Forest cut Sharp deal

Newly-promoted Saints allow striker to return to Championship

Billy Sharp: Southampton striker returns north with Nottingham Forest loan move

Southampton striker Billy Sharp has joined Championship side Nottingham Forest on loan until the end of the season.

Sharp, 26, only moved to the South Coast club from Doncaster Rovers in January, but has been allowed to return north with first-team opportunities likely to be limited in the Premier League.

Saints boss Nigel Adkins signed Zambian forward Emmanuel Mayuka earlier this week and has been boosted by the return to fitness of Japan striker Tadanari Lee.

The Forest switch sees Sharp reunited with ex-Doncaster boss Sean O'Driscoll, who replaced Steve Cotterill at the City Ground last month.

Chance

Speaking on his Twitter account, the Sheffield-born player said: "I'm really sorry Saints fans, I'm off to Forest for the season. You've been amazing to me, love you all.

"Massive thanks and gutted to be leaving, but at the same time I'm wanted by a massive club in Forest. So I'm buzzing for that chance, can't wait to get going.

"Looking forward to the challenge and and working with Sean again. Promotion two years on [the] spin?"

Sharp, who was signed for £2m, scored nine goals in 12 games to help Southampton return to the top-flight after a seven-year absence.

Meanwhile, Adkins has given United States under-20 goalkeeper Cody Cropper, 19, a two-year professional contract following a successful trial.