Last season's forgotten Portsmouth loanee offered new Sheffield United contract - despite more than four years without Blades appearance

He’s the Pompey loan player from last season that few will recall – now his Championship club have offered fresh terms despite more than four years without an appearance for them.

Sunday, 12th June 2022, 11:30 am
Updated Sunday, 12th June 2022, 11:39 am

Jake Eastwood’s time at Fratton Park was fleeting, effectively just 24 hours, as he answered Danny Cowley’s SOS in September.

With Gavin Bazunu on international duty and Alex Bass sidelined by Covid, Pompey were given special dispensation to recruit a keeper.

That was Sheffield United’s Eastwood, who didn’t even have the opportunity to train with his new team-mates ahead of the trip to AFC Wimbledon in the Papa John’s Trophy.

Cowley already had five loanees on their books, consisting of Bazunu, Gassan Ahadme, George Hirst, Miguel Azeez and Mahlon Romeo.

The addition of the Blades man was classed as an emergency loan and, before the end of the week, he had returned to Bramall Lane.

That was following a 5-3 defeat at the Wombles in which Ellis Harrison registered a hat-trick and still finished on the losing side.

In fairness, few blamed Eastwood for that outcome, yet it was strictly a short-term measure and he departed.

Jake Eastwood was handed a one-game cameo for Pompey last season after arriving on an emergency loan. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

The following Saturday, Bazunu was back in goal against MK Dons, with Alex Bass returning to the bench for a 1-0 Fratton Park defeat.

Eastwood would next join Rochdale on an emergency loan in April, with the League Two club without the services of three goalkeepers.

The 25-year-old appeared in their final two matches of the season, with a defeat and a draw.

Now Sheffield United have moved to secure his future, with Eastwood’s contract having expired at the season’s end.

Since joining the Blades in August 2017, he has been loaned out to Chesterfield, Scunthorpe, Kilmarnock, Grimsby and, of course, Pompey and Rochdale.

However, there have been just three outings for Sheffield United during five seasons on their books.

The most recent was February 2018, when he appeared off the bench at Wolves in the Championship following Simon Moore’s second-half dismissal.

Nonetheless, he clearly remains well-regarded at Bramall Lane, prompting the tabling of a fresh deal by Paul Heckingbottom.

Eastwood isn’t the only goalkeeper to enjoy a brief stay at Pompey in recent times.

Bournemouth’s Ryan Allsop was an emergency loan recruit by Paul Cook for two League Two play-off semi-final matches in May 2016, although won’t be fondly remembered.

While Alex Cisak joined the Blues on a month’s loan in November 2012, producing a stunning man-of-the-match display on his debut in a 1-1 draw at Coventry.

However, he never played for Pompey again due to parent club Oldham invoking a 24-hour recall haing lost their keeper to a three-match ban.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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