League One was the focus of loan attention this week, as Conor Clifford extended his stay at Plymouth Argyle for another month, whilst Adam Phillip took his first steps in professional football.
Phillip’s path to professional football hasn’t exactly been a typical one, having been discovered relatively late as a 15 year-old playing Sunday park football. But after two serious knee injuries in three years, he this week joined Yeovil Town on a month’s loan.
Huish Park has been a venue where former Chelsea players have played both temporarily and permanently, and they are managed by ex-Blue Terry Skiverton. He gave Adam his first three minutes of senior action away to Charlton in a 3-2 defeat on Saturday, and they certainly won’t be the last of his month-long stay.
Clifford, meanwhile, will remain in the division until December 20th after all parties involved decided that he would be best served in staying at Home Park to continue his footballing education.
His sixth appearance of the season came at home to Brentford, where he was cited as one of the few Argyle players to impress in a below-par 1-2 defeat for the lowly Pilgrims. The comments below are selected from the PASOTI forums:
“(Man of the Match was) Clifford because he tried.”
“I voted for clifford as he was the only player trying (attack and defence)”
“It’s a very sad comment, but (Clifford) is the only one that shows he cares.”
Elsewhere, it was a quieter week than many others recently, with internationals ensuring that there was only one round of duty for Chelsea’s young loanees.
Michael Mancienne’s Wolves continue to struggle, as they fell to a 2-1 defeat away to Blackpool. He had a solid game and featured for ninety minutes for only the fourth time in the league this season, but he may be forced into it more often.
Captain Karl Henry has been confirmed as sidelined for two months, which opens up a spot in Mick McCarthy’s midfield, one which Michael should be doing his all to secure.
In The Championship, Ryan Bertrand was particularly impressive in a fantastic team effort from Nottingham Forest, who won 2-0 at Cardiff City and shut out the league’s most potent attack in the process.
Ryan returns from the City Ground at the turn of the year and performances such as this one will leave Stamford Bridge brass enthusiastic about his progress.
Jack Cork, meanwhile, played 68 minutes in Burnley’s 1-0 defeat at Coventry, and was his usual busy, hard-working self until he made way for Ross Wallace.
In League Two, Rhys Taylor was the subject of midweek talk from Dario Gradi, who said he was uncertain as to how long the Welsh Under-21 stopper was to remain at Gresty Road.
The current plan is for him to remain there throughout the season but an agreement reigns between Gradi and Steve Holland to allow Rhys to step up the divisions if a suitable team comes in for him.
For now, he is still with the Alex, and despite their 1-0 home loss to Rotherham, he was in fine form and saved a late penalty from prolific striker Adam Le Fondre with an agile palm onto the woodwork.
Confusion resulting in Adam Dugdale’s early own goal merely gave ammunition to fans who believe that the club should be playing Steve Phillips in goal, but this point of view seems to be largely based on the fact that the club owns Phillips, whilst playing Taylor only benefits Chelsea.
Nonetheless, Crewe entered into the deal to help everyone involved, and Rhys is firmly the starter for now.
Viewers of ESPN in England had the opportunity to spend their Saturday lunchtime watching Ben Gordon’s Kilmarnock take on SPL leaders Rangers at Rugby Park, and those who did so will have been impressed with the Yorkshire-born left-back.
He was involved in defence and attack, and created an early chance for Conor Sammon. That was spurned, but the forward scored twice to give the hosts a lead which they then threw away.
Two penalties and a red card gave Kenny Miller a hat-trick and all three points for Rangers, leaving Gordon and company in seventh place.
In Holland, Nemanja Matic is at the centre of some unwanted bad publicity for Vitesse after a troublesome week for the young Serbian midfielder.
Having struggled with a toe injury in the lead-up to Saturday’s 2-0 win over Heracles, he participated in full training on Friday but was left out for the first time this season as Ghanaian international Laryea Kingston made his debut for the club.
Kingston went off injured in the second half and Matic played a little more than half an hour, but clearly unhappy at Albert Ferrer’s decision to leave him out, refused to take part in the post-match applause of the home supporters and walked straight past his manager.
In reaction, ‘Chapi’ had this to say:
“I have nothing to say. I just want to work as a team. If someone does not want to play as a team, that’s his problem. The fans gave us great support today. I find it normal that we have to thank the fans. He did not. We’ll see what happens.”
Technical Director Ted van Leeuwen has stated that no disciplinary measures will be taken against Matic, but he may have lost his place in Ferrer’s immediate plans.
Slobodan Rajkovic, meanwhile, was able to feature after an injury concern of his own and once again donned the captain’s armband in keeping a clean sheet. Eloy Room was once more in goal as Matej Delac kicks his heels on the sidelines.
Good news for Tomáš Kalas to finish off with, as he made his first senior start of the season and completed Sigma Olomouc’s 3-1 home win over Příbram on Sunday.
He partnered 19 year-old centre-back Ondřej Murin, a player he has played with at junior level, and helped create the third goal for his team-mate late in the first half with a header back across goal which was finished well.
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