Sunderland players Wahbi Khazri and Papy Djilobodji enjoyed good starts to their loan spells away from the Stadium of Light this past weekend.
Both men were deadline day departures on season-long deals to sides in France. Khazri joined mid-table Stade Rennes while Djilobodji looks set for another relegation battle with Dijon FCO, who are struggling in the bottom three of Ligue 1.
It’s Khazri who has attracted all the headlines for his second minute cool-as-you-like strike as Rennes beat Olympique Marseille by three goals to one last night.
The Tunisian international got sixty minutes under his belt and slotted in a back-heeled effort after being allowed time and space by former Manchester United left back Patrice Evra.
Khazri then proceeded to toy with his Tunisian international teammate, centre back Aymen Abdennour, who is on loan at Marseille from Valencia. After the game, the playmaker - who featured 38 times for Sunderland - expressed his delight at the instant impact he had on the game:
It was a perfect return for me, I wanted to have fun, I'm happy with the result and I'm not surprised because we know our qualities.
Meanwhile, Papy Djilobodji’s Dijon side were beaten by Caen by two-goals-to-one to continue their poor start to the season.
Caen have now collected just four points from their opening five games to find themselves sitting in second bottom place in Ligue 1.
The Mustards only avoided relegation to Ligue 2 by a point last term and look set for another battle to beat the drop, but Djilobodji appears to have impressed on his first outing since departing Wearside.
The 28-year-old lined up at the heart of the Dijon defence alongside fellow new boy Cédric Yambéré, who used to play at Bordeaux with Wahbi Khazri.
Djilobodji’s side were under pressure throughout and the Sunderland man could do little about the goals his side conceded, but according to Bein France his debut was decent enough:
A first very honourable performance for the potential new boss of the Dijon defence. He immediately convinced the coach and fans of the Burgundian club with his power and his qualities of anticipation. He was imperial in the air and very applied. Very good match of the former Nantais who has not played in Ligue 1 since May 23, 2015 with FC Nantes.
Back home in England, Sunderland youngster Michael Ledger appears to be contributing to Hartlepool’s revival in the Conference.
‘Pools have now won three games in a row since the 20-year-old moved to Victoria Park on loan at the end of last month.
Ledger, who had a stint in Norway last season, had a tough afternoon’s work at the hands of Dagenham & Redbridge striker Morgan Ferrier, but held his own.
Saturday’s game was Ledger’s second appearance for Hartlepool, having made his debut with a decent showing against Maidstone the week before.
Craig Harrison’s side endured a torrid start to life as a non-league outfit following last season’s relegation, picking up just five points from their opening nine games but appear to have found their feet with wins over Guiseley, Maidstone United and Dagenham and Redbridge in recent weeks.