Fourth-choice goalkeeper Nathan Baxter has joined Accrington Stanley on loan for the season, as announced by both clubs today.
Baxter had made the bench for Chelsea last month in our Carabao Cup third round match against Barnsley (Willy Caballero started), but was pushed down to fourth-choice with the arrival of Édouard Mendy. As Baxter confirmed, that situation was part of the reason his loan only went through now (i.e. Chelsea waiting to sign a new goalkeeper).
“It’s taken a while to do because of the circumstances at Chelsea but I’ve got to thank the manager for holding on for me and waiting, it’s a club that ticks all the boxes for me and I’m delighted to be here.”
-Nathan Baxter; source: Accrington Stanley FC
The 21-year-old is the third Chelsea player now on loan at Stanley, joining midfielder Jon Russell and forward Tariq Uwakwe, both of whom have already made their debuts for the League One side, and the latter has even scored his first goal for them.
It sounds like Baxter will be expected to be the starter, and has even copped the No.1 shirt at the club, where he will be coached by former Millwall and Fulham goalkeeper Tony Warner.
“It’s been going all summer and we’ve resisted the temptation to take others because we thought that this one could drop and it has, so we’re delighted to get him.
“It’s now a big test for him, he’s had a couple of loan spells in the past but this is probably going to be the highest level he’s played at in England.
“I know they’ve got high hopes for him at Chelsea but having seen him play I’ve got high hopes for him, and everyone I’ve spoke to who’s managed him has come back with glowing reports.”
-John Coleman, manager; source: source: Accrington Stanley FC
Baxter had made a name for himself by going on loan early and often in his still very young career, and getting creative and smart with the process by dropping down many divisions to non-league sides. More recently, he spent time in the Scottish Premier League with Ross County, though he also had to deal with a shoulder injury, which limited him to just 14 games. All-in-all, he’s got 136 professional appearances under his belt, and he won’t turn 22 until next month. (Just for comparison’s sake, the 28-year-old Mendy, who’s the exact opposite with a late start to his career, has 157.)
In any case, good luck to Nathan and all the other Chelsea loanees at Accrington Stanley this season!