The Loan Report: February 21-27

Daniel Sturridge continues to make the headlines in the latest instalment of The Loan Report as he scored his fourth goal in as many games on loan at Bolton.

Elsewhere, Jack Cork also found the scoresheet in another busy week of action for Chelsea’s youngsters.

We’ll start with Sturridge, who has hit the ground running under Owen Coyle, and having earned a starting berth with his impressive finishing, he has now set about keeping it with a series of impressive performances.

He kept up his goal-a-game pace at St James’ Park on Saturday to earn a point away to Newcastle, and displayed his natural ability to find the back of the net.

Collecting a ball from Johan Elmander on the edge of the box, the England Under-21 striker shifted the ball to his stronger left foot before hitting an early shot along the ground, beating Steve Harper low to his left.

You can view the strike here.

Speaking after the game, Coyle was effusive in his praise for the youngster on loan from Chelsea:

“He can finish left foot, right foot, he can score headed goals and he has got pace to burn.

There’s no doubt he is a natural goalscorer, but he is more than that, he is a natural footballer.

Jack Wilshere has taken his game to another level now, and I have got no doubts Daniel can – that’s why I brought him to the football club, because I believed he was that special.

I love football, I want to come and be entertained and when he gets the ball, everybody in the stadium thinks something exciting might happen.”

It was the highlight of an otherwise barren seven days in the English top flight, with Michael Mancienne approaching three full months out with a knee injury, whilst Gael Kakuta was an unused substitute for Fulham, who earned an impressive point away to Manchester City.

In The Championship, however, Jack Cork became an even bigger fan favourite at Burnley after some late goalscoring antics on Saturday afternoon.

The week had started poorly for the Clarets, who exited the FA Cup in a humbling 5-1 reverse at West Ham on Monday night, a match in which Cork featured for the duration.

Eddie Howe’s boys bounced back though, and chose a fine time to do so. A 2-1 win away to fierce rivals Preston ensured they remain firmly in the hunt for a playoff berth, and Cork’s header six minutes from time secured the three points.

He began a move which involved Chris Eagles and Wade Elliott, and when the latter delivered a cross from the right, it was Cork who met the ball at the far post with a textbook diving header to send his fans into raptures.

He told Burnley’s official website of his feelings and reactions to the goal after the match. You can read his comments here.

There was a double header of league action for Chelsea’s four other representatives in England’s second tier, but it was a mixed time for each of them.

At Leicester, Jeffrey Bruma was afforded his first start under Sven-Goran Eriksson away to Cardiff on Tuesday, but he was deployed in an unusual midfield role, whilst Patrick van Aanholt continued at left back.

The Foxes lost 2-0, and followed it up with a disappointing home draw against Coventry City. Bruma had moved into defence to partner Sol Bamba and put in a good performance (after a fairly good one at Cardiff), but van Aanholt disappointed in the second of the two matches, with supporter opinion claiming that he generally had his poorest outing since joining on loan.

Ben Gordon’s week was one filled with goals – seven to be exact – but Scunthorpe were unable to follow up Tuesday’s impressive come-from-behind win against Sheffield United with a victory at Bristol City, losing 2-0.

He played every minute of the two matches and in between found time to give his thoughts about the club’s form to Scunthorpe’s official website. Read those comments here.

Jacob Mellis played 89 minutes of Barnsley’s 3-3 draw at Leeds in midweek, turning in a good performance and winning a free kick from which Kieran Trippier scored. His slightly premature exit was due to a hamstring strain which forced him to miss Saturday’s home defeat at the hands of Norwich City.

On Friday, Conor Clifford made an appearance in front of Sky’s television cameras as a late sub for Notts County, who beat Charlton 1-0 at Meadow Lane.

Despite having played well in his first start against Colchester, the Irishman was on the bench, and played a tidy last ten minutes to help seal an important home win.

In League Two, Rhys Taylor and Crewe suffered back to back defeats as their slide down the table continues. A 3-2 loss at Accrington was followed by a 3-1 beating by Bury as Dario Gradi’s leaky defence continues to cause the team’s downfall.

It doesn’t get much better moving onto Holland either, as Albert Ferrer’s Vitesse capitulated in spectacular fashion, losing 6-1 to Heracles on Saturday night.

Captain Slobodan Rajkovic was at the centre of the defence which fell apart, being at fault for at least one goal, whilst Matej Delac sat on the bench and watched Eloy Room – who has started every league match so far – ship half a dozen goals.

Our final destination is, as usual, Uruguay, where Jhon Pirez’ celebrated his 18th birthday last Sunday. He was unable to get off the bench as Defensor lost 2-1 to Cerro, and sat there once again yesterday in a late win away to Wanderers. He remains, however, a part of the first team squad.

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