The Loan Report: April 1-3

This issue of The Loan Report takes a quick look at the weekend action amongst Chelsea’s young loanees, as clubs returned to domestic action after a fortnight of international jaunts.

It was a case of maintaining the status quo in the Premier League, with Daniel Sturridge impressing whilst Gael Kakuta and Michael Mancienne saw no playing time.

Sturridge had an excellent first half against Birmingham City for Bolton Wanderers, and on another day would surely have had one goal, if not a hat-trick. Instead he saw a number of attempts saved brilliantly by Man of the Match Ben Foster, and was unable to add to his four goals for the Trotters.

Mancienne, meanwhile, returned to the subs bench for Wolves’ defeat at Newcastle, after four full months on the sidelines. He returned to the playing field for the club’s reserve team last week, and should be in contention to feature during their relegation-battle run-in.

Kakuta remained an unused substitute on Sunday for Fulham at home to Blackpool and is yet to start in his spell at Craven Cottage.

In The Championship, Jeffrey Bruma’s name was in Sunday’s headlines but for all the wrong reasons as the Dutch defender received his first career red card in Leicester’s 3-3 draw at Middlesbrough.

Having already been cautioned, a penalty was awarded against him for handball. However, it was a staggeringly harsh decision as the shot was fiercely struck and hit him on the upper arm without giving him time to move out of the way.

The spot kick was missed, but in reaction to it, Bruma voiced his discontent towards the referee, and was shown a second yellow card for the dissent.

It was a disappointing turn to a decent performance from the youngster, who had picked up an assist with a looping header following a corner in the first half. Patrick van Aanholt also returned from injury to complete 90 minutes at left-back for Sven-Goran Eriksson’s team.

Elsewhere in the division, things go from bad to worse for Burnley as they tumbled to another defeat, striking another blow to their playoff chase. Jack Cork missed the home reverse to Ipswich as a precaution after complaining with chest pains during England’s Under-21 match with Iceland last Monday, but he should be back in action before too long.

Ben Gordon played on the left wing for Scunthorpe in Alan Knill’s managerial debut for the Iron away to Norwich, but it was a game to forget as hat-tricks from Grant Holt and Simeon Jackson ensured an embarrassing 6-0 final score.

After a debut brace for Swansea, Fabio Borini was held off the scoresheet in a defeat at Preston, but was one of the few Swans to come out of the match with credit, putting himself about and looking dangerous with the ball.

Jacob Mellis continued to miss time for Barnsley with his hamstring problem and was absent for their trip to Crystal Palace.

In League One, Conor Clifford was an unused substitute for the third game running as Notts County fell to another defeat, and failed to find the back of the net for the fifth successive game.

After a promising start at Meadow Lane, things have gone slightly wrong for the Irishman of late as manager Paul Ince continued to display little by way of tactical nous and ability. Many County fans are clamouring for Clifford to start, but when he has been used, Ince took to using him on the right side of midfield.

However, Ince was relieved of his duties on Sunday, and as such the immediate future for Conor will be slightly different.

It was a good weekend for the two Chelsea goalkeepers in League Two, with an emphatic 8-1 win for Crewe over Cheltenham for Rhys Taylor, and a strong 4-1 win at Burton for Barnet and Sam Walker.

Taylor lost what would have been his third clean sheet in a row for club and country as his defenders gave him little protection against Wes Thomas’ close range header, but had an otherwise quiet afternoon as Alex ran riot at the other end.

Walker was beaten early by a low Sam Winnall shot but responded well to rearguard a fine team performance, with four Steve Kabba goals giving Martin Allen’s side some faint hope of avoiding relegation.

As a side note, Winnall has now scored against three Blues stoppers this season, having scored past Taylor a few weeks ago, whilst grabbing a hat-trick in a reserve fixture for Wolves back in November when Jamal Blackman donned the gloves.

It was a quiet weekend in Holland as Slobodan Rajkovic missed Vitesse’s win over NEC with a back injury, and Matej Delac duly kept the goalkeeper’s seat warm on the bench.

Jhon Pirez was back on Defensor’s bench in Uruguay after a recent absence, but was unused in a 1-1 draw with Danubio. Defensor sit second in the league after eight games of the 2011 Clausura Championship.

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