Over the last few weeks, developments on the loan front have meant that this regular feature has become somewhat shorter than usual.
With loans ending and winter breaks in European leagues, there has typically not been a great deal to report upon, but we return this week with news on the young Blues who are still plying their trade away from home.
Rhys Taylor leads this week’s headliners, although for the wrong reasons. Not that they were particularly his fault, however.
The Crewe Alexandra goalkeeper was at the centre of a dramatic finish to Saturday’s fixture away to Aldershot Town when he was sent off in stoppage time.
A long ball over the top of the defence forced the Welshman to come out of his area to meet the advancing ball, but under pressure he was deemed to have handled it, and was duly dismissed.
The free-kick was scored to compound Alex’s misery but Dario Gradi revealed that the club intend to appeal the decision, and they would seem to have a case.
The veteran manager also took the time to talk to BBC Stoke on an aspect of Taylor’s game which has become more prominent in recent weeks:
“Rhys has got a problem coming out of his goal,” said Gradi. “He’s given a few penalties away and he’s come out of his goal when really we didn’t need him out of his goal.
“But [defender] Patrick Ada hasn’t been dealing with those balls either. The balls that go over his head cause him problems.”
Elsewhere, Jack Cork continues in the Burnley midfield under new manager Eddie Howe, playing 90 minutes in a goalless draw away to Scunthorpe United. The former Bournemouth manager played alongside Cork at Dean Court a few years ago and will be familiar with what he brings to the table.
Ben Gordon was unable to feature for the hosts in the same fixture as he continues to recover from an injury which he picked up at Kilmarnock.
Injuries have curtailed Michael Mancienne’s playing time at Wolves, as it is now approaching two months since he was last able to take to the field. Chelsea declined to take up their option to recall the England Under-21 captain, so he will continue to rehabilitate his knee problem and play the rest of the season at Molineux.
Michael Woods’ loan at Notts County ended with just two appearances, whilst Daniel Philliskirk’s sojourn to Sheffield United is to be a part of their reserve, or ‘developmental’ squad, and with his contract due to expire at the end of the season there is reason to believe he will be moving on from Chelsea.
Whilst Vitesse Arnhem are now back in action in the Dutch Eredivisie, the story remains the same. A 1-0 defeat on Saturday night away to Willem II saw Nemanja Matic and Slobodan Rajkovic play the full ninety minutes in a team which included a couple of winter signings.
Matej Delac, however, was on the bench as usual and the preference for Eloy Room over the young Croatian stopper remains one of the more confusing decisions of the season.
Tomas Kalas continues to train at Chelsea whilst negotiations for his transfer from Sigma Olomouc are finalised.
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