that’s three in a row now.

"We always fancy ourselves defensively, we’ve got a good defensive block. We like to make it difficult for whoever we’re playing against to score goals and that’s what we showed again.

"We always felt we could win the game, especially after scoring the first goal. To get the second one made it a lot more comfortable for us in the last 10 minutes.

"I think we fancy ourselves against anyone.

"To get the wins is important now and going into the next few weeks that’s what we aim to do. I’ve only been here for four games so to get three clean sheets is ideal. I’m more than happy with that.

"We all know how the manager wants us to play, we know what to expect from each other and there is a great understanding in the team.

"That helps us, we don’t take risks at the back, we get it forward and play where it’s dangerous for the other team, not for us.

"We want to keep this run going and build momentum going into the last period of the season."

Dom Samuel - Ipswich Town (Football League Championship) Appearances: 1 Goals: 3

Dom left on deadline day to join fellow Championship side, Ipswich. His first game came in a development match against Watford, in which the side won 8-0 and he scored a hat-trick, which you can see in the highlights below.

However, he broke his toe in training following the game and was ruled out for six weeks.

Niall Keown - Partick Thistle (SPFL) Appearances: 3

Keown signed on loan at Scottish club Partick Thistle late on in the transfer window for the rest of the season, and made his debut just three days later, going straight into the starting line-up. He made a further two starts during the month, appearing on the bench just once, as an unused substitute, and he's looking to make his mark at Thistle to try to step out of his father's shadow.

People always ask me: ‘What’s it like (to have Martin Keown as your father)? Is he in your ear all the time?’

"To be honest, he takes a bit of a back seat. He lets me work things out for myself.

"I wasn’t tempted to play in another position, I didn’t get much choice!

"He retired when I was eight or nine, which is a shame, really. I would have loved to have watched more of those games now, to see what he was really like.

"I was in that environment from a very young age, mixing with his team-mates. We used to go to all the games.

"I think growing up in a football environment meant I was always going to go into the game.

"But what I really got from it was the mind-set and the mentality. I really got that from my dad, from being in the same house as him for all those years.

"That kind of thing is always forced upon you eventually, I suppose. But I was already focused on being a professional footballer from a very young age – for as long as I can remember.

"Hopefully you guys will be able to tell me in a few weeks’ time whether I’m as intimidating. I’d like to think I’m tough to get past, quite aggressive. Hopefully I show that."

Jake Sheppard - Dagenham (National League) Appearances: 3 Goals: 1

Sheppard, who can play either right back or right wing, joined Dagenham until the end of the season, and has since made three appearances for the club, scoring his first goal for the club in a 3-2 win over Chester.

Speaking to the Dagenham Post, Sheppard explained the move to the club, and what he can offer in the promotion push.

"The first aim is to get promoted and we have a good chance of doing that.

"We’re fourth in the league and only six points off top. Winning promotion is the first thing in the gaffer’s mind too, and it’s a real good bunch of lads here.

"It’s a very strong group and we definitely have it in the locker to win promotion.

"I’m a direct full-back that likes to get forward and put balls into the box.

"You have the likes of ‘Hawks’ (Oliver Hawkins) who is great at getting on the end of crosses, so it should be good to get some assists for him."

Stuart Moore - Luton Town (Football League Two) Appearances: 2

Moore joined Luton on deadline day after Brighton opted to re-call Christian Walton before the window slammed shut, leaving the League Two side without a senior goalkeeper.

Moore went straight into the side that lost 3-2 to Cheltenham, before also playing the full game against Grimsby. But Matt Macey has replaced him between the sticks in the most recent two matches, in wins against Yeovil and Crawley.

Moore got off to a slow start in his first start for the club, flapping at a corner which gave Cheltenham the first in their 3-2 victory, and he spoke to Bedfordshire on Sunday about the error.

"It was a disappointing start. The first thing you do, tipping over a long kick from the keeper is always difficult. It's one of those things. It's happened, it's in the past and I look to move on now and keep pushing for the rest of the season.

"Every young keeper is going to make mistakes, but it's how you learn from it, how you deal with it and I like to think I'm quite thick-skinned. If I make a mistake, it does hurt, but you've just got to get straight back into the game quickly.

"It's a difficult position. Most keepers, when they make mistakes, it ends up in the back of the net. If you're an outfield player, you get away with it because you've got men behind the ball. It's one of those things, you've just got to learn from it, deal with it and get on with it."

"Due to the situation at Reading with injuries, I've ended up on the bench quite a lot this season, which is always nice being involved but, as a goalkeeper, you want to be playing football.

"It's never ideal sitting on the touchline watching but at some stage of your career you've got to do that. As soon as the loan came up, I really wanted to come and play football and what better place to do it?"

"As soon as it came up I snatched at the chance. I said immediately, 'yeah, I want to join Luton Town'. I could see they are ambitious, they want to get promoted and it all happened very quickly. Tuesday night was a bit of a blur and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and pushing for promotion."

LOAN PLAYER OF THE MONTH:

Jake Cooper has had an impressive start to life away from Reading, scoring a goal and keeping clean sheets for Millwall in League One. He takes the accolade this month.