Michael O’Neill will be demanding a strong finish to the season by his Stoke City side, although he may already have one eye on the next campaign.
The team are ten points away from the play-off places with eight games to play, so a top six finish seems highly unlikely, but the boss can be satisfied with how the team have progressed under his guidance.
Injuries haven’t helped the Potters at all this season, and O’Neill will know welcoming back the likes of Tyrese Cambell and Nathan Collins will make a big difference.
Of course, new signing will also be needed, and fans will be excited about who comes in during the summer. However, departures will be inevitable too, and some Stoke players may need temporary moves to get regular football.
Here we look at TWO individuals who would benefit from going out on loan for next season…
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An injury crisis in goal meant the youngster was recalled earlier in the season, and he has gone on to play 15 times in the league.
During that spell, Bursik showed why he is so highly regarded, although he still has areas of his game that he needs to develop, which is normal for a 20-year-old.
Instead of sticking around and playing in the cup and as backup, Bursik would benefit from starting games elsewhere. After another full season of competitive action, which would probably come in League One, the England youth international would be ready to make his mark in 2022.
Another England youth international, Oakley-Boothe arrived from Tottenham with a good reputation but he hasn’t always shone for Stoke.
Again, at 21, it’s understandable that he needs time to develop, as he clearly has talent. Realistically, he won’t be a regular under O’Neill next season, and whilst the boss might be tempted to keep him as a good option from the bench, the midfielder would be better off playing week in, week out.
So, a loan move could see Oakley-Boothe take his game up a few levels, and he may return ready to make an impact on the XI after a year.