Burton Albion manager Nigel Clough has taken a swipe at Saints over the handling of Jake Hesketh.

Hesketh had spent the first half of the season on loan with the League One side before returning to his parent club at the beginning of January.

The 22-year-old then joined MK Dons on loan for the rest of the season, which is a move Clough has questioned.

Albion's manager said: "We said all along that we'd like to keep Jake Hesketh on the same deal.

"Southampton wanted something different and wanted a bit of money for him, and unfortunately for Jake, he has ended up stepping down to League Two.

"I'd have thought that, having had such a good first half of the season in League One, Southampton would've wanted him to at least stay at this level.

"We just thought the benefit that Southampton and Jake were getting from him being with us wasn't worth a little bit of finances that Southampton were asking for.

Daily Echo: Jake Hesketh in action for SaintsJake Hesketh in action for Saints

"When you think they get £150m in the Premier League, a few quid for a young player isn't going to make too much difference for them.

"Jake has done brilliantly, we move onto the next one. It just means that Marcus Harness has now flourished, he's come in to the fray, and we've got Will Miller, we've Joe Sbarra, all those.

"So it'll be our young players instead of somebody else's."

Hesketh played a key role in getting Burton to the League Cup semi-final, scoring against Nottingham Forest, before netting the winner in the quarter-final when they beat Middlesbrough.

He was unable to play in the 10-0 defeat to Manchester City, as he had already returned to Saints by that point.

The loanee played 23 times in total for Burton, with his best moment coming against Pompey in a League One fixture.

Hesketh weaved his way into the box and proceeded to lash the ball into the roof of the net to temporarily put Albion ahead.

And although he is no longer at Burton, Clough revealed he will still monitor the midfielder's progress.

He added: "Of course, we'll see how he does at MK Dons and then we'll see the situation.

"He's under contract for at least another year, I think, so it'll be dependent on what they do.

"It was brilliant for them in the first place, letting him out to us, and we'd have loved to have kept him on those same terms."