Coventry City certainly know how important a successful loan signing can be, with Liam Walsh and Callum O’Hare proving key men as they won League One last term.
When it comes to midfielder Josh Eccles, however, they’ll be hoping to benefit from the other side of such a deal with the 20-year-old having joined Gillingham on a season-long loan.
A product of the Sky Blues academy system, Eccles was handed his debut by Mark Robins in the 2018/19 campaign and has made 13 appearances for his boyhood club since.
After securing promotion to the Championship last term, it appears the club felt that regular first-team football elsewhere was best for his development and so a move to the Gills was sanctioned.
Regular opportunities certainly seem like something he’s going to get with the League One side, having featured in eight of his new club’s nine games since his arrival.
So far, he has solely been used as a central midfielder – either in a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 system – and appears to be making an impact.
It’s not unusual to see higher league loanees shirk some of their defensive responsibilities but Eccles’ hunger has been clear in his work when the Gills don’t have possession.
According to Whoscored, only defender Robbie McKenzie averages more than his 2.6 tackles per game, while only four players average more than his 1.3 interceptions per game.
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Eccles has also contributed an average of 2.6 clearances per game and won 64% of his ground and aerial duels (Sofascore).
His quality in possession is perhaps an area that the midfielder will be looking to work on as the season progresses. Up to this point he is averaging just 0.1 key passes per game and has only connected with 63% of his total passes (Sofascore).
Gillingham are mid-table in League One as things stand after a three-game losing streak has seen them lose ground on the sides above them.
Sky Blues fans will no doubt be hoping that Eccles can help them turn things around and build on a promising start over the next few months.