Cardiff City currently have four players out on loan this season.
The club, and the players, will be hoping they get the requisite game time to press their case to Mick McCarthy and prove they can actually add value to the first-team squad.
With the prospect of January recalls potentially on the horizon, the Bluebirds players will want to make their mark in the early throes of the season to ensure they are firmly in the club’s plans if not for the back end of this season, then for next year and beyond.
Below, we take a look at how each player has fared so far:
Josh Murphy – Preston
Josh Murphy leapt at the chance to link back up with Frankie McAvoy, his former Norwich City coach, up at Preston.
From what we had seen in the first few matches of the season, it was becoming glaringly obvious that Murphy was a peripheral player at Cardiff and chances to play would be very few and far between for him this term.
It made sense for the player, then, to seek a loan move away on transfer deadline day, but from a business perspective it is a curious one due to his deal with Cardiff running out next summer.
Mick McCarthy has not ruled out the possibility of potentially offering him a new contract if he tears it up at Preston, but all things considered that appears unlikely.
Nevertheless, Murphy himself said he had a point to prove up at Preston, but it has not been the start he would have liked.
He has made just three substitute appearances for the Deepdale outfit, totalling 21 minutes of football, and is seemingly struggling to establish himself as a first-choice winger there. A familiar story for the 26-year-old.
He is not yet match fit, though, as he has also stated himself, and it might take a while for him to force his way into the reckoning. This week’s Carabao Cup clash might have been the perfect opportunity for that, had he not been cup tied after playing for Cardiff in the earlier rounds.
So, a stuttering start, but a challenge which he needed. He just needs to get out there and start showing what he is capable of, which we have been saying for far too long.
Gavin Whyte – Oxford United
It felt inevitable, really, that Gavin Whyte would be sent out on loan again this season. He is someone who divides the Bluebirds fan base, but there was a school of thought that he might just fit into McCarthy’s system as a wing back.
In many respects, the signing of Perry Ng and emergence of Tom Sang have been detrimental to Whyte and his potential future at Cardiff.
For Whyte now, though, it’s all about games under the belt at Oxford United.
“In the last year and a half I haven’t played as much as I’d like to,” Whyte said in August. “You get that with football, but that’s why I came here.
“I loved it the first time and I want to go into a season and play 40 games.
“I want to go away in the summer and think I deserve to go on holiday because I’ve played that many games.”
It’s been a busy few months for the Northern Ireland international, who has been totting up the minutes for club and country.
He has established himself as a mainstay for the League One club, starting six of the seven league games so far.
But Cardiff will be monitoring his numbers. The Bluebirds are desperately short of wide options and if Whyte stakes a claim early on in the campaign, he could give McCarthy and Co food for thought in January.
He is yet to get off the mark in his second spell at Oxford, though, and has registered a solitary assist in his eight appearances so far.
Those numbers will have to improve if he is to be seriously considered for a January recall.
Max Watters – MK Dons
Max Watters’ move to Cardiff City practically burst the bubble of his seemingly unstoppable momentum from the start of last season.
He made the switch from League Two outfit Crawley Town back in January after scoring 16 goals in the first half of the season, but then barely got a kick after moving to the Welsh capital.
He played just one match under Neil Harris before McCarthy took over and he was promptly shunned to the back of a long queue.
It was the right decision to send him on loan to League One’s MK Dons, but an injury-ravaged start to the season has stunted his progression.
Another manager exit might prove destabilising for him, too, as the person who brought him in, Russell Martin, upped sticks to take charge of Swansea City.
But Watters has returned to full fitness and has featured off the bench in each of MK Dons’ last two games. And to continue his tremendous goals-to-minutes ratio over the last 12 months or so, he netted his first goal for the club in the 4-1 win over Gillingham last weekend.
The 22-year-old’s progress will be a really interesting one to monitor now he is back to full fitness. Cardiff fans hope they have a real player on their hands and a prolific year in front of goal at Stadium MK will be hugely beneficial for the player and, of course, the Bluebirds.
Ryan Wintle – Blackpool
One of the more curious recent transfers for Cardiff.
Ryan Wintle’s arrival always seemed a strange one, given there were four central midfielders already in situ and Sam Bowen was making strides throughout pre-season, which has ultimately translated into minutes for the Bluebirds academy product.
The club took the decision to loan Wintle out to Blackpool, with the thought process being that his signing was one with next season in mind. With Marlon Pack, Joe Ralls and Will Vaulks all out of contract, that does make sense.
And his move appears to be one which has actually benefited everyone.
He has started the last three games for the Seasiders and played the full 90 minutes in the last two.
The central midfielder is becoming an important part of the squad for Neil Critchley, with Blackpool having won two of the three games in which Wintle has played since his move.
The Blackpool Gazette gave him an 8/10 in their player ratings after their most recent win over Middlesbrough, stating: “Never stopped running, flying into challenges on the touchline late on to help get Pool over the line.”
It seems as though Wintle will get a good run in the team up at Bloomfield Road and that is positive news.
They seem to have really taken to him up at Blackpool and that can only bode well for Cardiff when looking at next year and beyond.