So the other morning before I went to work, I put Sky Sports News on like I do every morning. Among the usual dross, something stood out to me. Oscar Threlkeld, the Bolton Wanderers player on loan at Plymouth Argyle, was nominated for the February League 2 Player of the month.
I have to admit, I had completely forgot about Oscar Threlkeld.
Bolton born Oscar Threlkeld made his Bolton debut nearly two years ago in a 3-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday, playing at right back. Another Wanderers youngster, Andy Kellett, had also broken into the first team at the same time as Threlkeld. After impressing in that game and the following game against Birmingham City, you would have thought Threlkeld was there to stay in the first team. Well, seeing as Dougie Freedman was still the manager, that obviously didn't happen.
Kevin McNaughton was signed to be the first choice right back for the 2014/2015 season. Threlkeld did make a couple of appearances in the League Cup under Freedman against Bury and Crewe, before disappearing again to the U21 team. Then, Neil Lennon arrived, and Threlkeld was given a chance in the first team. Oscar started at right back at Norwich City as Bolton lost 2-1. Threlkeld didn't have the best of games, and because of that, Josh Vela started at right back in the next game against Cardiff City. Bolton won 3-0 and Vela became the first choice right back.
Threlkeld then went back to the U21s, and began to play regularly as a defensive midfielder.
This is the position that the youngster has occupied this season during his loan at League 2 side Plymouth Argyle, and it's fair to say he's highly rated in the South West.
Like Andy Kellett last season, Threlkeld has impressed during his spell with the Green Army. 'Ozzie' as the Plymouth fans affectionately now call him, plays in the 'Hierro/Ivan Campo' role at Plymouth, just in front of the back four.
Due to impressive performances for Plymouth, Ozzie was nominated for the League 2 Player of the Month for February. When his nomination was announced, the Football League stated:
''Acting as a shield in front of the back four, the Bolton Wanderers loanee was outstanding in February, particularly in the 0-0 draw at West Country rivals Yeovil Town. Threlkeld was energetic, mobile and consistent as Plymouth conceded only one goal all month. ''
Oscar Threlkeld is also receiving high praise from the Plymouth fans:
And also praise from unlikely places:
Threlkeld may well be impressing at Plymouth, but can he break back into Wanderers' first team when his loan spell runs out later this month and he returns to Lancashire?
He's certainly got competition. I mean, Bolton started FOUR centre midfielders against Ipswich Town last Tuesday night. Jay Spearing has impressed recently, but his contract situation puts his position up into the air, Josh Vela is certainly hoping for a chance in midfield, and if Liam Trotter can regain the form he was showing before his injury, it's going to be hard for Threlkeld to gain a place in the starting line-up.
However, youth players have been given a chance in the first team in the last couple of years. Zach Clough, Rob Holding and Josh Vela are all an integral part of Bolton's first team, and if 'Ozzie' comes back and excels, then who knows?