Date: 6th May 2009 at 4:47pm
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Rhys Williams 93-day emergency loan period expired on Monday and the defender has now returned to Middlesbrough.The 20-year-old Wales U-21 international arrived on an emergency loan from Boro at the end of January and played 17 games for the Clarets. However he will now miss the Clarets play-off two-leg semi-final against Reading despite the best efforts of Owen Coyle to appeal to the Football League in an attempt to extend the loan.

This is bad news for the Clarets and Owen Coyle. The gaffer had already tried one attempt with the Football League to overturn the emergency loan ruling before we knew for sure we would make the play offs.

After qualifying for the play-offs last Sunday, Owen Coyle indicated he would try a further appeal but this also appears to have failed.

Boro gaffer,Gareth Southgate said:

‘Rhys has had a very successful time at Burnley and it is unfortunate that Burnley are unable to extend the loan at this stage. However, we are delighted to have Rhys back in the squad for our final three matches of the season.’

You know sometimes these petty,pathetic rules are just crazy and it is about time common sense prevailed in these situations.

Here we have a situation where both clubs would have agreed to extending the loan but the jobsworth at the Football League are being totally inflexible.

Thanks a bunch. At least we do have some cover in this area but we will now have to change a settled side for our most important matches of the decade.

Michael Duff will be waiting in the wings and must be favourite to take over the right back role although if Carlisle fails to recover from the leg injury he picked up against Bristol City on Sunday, Duff might be more suited to the central role with Alexander reverting to right back.

Oh well,good luck for the future Rhys and many thanks for entertaining the Clarets fans during your time at Turf Moor.

Vital Burnley thanks Burnley FC for the use of the photograph