Sigurdsson inspiration for Accrington Stanley loanee Sheppard
ACCRINGTON Stanley loan signing Karl Sheppard hopes to follow Gylfi Sigurdsson’s path from League Two to the Premier League as he looks to makes an impression at the Crown Ground.
Stanley boss Paul Cook yesterday finalised a six-month loan deal with Reading for the 22-year-old Irish striker, who earned his move to the Royals after impressing with Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League group stage last term.
Sheppard, who knew about former Sligo manager Cook’s credentials from his time in the League of Ireland, scored on his debut for the Reds against Coventry on Saturday.
And he wants to do enough during his loan spell to show Reading that he is ready to challenge for a place in their first team following their promotion to the Premier League.
The former Everton youth team player has been encouraged by words from Royals boss Brian McDermott, who cited Sigurdsson and Simon Church as examples of players loaned out by Reading who have gone on to success.
Church is now a Royals regular after loan spells with Crewe, Yeovil, Wycombe and Leyton Orient.
Icelandic midfielder Sigurdsson also went out on loan to Shrewsbury and Crewe during his time with Reading and has since gone on to star with Hoffenheim and Swansea before joining Tottenham in an £8m deal this summer, with Liverpool also interested.
Sheppard said: “Brian McDermott said to me that players like Gylfi Sigurdsson had to go out on loan to League Two teams and Simon Church went on loan to League One teams, and one went to Spurs and one is playing in Reading’s first team.
“So he was saying to go out, try to impress and see if I can go back to Reading and break in there.
“I’ve got six months to impress.
“Paul Cook is a very good manager and I knew what he was all about. Coming to work with him was the main attraction.”
Last season Sheppard helped Shamrock to become the first Irish team to reach the group stages of a European competition after a shock win over Partizan Belgrade.
They had little success as the major underdogs in a tough group but Sheppard scored in a 2-1 defeat in Greece against PAOK Salonika.
“We played Rubin Kazan, Spurs and PAOK,” Sheppard said.
“We didn’t do the best in the group but personally I thought I did well so I was happy with how it went. It was a really good experience. I probably learned more in that than I did in a lot of time on the pitch back in Ireland.”