GOALKEEPER Ryan Sandford has joined Dover Athletic on a short-term loan.
Sandford, 23, is a product of Millwall’s academy and a former England under-18 international.
He’s yet to make a senior appearance for the Lions, but has featured regularly for their youth team while also playing out on loan at Dorking Wanderers and Maidstone United in 2019 and 2021 respectively.
With the club signing goalkeeper Connal Trueman on a free transfer, manager Gary Rowett sees this as the perfect opportunity for Sandford to go out on loan.
“The first bit is that Andy Marshall has come in as goalkeeping coach with a fresh set of eyes,” he explained.
“One of the big things he’s felt is that the likes of Ryan Sandford and Joe Wright needed to go out and play games because they need to develop.
“They’ve had a period of time where they’ve not played enough games, so that was part of the remit. We’ve had the opportunity for Sandy to go out to Dover on loan, and on the back of that, we wanted to build another layer to our goalkeepers.”
The Millwall boss went on to explain that he will assess the other young players at the club before the end of the transfer window before deciding whether or not they should stay with the first team or be sent out on loan.
“You look at those players and that’s the best way to develop,” he told NewsAtDen.
“It’s great to keep them in and for us to be selfish by keeping them within the squad because young players tend to be a lot easier to manage than some of the more experienced ones if they’re not playing.
“But that’s not the right thing to do. The right thing to do is to find out what’s the quickest way for them to reach their potential or some more potential.
“Every player is different and does it in a different way, but we have a robust plan to get them there. For us, it’s about having a player at his maximum that’s ready to make our team better.
“If we don’t think they’re ever going to do that, then we have to sell them or let them leave. If we feel that they’ll do that further down the line, then we have to give them a good loan that’s well thought out and gives them the chance to be a little step closer.”
Photo: Dover Athletic