Liam Ridgewell leaves Portland for short-term Brighton loan move

Liam Ridgewell has left the Portland Timbers in order to return to English football for the second year running by moving to Brighton & Hove Albion on a short-term loan deal.

Ridgewell will be eligible to play for Brighton from January 1 and will spend time with the Championship club until February 13, when he will then return to Portland to prepare for the 2016 season.

Brighton had enjoyed a fine start to the 2015/16 Championship season and were unbeaten for 21 games, until Middlesbrough beat them 3-0 two weeks ago, and Chris Hughton’s men have now not won in five.

Hughton worked with Ridgewell during their time at Birmingham City and he hopes that the signing of the versatile 31-year-old defender can help get his side back on track over the next six weeks.

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“I know Liam very well from my time as manager at Birmingham City, and he is an excellent and important addition for us,” Hughton told the club’s official website.

“He will bring extra experience to our defence at a crucial time, and will give me an option both in the centre of defence and at left-back.”

Ridgewell will hope the loan move will keep his match fitness levels up before returning to Portland as the Timbers look to retain their MLS Cup title – an achievement that Ridgewell labelled as “the best feeling of my career”.

Will Liam Ridgewell help Brighton get back on track? Are Portland fans happy to see him move back to England in another loan move?

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Liam Ridgewell delighted with ‘huge’ win over DC United

The Portland Timbers ended a two-game losing streak with a 1-0 win over DC United at Providence Park on Wednesday night, keeping their fifth clean sheet of the season.

The win moves Portland off the bottom of the Western Conference and on to 16 points for the season and just two points off the playoff spots.

Liam Ridgewell helped the Timbers seal the win on Wednesday but he knows Saturday’s game against the Colorado Rapids is crucial.

“I think we fully deserve the win and it’s nice to get the three points but we have to go and do it again on Saturday and we’ll be looking forward to that.

“The clean sheet is a positive, especially for us at the back and hopefully we can keep a few more and let the center forwards go and score the goals.

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“I think from day one, from first minute we’ve really been aggressive, really on the front foot. We really wanted to show our presence tonight and I think we did that very well, certainly in the first half and gave us a little bit of a leg up.”

Portland travel to Colorado before home games against New England Revolution and Houston Dynamo and Ridgwell is hoping Wednesday’s “huge” win can help them going forward.

“It’s huge. I think a lot of people were talking about when our next win was coming and we stayed positive. Tonight we showed what we’re really about being on the front foot and like I said hopefully we’ll continue that on Saturday.”

How important was Wednesday night’s win for the Portland Timbers?

Liam Ridgewell “dying to get back on the field” after completing loan switch to Wigan

Portland Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell has completed a short-term loan move to English Championship side Wigan Athletic and will train and play with the team for about six weeks.

The 30-year-old moved to MLS with Portland last summer as a Designated Player and made 15 appearances, scoring twice with one assist in his debut campaign as the Timbers narrowly missed out on the playoffs.

He is looking forward to playing in England once again but is fully focused on getting fit in time for the start of the new MLS season in March.

“I have loved my time out in Portland and I can’t wait to get back,” he said after completing the switch to Wigan earlier today.

“But I have had a lot of time off over Christmas and I’m dying to get back on the football field and start training and I’m very glad I’ll be able to do that with Wigan.”

Liam Ridgewell on loan move to Wigan (via Wigan Athletic on YouTube):

The Latics sit second from bottom in the Championship and have only won one of their last ten league games so Ridgewell will hope to help turn things around for the 2013 FA Cup winners.

They have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 league matches so the Timbers centre-back will need to come in and shore up the backline as he did when moving to MLS last summer.

Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager, revealed they had plenty of interest in the English defender but said the move to Wigan suited the Timbers best as he will back in time for the 2015 Simple Invitational on February 22.

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“Liam expressed an interest in staying in the UK on a short-term loan as this offseason is longer than any he has encountered in his professional career,” Wilkinson said.

“He wants to start the 2015 MLS season on the right foot. Several clubs had contacted us in regards to taking him on loan, however with us dictating the terms and timing of this deal it was not viable for all concerned.

“We feel that this deal works well for both the player and the club. Liam will return to Portland in time to prepare for the season with the Timbers and be match fit and sharp.”

Is a short-term loan move to Wigan a good thing for Liam Ridgewell and the Portland Timbers?