Former Oxford United loanee James Beadle has signed for Championship side Sheffield Wednesday on a loan deal until the end of the season.
Beadle, who’s parent club is Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion, spent the first half of the season on loan with Oxford and was ever present in net both under former-manager Liam Manning as well as Des Buckingham.
During that said loan spell, the youngster would appear 25 times in League One for the promotion-hopefuls, keeping seven clean sheets in the process. Oxford have surpassed all pre-season expectations and a large part of that was down to Beadle’s performances in goal.
Des Buckingham’s Side currently sit in fifth in the League One table, five points off of the automatics with a further three point buffer to seventh. Having seen a blip in form after former-manager Manning left for Bristol City, the ship seems to have been somewhat steadied in recent weeks.
However the U’s have been dealt another setback in their promotion ambitions, with the news emerging today via club media that Beadle had been recalled by Brighton to then make the step-up to the Championship to join Sheffield Wednesday.
It is an obvious step-up for the England under-20 goalkeeper, but it is one in which he is expected to take in his stride. The move will be made easier through the fact that Beadle already knows the Owls’ goalkeeper coach, Sal Bibbo, who he had previously worked under at Brighton.
Beadle was absent from the Oxford squad on Saturday against Coventry in the FA Cup which potentially foreshadowed the move to Sheffield Wednesday. Simon Eastwood would replace the youngster that day, though would let in six in a day to forget for Buckingham’s side.
It is unknown whether the position will be addressed in the remaining January transfer window, but the loss of Beadle comes as a significant blow to the U’s promotion chances, no matter who they bring in.
Things have just got a whole lot tougher for Oxford with the news of Beadle joining Sheffield Wednesday. At just 19 years of age, he no doubt has one of the highest ceilings in English football. The loss of the youngster would’ve been in many Oxford fans’ minds after being left out of the match-day squad on Saturday, with a rumoured Championship move now materialising.
It seems as if it could be damage limitation in the coming weeks for manager Des Buckingham, who also has a long injury list to deal with. The second half of the season will certainly now be harder for the U’s and they may struggle to hold onto a play-off spot as a result.