MANAGER Paul Holleran believes forward Taylor Allen has much more to offer to his Leamington team, after the club struck a loan extension for the Forest Green Rovers midfielder for a third month.
Allen, 20, has made eight appearances for the Brakes this term since his initial arrival from the League Two club at the end of November, scoring once in the 2-1 win over Chorley in his last outing in January.
It is a key signing for the Community Stadium club as National League North gets back underway this week, with the duration of the loan reflecting the uncertainty that still remains over the 2020/21 season – which is set to be decided by the result of a league-wide vote in the coming weeks.
The Brakes boss admits that the initial two-week suspension of the league was the reasoning behind the club’s reluctance to bring the midfielder back on board, but hopes that Allen can continue to kick on in Warwickshire.
“The only reason we didn’t initially take up the option to extend Taylor’s loan was because we were unsure whether the season was going to continue, and he was cup tied so unable to play in the FA Trophy,” said Holleran.
“He has made a valuable contribution in his initial two months with us and he has slotted into the squad well, so having him back will benefit us greatly.”
While the club have had a quiet few weeks since play was halted in mid-January, Leamington have had a busy start to February.
The club battled valiantly in their fifth-round clash with Hereford in the FA Trophy last weekend, en route to a narrow 1-0 exit at Edgar Street, with Chris Camwell’s fourth-minute free kick the only goal to separate the two sides.
It meant the Brakes crashed out at the round of 16 stage for a second season in succession, missing out on a trip to National League outfit Aldershot Town and a first quarter-final appearance since 1984 in the process.
Camwell’s sumptuous early strike set the tone for a half dominated by the Bulls, one which Leamington ended without Steph Morley after a head injury forced his departure from the field.
It was a different story after the break as the visitors grew into the game, though Leamington were unable to ever really threaten Brandon Hall’s goal despite placing the hosts under increased pressure.
The Brakes were also rocked in midweek by news that their trip to Kettering Town’s Latimer Park would not be fulfilled on Tuesday night, after a pitch inspection deemed the pitch unplayable in the latest bump in the road in the club’s stop-start season.
Eighth-placed Leamington will instead resume league action on Saturday when taking on Chester, sitting pretty in second, on home soil.
There was at least positive news off the pitch this week after Holleran was named Manager of the Month for January – an accolade which took into account a respectable 1-1 draw with high-fliers Gloucester City, a 2-1 win at Chorley and an efficient 3-0 drubbing of Kettering Town in the FA Trophy.