Portsmouth and Barnsley are battling it out at the top of League One for a place in the Championship this season, bitter rivals with just two automatic spaces up for grabs.
The impetus seems to be with the Tykes, they’re second and four points clear of Pompey. Kenny Jackett’s side have experienced a renaissance recently and are back in the four-horse race for the two spots.
For former Southampton man Lloyd Isgrove, there has to be a certain amount of anger at both clubs. He’s currently on loan at Portsmouth from Barnsley, farmed out by one team to apparently help another.
Only it hasn’t panned out like that as he’s not featured for his loan club either. He’s had two appearances on the bench, but hasn’t kicked a ball in anger in the first team.
He’s revealed he’s ready and raring to go in an interview this week, but his words must mask a certain amount of anger.
His Barnsley career is surely over.
They didn’t just let him leave on loan, but saw fit to allow him to join a promotion rival. That shows a lack of regard for the impact he could have and sends him a clear message.
He would have relished the chance to get back at them with some exciting performances, but he’s not be afforded that opportunity. Even when Pompey crumbled and their attacking threat looked weak, he wasn’t called upon.
This leaves him in limbo.
He’s 26-years-old with fewer than 100 career outings to his name. He spent years at Southampton without ever breaking through and his most regular football came in a loan spell with Barnsley.
He’s now reaching the point in his career where he needs time on the field to show what he can do. He’s no longer a promising youngster, but a testament to unfulfilled potential.
He’ll be regretting that loan move and maybe, come the summer, he’ll have to set his sights on smaller teams to finally get a good run of games.