The Loan Report: March 14-20

Fabio Borini this week became the nineteenth Chelsea player to go out on loan this season, and wasted little time in making an impact. We start this week’s loan report with the Italian’s impressive debut.

Borini, who has spent the season with the reserve team due to a contract dispute, linked up with former reserve team boss Brendan Rodgers at promotion-chasing Swansea. He was thrust straight into action on Saturday in a big match against Nottingham Forest, and he didn’t disappoint.

It took him a little more than twenty minutes in his first caeer league start to find the back of the net, turning home from close range after a cross from Angel Rangel. Surrounded by red shirts, he showed composure and patience in waiting for the ball to drop perfectly for him to strike into the back of the net.

Minutes later the Italian forward smashed a shot off the outside of the post as Swansea went searching for more goals, but he would eventually grab a second goal later in the game, one which turned out to be the winner.

Scott Sinclair, who had a mesmerising game and scored a goal of the season contender himself, carved out a shooting opportunity which was parried by Lee Camp. Borini instinctively tapped in with his left foot, displaying his predatory instinct in front of goal.

You can watch both of his strikes here.

He could even have had a hat-trick late on, but having beaten Camp and with the goal gaping, a last-gasp challenge proved enough to force him to drag the shot wide.

Rodgers was quick to praise the young striker at full time, and with eight matches left until the end of the season, the Swans may well have found the forward who can help them to reach the Premier League.

Elsewhere, there was good news this week when Michael Mancienne was cleared to resume full training with Wolverhampton Wanderers. The defender has been sidelined for four months with a problem involving his patella tendon (knee), but has now returned to the Midlands to help his loan colleagues battle relegation.

He was not involved in their 1-0 win at Aston Villa on Saturday, but may feature in a reserve fixture in the near future.

Daniel Sturridge, meanwhile, is now a regular for Owen Coyle’s Bolton and put in a solid outing away to Manchester United. He was unable to help his parent club out with a goal, with only one real opening all match, but his attempt at the spectacular when requiring agility came to nothing.

Gael Kakuta played fifteen minutes as a late substitute for Fulham, but made little impact in a 2-1 reverse at Everton.

In The Championship, Jeffrey Bruma has also returned to fitness and slotted back into Leicester City’s defence for the home match against Portsmouth, but the result was a blow to Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side as they fight for a playoff place.

The Foxes, who are hopeful of having Patrick van Aanholt back in the next seven to ten days, went down 1-0 at the Walkers Stadium, despite having the better of much of the match.

Jack Cork saw double duty once again this past week for Burnley, but things have taken a turn for the worse at Turf Moor. After being turned over on their own patch by Millwall last weekend, they were held by managerless Coventry City on Tuesday and fell to another defeat on Saturday away to Bristol City.

Cork was withdrawn in both matches as Eddie Howe threw on an extra forward, but the Clarets will have to get their act together if they are to take part in the playoffs.

Ben Gordon was absent from Scunthorpe’s midweek defeat to Preston with a hamstring injury, and the match proved to be the last in the tenure of Ian Baraclough.

The former Iron defender was sacked as Scunny’s relegation problems worsened, but caretaker manager Tony Daws recalled the fit-again Gordon to play on the left wing for the weekend trip to Ipswich.

He lasted just short of an hour, by which time the club found themselves 2-0 down, and their chances of avoiding the drop now seem very slim indeed.

Jacob Mellis was absent for Barnsley’s defeat to Reading with a recurrence of his recent hamstring problem.

In League One, Conor Clifford extended his stay at Notts County until the end of the season, but the Magpies suffered back-to-back 1-0 defeats this week.

The first came at Rochdale, where Clifford played 82 minutes, but he was left as an unused substitute at the weekend when Bristol Rovers took all the points at Meadow Lane.

After recording consecutive clean sheets for Crewe, the second of which came on Tuesday night at home to Southend United, Rhys Taylor was involved in the first of Oxford United’s two goals on Saturday as Alex lost at the Kassam Stadium,

The Welsh stopper was unsighted as James Constable shot from outside the box, and was wrong-footed as a result. Manager Dario Gradi, however, failed to apportion blame on Taylor, indicating that the defending was less than stellar and the goalkeeper could do little about the unfortunate result.

In Holland, a Slobodan Rajkovic-captained Vitesse slipped even further into trouble on Friday night as they fell 3-1 away to AZ Alkmaar.

Albert Ferrer’s team – for whom Matej Delac was once again the backup goalkeeper – are marooned fourth from bottom of the Eredivisie and may yet be involved in relegation playouts at the end of the campaign.

In Uruguay, Jhon Pirez missed Defensor’s third consecutive match, but as a fringe squad member that is to be expected from the recently-turned 18 year-old.

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