With no Premier League action, and a handful of injuries, it’s been a quieter week than we’ve seen recently on the loan front, but there’s still plenty to talk about in the latest instalment of The Loan Report.
It has been an FA Cup weekend, meaning a free date for Premier League action, and as such neither Gael Kakuta nor the injured Michael Mancienne were able to play. Bolton did take to the field in the Cup, but as Daniel Sturridge played in the Third Round for Chelsea, he is precluded from featuring for the Trotters.
Nevertheless, it has been another week of double-headers in the Football League. Leicester duo Patrick van Aanholt and Jeffrey Bruma have both been back at Chelsea receiving treatment on injuries; Bruma’s being a groin problem and van Aanholt’s a thigh muscle tear. Both are expected back before April, although Bruma may be back as soon as next weekend.
Jack Cork’s week started well, with another impressive three points for Burnley away to Hull, but came crashing down to earth on Saturday at the hands of Millwall, who won 3-0 at Turf Moor. Cork, with approaching 40 appearances under his belt this season, featured in both outings but was unable to help extend the club’s unbeaten run into next week and beyond.
Ben Gordon and Jacob Mellis went head to head at Oakwell on Tuesday night as Scunthorpe travelled to Barnsley, and it was the latter who will hold the bragging rights as the Tykes picked up a 2-1 victory.
Mellis has been suffering from a minor injury in recent weeks and made way five minutes from time, shortly after Marlon Harewood had struck the winner. The midfielder had a good game, showing creativity in the middle of the park and a constant attacking influence.
He featured again on Sunday in a tough match away to Cardiff, where Mark Robins’ boys earned a 2-2 draw. He lasted only an hour but again looked effective and would have had an assist had Harewood’s effort not come back off the post.
Gordon, meanwhile, tasted defeat again on Saturday to the tune of a 3-0 reverse against Leicester. More pertinently, he left the match at half time with a recurrence of the hamstring problem which struck late in his spell at Kilmarnock, and he will now be assessed by medical staff at both Chelsea and Scunthorpe.
In League One, Conor Clifford’s loan spell at Notts County is due to end this week, but with all parties interested in extending the deal until the end of the season, the Irishman should remain at Meadow Lane.
He was an unused substitute in the midweek defeat at home to Peterborough but returned to the starting line-up for Saturday’s superb win at Sheffield Wednesday.
Clifford has been used on the right of midfield, an unfamiliar position but one which he has applied himself to completely, and fan reaction after victory at Hillsborough indicates he had possibly his best outing in County colours.
Rhys Taylor’s double header of action for Crewe in League Two, meanwhile, started with a narrow loss at Macclesfield where the more vocal of his (seemingly many) critics found fault with his positioning for the game’s only goal, but he bounced back superbly to record a clean sheet against league leaders Chesterfield.
The Welshman made a series of fine stops to keep the Spireites at bay and notched his eighth shutout of the season.
In Holland, Slobodan Rajkovic captained Vitesse in their 1-1 draw at home to Heerenveen, with Matej Delac, as usual, on the bench. Jhon Pirez and Defensor, finally, are set for Sunday night action away to Bella Vista. News of the result can be found by following @chelseayouth on Twitter.