His only first team action this season was with Blackpool during a loan period and he made two starts and two further appearances as a substitute. Both starts, one in the league and one in the LDV Vans Trophy, were both against Crewe. He apparently had one outstanding game in the centre of midfield in the LDV but in the league game was less than impressive in an unfamiliar role on the left hand side.
His loan period did coincide with the first two rounds of the FA Cup when Sunderland would not give permission for him to play.
Blackpool said at the time of his departure, "Because he is unable to play in the FA Cup it gives us another 10 days before we can actually play him and that’s no good. He might as well be back at Sunderland, we’ve been paying a portion of his wages so it doesn’t make great sense to keep him on.
"He is getting frustrated as there are no games to play in. If he had been eligible to play this weekend he would probably have started, but that’s sod’s law and we will monitor the situation."
Thornton was a controversial signing for Sunderland from Tranmere in the summer and the Wirrall club complained when Thornton went to Wearside and trained with Sunderland when still their player.
At the time Tranmere were hoping he would sign a new contract with them but after all the controversy there was no chance of him staying and he signed for the Mackems.
It was only last season that he made his debut for Tranmere, coming on as a sub for Nick Henry in a 2-2 home draw against Oldham in September. By the time he left Tranmere he had made just 11 league appearances (9 starts and 2 sub) and 2 further substitute appearances in cup competitions.
There has been just one goal in those games, he scored Tranmere’s first as they came from a goal behind to win 2-1 at the JJB against Wigan, but he certainly attracted the attention of the referees and collected 6 yellow cards.
Having been signed by Peter Reid he was unable to break into the first team squad and despite the massive injury list at the Stadium of Light (yes it is bigger than ours) he has not been able to win a place in Howard Wilkinson’s team either.
He now looks set to become a Claret for a month at least and will be looking to win a place in the centre of our midfield.