Sean McLoughlin joined St Mirren in early August and is due to stay on at the club until January. At this point, the Irish youngster is set to return to his parent club Hull City. With the 22-year-old defender having been ever-present for Jim Goodwin’s side at St Mirren Park this season, the Scottish club may be tempted to try to extend the deal until the end of the campaign, as McLoughlin has helped tighten up a defence which was a liability last term.
McLoughlin had been plying his trade in the Ireland Premier Division with Cork City between 2017 and 2019, until he was scouted by Hull City. The Yorkshire club signed the young defender, but immediately opted to loan him out to St Mirren so he could get some game time. McLoughlin was delighted with this, after having watched Scottish football as a youngster. Hull manager Grant McCann realised that he had enough defensive support in his strongest XI to allow McLoughlin some time to develop away from the club.
The Tigers have had a decent start to the Championship campaign, and took 22 points from the first fifteen games. This start put them at odds of 16/1 in the Championship betting to achieve promotion in the 2019-20 campaign. One of the weaknesses of the team has been the defence, though, and the KCOM Stadium club shipped twenty goals in their first fifteen matches. With McLoughlin making an impression at St Mirren, there is a chance that he could walk straight into the starting line-up when he returns to his parent club in January.
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St Mirren sat at the dead bottom of the Scottish Premiership after eleven games of the season played, but this league position was not a result of poor defending. In fact, the Buddies only conceded 11 times in that opening run, equalling an average of a goal a game. This meant they had the third-tightest defence in the league behind Celtic and Rangers who had each conceded seven goals in the same timeframe. After finishing the 2018-19 campaign with a goal difference of -32 having conceded 66 goals, it was clear that St Mirren needed to make changes at the back. McLoughlin has been a great addition in that regard.
The main problem for St Mirren so far has been the lack of firepower in front of goal. If they could be more lethal with their chances while keeping tight in defence at the same time, they would have a strong chance of improving on last season’s 11th-place finish.
The impact that McLoughlin has had at St Mirren has been astounding, and the club will be wishing that they had managed to secure a longer loan deal for the player in the summer. There is a chance that they will be given the option to extend the defender’s time at the club, but his performances may have persuaded Hull that he is ready to break into their starting XI.