Sheffield Wednesday trusted Oldham Athletic with the development of Alex Hunt during the January transfer window, as the midfielder headed out of Hillsborough on loan for the remainder of the season.
Hunt, 21, was with Grimsby Town earlier in the season, scoring once in 18 appearances for the non-league side.
In a bid to further the midfielder’s development in the EFL, Wednesday relocated Hunt at Oldham, who are battling to retain their League Two status under the management of John Sheridan.
Hunt started the game prior to Sheridan’s return to Boundary Park, featuring for 58 minutes in the 3-0 defeat to Harrogate Town.
Sheridan’s return toward the end of January, though, has seen Hunt come in and out of the side.
He started Sheridan’s first fixture back at the helm, managing another 58 minutes of the goalless draw with Rochdale. Two unused substitute appearances have followed, either side of a seven-minute cameo against Bristol Rovers.
Worryingly for Hunt, Oldham’s results have picked up and Sheridan’s selection calls are paying off.
Oldham have beaten Scunthorpe United and Bristol Rovers, whilst picking up another point in a 3-3 draw with promotion-chasing Newport County.
By now, Oldham’s fate is in their own hands and, although they are still in the relegation zone, there’s a genuine chance of survival.
Hunt’s role in the last few fixtures hasn’t been significant, but it will do the 21-year-old no harm to be part of this kind of experience.
Minutes were easier to come by at Grimsby, but senior football is about more than just how much you are playing.
Sheridan is a manager that demands a lot of his players, and featuring in the high-pressure environment of a League Two relegation battle will serve Hunt better than breezing his way through non-league games.
That’s the way Sheffield Wednesday need to see it.