Sanderson makes Birmingham return

Dion Sanderson has returned to Championship side Birmingham City on a season-long loan ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

Born in Wolverhampton, the defender has risen through the club’s ranks since the age of eight, and in recent years has stepped up his development through a series of loan spells away from Molineux.

Having impressed at Cardiff City and Sunderland in the past, Sanderson flourished at St Andrews during the first part of last season, helping the Blues to seven clean sheets in 16 appearances.

After returning to bolster Bruno Lage’s options at Wolves in the winter, the 22-year-old finished the campaign at QPR, helping the Rangers to a top half finish in the second tier.

Over the past week, the youngster has been back training under Lage at Compton Park but has now agreed a full season on loan at Birmingham, in a bid to progress his game further.

Matt Jackson, strategic player marketing manager, said: “This move is going to give Dion more exposure to a league he’s comfortable in and it’s so important young players gain good experience now. Once they can get themselves to 100 games at a certain level, they can be considered experienced, and that’s what we’re trying to do with Dion.

“He knows Birmingham well, obviously there’s new coaching staff there now, but he knows John [Eustace] from QPR, and I have a relationship with John going back to my time at Watford, so I know him and the culture he likes at his football clubs. It completes the links, but ultimately, it’s really good for Dion’s development.”

Sanderson is the second Wolves man to head to the Championship, following Ryan Giles’ move to Middlesbrough recently, and Jackson has challenged both to make a real mark at that level.

“Last season was good for Dion because he cemented himself as a Championship player. Like we said about ‘Gilo’, go and have big impacts at these clubs now. You’re not taking a chance on the environment because you know you’re comfortable, so now it’s a question of imposing yourself. We want them to have the challenge of becoming Wolves players over time, but ultimately the profiles they can build are excellent.

“We like the fact he’ll be local to us, and we’ll be in touch, but it’s about the football environment, and it was something he was excited by. He immediately jumped at the opportunity, and we were happy to facilitate. He’s a great professional, he works really hard, and is a good character for any dressing room, so I can see why Birmingham were keen to have him back there.”