To round up the 2012-13 youth football season at Chelsea, we’re reviewing every single one of the Chelsea youngsters currently on the books who have spent time out on loan during the campaign. Here, we focus on Patrick Bamford.
Club: Milton Keynes Dons
Appearances: 14 (4 goals)
After a stuttering start to his professional career (save for two brief outings as a Nottingham Forest player before joining Chelsea), Patrick Bamford really began to flourish for MK Dons in League One this season, and whilst manager Karl Robinson has already expressed a desire to retain him next season, clubs of a higher calibre may have had their heads turned by a young striker who is going places.
Bamford initially joined the Dons in November on a short-term deal and had a stupendous debut, playing a key role in three goals as they beat Colchester United 5-1. He went off injured though, and fitness would be a problem for him until the start of March. By then, he had extended his stay until the end of the season – a risk Robinson was happy to take in January – and once he was able to put a run of games together, the goals began to flow.
He grabbed his first two in back-to-back away games against Crewe and Hartlepool before tallying twice more in the final few games against Colchester and Stevenage. All four strikes came away from home and bore the hallmarks of his play; composed finishes off either foot and brave headers following keen anticipation to get to the ball first.
As mentioned above, MK would love him to return next season, but with Chelsea having been keen to see him play in the Champonship this season only to settle for League One, there’s no doubt that they’ll be starting the bidding in the second tier. It’ll be a big season for him, for whilst the road to the first team at Stamford Bridge might be blocked by considerably more expensive names, there’s something about Bamford which is rather promising.