Birmingham City’s hopes of keeping Dion Sanderson at St Andrew’s for the remainder of the season hang in the balance as Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Bruno Lage has refused to rule out the possibility of recalling the defender from his loan spell.
Wolves are set to be without centre-backs Romain Saiss and Willy Boly in January as the duo will join up with their respective countries for the African Cup of Nations, whilst Yerson Mosquera is currently being forced to watch on from the sidelines due to a hamstring injury.
The Blues opted to strengthen their defensive options in the summer transfer window by swooping for Sanderson.
Although the defender was forced to wait until mid-September to make his league debut for Birmingham, he has since gone on to produce some encouraging performances at this level.
Utilised in a back-three by manager Lee Bowyer for the Blues’ clashes with Swansea City, Middlesbrough and Bristol City, Sanderson helped his side secure maximum points in all of these fixtures.
After missing the club’s meeting with Reading earlier this month, the defender is expected to make his return to action this afternoon when Birmingham head to the MKM Stadium to face Hull City.
Ahead of Wolves’ clash with West Ham United, Lage has admitted that he was impressed by the defender who participated in a three-day training camp with his parent-club during the international break.
The Wanderers boss also refused to rule out the possibility of recalling Sanderson in January.
Speaking to the Birmingham Mail about Sanderson, Lage said: “The player is doing well in Birmingham and we are happy because he is improving.
“We have six weeks to prepare this in the right way.”
Lage later added: “What I saw last week, it was very good.
“We are following the games, Carlos [Cachada] and Tony [Roberts] have been there for 50 percent of the games because we have a goalkeeper [Matija Sarkic] and a centre-back there.
“Every time they are saying good things about him.
“We didn’t work with him in the pre-season because he was injured.
“He worked with us for three days and I’m very happy.
“You never know.
“What I want is all the kids from the academy to work hard to have a chance, to do the same pathway as Max (Kilman).”
For Birmingham’s sake, they will be hoping that Wolves opt against recalling Sanderson as he has produced some assured displays for the club in their recent fixtures.
Particularly impressive during the Blues’ victories over Middlesbrough and Bristol City, the 21-year-old helped his side keep clean-sheets in both of these fixtures by registering WhoScored match ratings of 7.09 and 7.49.
When you consider that Wolves will only have two senior centre-backs at their disposal (Conor Coady and Max Kilman) when Boly and Saiss head to the African Cup of Nations, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Sanderson returns to Molineux for the club’s Premier League fixtures in January.
Birmingham may need to draft up a list of replacements for Sanderson as he could potentially stay with Wolves for the remainder of the 2021/22 campaign if he impresses in the top-flight.