Scunthorpe United manager admits they had to sell Ryan Loft to Bristol Rovers to protect future of club
Loft was unveiled as the Gas’ first signing of the January window after being signed for an undisclosed fee.
The 24-year-old was the Irons’ joint-top scorer with four goals this season and questions will have been asked of why they allowed him to join a league rival.
Loft though was out of contract at the end of the season and for a player which joined the club on a free transfer, the Lincolnshire club have at least recouped a fee for the player.
"It was a necessity of the football club that Ryan Loft left,” said Hill to the official club website.
“He’s out of contract at the end of the season.
“In an ideal world he stays at the club but it’s not ideal, we’re under an embargo and financially the position we’re in meant it made good business sense to help protect the future of the football club.”
Hill’s comments may imply that Scunthorpe were happy with the price that Rovers paid for the player and that they were happy to part ways for him to protect their financial future, despite the risk of relegation on the pitch.
A fee of £50,000 was branded by Football League World when they reported Colchester United’s interest in Loft but Both Rovers and Scunthorpe did not disclose the price in their announcements.
It’s a fee that wouldn’t even enter the top ten of Rovers’ most expensive arrivals. The club record fee still remains at £375,000 for the services of Andy Tillson from Queens Park Rangers back in 1992.
There was also interest from League Two’s surprise package Sutton United who currently occupy an automatic promotion spot right now but no bidding war took place and instead Scunthorpe took the deal which suited them best.
Keith Hill has since moved quickly to recruit a replacement for Loft, as on the same day of his departure, they announced the signing of Sam Burns on loan from Blackburn Rovers until the end of the season.
Burns was part of the Championship side’s Under-23’s setup and was prolific in the Premier League 2 scoring 11 goals, before a loan spell at FC United of Manchester.
Ironically, Loft won’t have to wait long to make his return against his former club after last month’s game with Scunthorpe was rearranged for Tuesday, 25th January.
The original match had to be postponed due to positive COVID-19 cases and injuries in the squad which meant that the game had to be postponed.
It was the first of four games which would be called off after cases in the squad increased, affecting games against Sutton, Crawley and the New Year’s Day trip to Leyton Orient.