Given the success of Ryan Yates and Jorge Grant at Notts County, it won’t come as much of a surprise that more Nottingham Forest youngsters are open to potential loan moves away from the City Ground to learn their trade in a competitive environment.
The Reds duo have been key performers at Meadow Lane this season, with Kevin Nolan’s men returning to the top of League Two following a convincing 3-0 win over Newport on Saturday, a game in which Grant netted twice; and one where Yates again impressed.
Watching two of his teammates across the river closely has been Toby Edser – one of the most highly-rated youngsters coming through the Reds production line at the Nigel Doughty Academy and perhaps closest to breaking through into the senior squad.
Edser returned to the Under-23s side on Friday, helping Forest earn a dramatic 2-2 draw with last season’s league winners Sheffield Wednesday, and the 18-year-old admits a loan move away from the club wouldn’t be off the agenda.
He does, however, admit that his main focus remains on breaking into Mark Warburton’s senior squad after enjoying a taste of it during pre-season, playing against Mansfield Town in a 4-0 win, having also travelled to Florida for the Reds’ summer training camp at the IMG Academy in Tampa.
“Yes,” he said unequivocally when asked if he’d be open to a loan move in the not too distant future, “though it’s not the first thing you want to do. You’re at Forest, you want to play at the City Ground, but there’s no harm in going out on loan,” he told the Post.
“We’ve still got to keep working hard, keeping chipping away at it and you might go on loan somewhere.”
Grant fired a double on Saturday, taking his tally for the season to 10, while midfielder Yates has caught the eye with his performances in the heart of the Magpies midfield, something that has impressed Edser and the rest of the youngsters at Wilford Lane who have been keeping close tabs on their progress.
“They’re fighting for the title in League Two, they’re both young, they’re both doing very well and you see headlines about them all the time,” he said.
“They’re doing the Academy proud; if any of us get the chance to go out on loan, I’m sure we’ll try and do that.”
While academy football is competitive to a point, there’s no substitute for playing league football that carries pressure and expectation, week in, week out and that’s something the teenager, who penned a new three-year contract earlier this season, is mindful of.
“You go out into the real world, you play men’s football in front of crowds; it’s not going to do you any harm,” he said.
“If anything, it’ll make you a better player, make you more experienced and that’s evident from some of the boys.”
In the meantime, the cultured left-footed midfielder is content with keeping his head down and working hard to keep Gary Brazil’s side challenging at the top of the Professional Development League, with a trip to Barnsley to come on Friday, before a mouth-watering visit to Pride Park and Derby County looms on the horizon next Monday evening.
“I’m still working hard, like all the other boys,” said the former Charlton performer.
“I had a go in pre-season. We’re still very young and when you look at the first team, there are young lads in there but they’ve still got years on us, there’s still two or three years on us – there’s absolutely no rush.”