Carlisle United have re-signed Sheffield United’s Nathan Thomas on a season-long loan, less than a day after the winger cancelled his temporary move to Gillingham.
It was announced at the start of July that Thomas had joined the League One side on loan until the end of the season, but Gills boss Steve Evans revealed on Tuesday night that the 24-year-old had cancelled his loan move to Priestfield.
Speaking to the club’s official website about Thomas’ situation, Evans explained: “His family were not in a good place in terms of being away from their relatives and close ones, especially with a young child.
“We have to listen, as a Manager you have a responsibility to your players. It’s a decision we had to make and we wish him every success.
“My understanding is that he has an opportunity to go back to Carlisle, and they are good people. We would like to thank Sheffield United for their understanding.”
That desire to return to Carlisle has now been confirmed, after the club announced on Wednesday morining that Thomas has returned to Brunton Park on loan for the entirety of the 2019/20 campaign.
Thomas spent the second half of last season on loan at Carlisle, scoring four goals and providing one assist in 16 appearances for the League Two side.
Discussing the situation after confirmation of Thomas’ return, Carlisle manager Stephen Pressley told the club’s website: “He was one of my main targets and we were obviously disappointed when he initially went to Gillingham.
“His agent contacted me about 10 days ago to inform me that Nathan and his family hadn’t quite settled in the area, and he asked if we would still consider taking him in. Of course the answer was yes to that.”
Despite making just three appearances in all competitions for Sheffield United, Thomas has already scored in both the FA Cup and League Cup for the Blades, with all of those contributions coming during the 2017/18 season.
The winger is entering the final 12 months of his contract with Chris Wilder’s side, meaning this could be his final chance to impress enough to earn himself a new deal with the newly-promoted Premier League club.
You have to feel for Gillingham here.
They must have thought they were getting the services of a hugely talented and promising young winger to use for the whole of the campaign, helping them to push on from their mid-table League One finish last season.
Now however they have to potentially move back into the transfer market to potentially find a fresh alternative for Thomas, which may not be easy to do with so many moves already in motion.
Even so, the Gills do deserve credit here for doing what is right for the player, and they may have avoided a difficult situation for all parties had they elected to keep Thomas at the club despite his unhappiness at Priestfield.
Carlisle meanwhile will surely be pleased with their business, and having a player with Thomas’ ability at this level available for the whole of the campaign will surely be a big boost for them as they look to improve on their push for the League Two play-offs last season.