A familiar duo kick off the latest Loan Report with Patrick Bamford and Bertrand Traore each improving their stock this weekend with more goalscoring antics, and Mario Pašalić weighing in for the first time this term.
Bamford’s 16th league goal of the campaign – his 18th in all competitions – saw him pull level with Fabrizio Ravanelli in the Middlesbrough single-season scoring charts of the past twenty years and helped Aitor Karanka’s team beat Rotherham 2-0 to remain firmly in the promotion race. He might have had another too, but a stoppage time penalty began with a fight over who was to take it with team-mate Kike and ended with a smart save by Rotherham stopper Emiliano Martinez.
Tomas Kalas played well at right back but Kenneth Omeruo continues to miss out through injury.
Traore, meanwhile, notched a brace away to Excelsior to reach eleven Eredivisie goals for the season (fourteen in all comps) and extend Vitesse’s terrific run of form with a 3-1 win. He opened the scoring with a lovely curling effort from the edge of the box before doubling the tally in the second half with a dazzling run and finish after collecting a smart pass from Josh McEachran.
McEachran was afforded a rare start with Marko Vejinovic absent through sickness and took full advantage, playing well and contributing to two goals in a relatively key manner. He looked assured and capable in midfield and should start next weekend too, with Davy Pröpper facing a suspension.
Wallace was left out of the squad following a late-night incident on Thursday which initially saw him arrested only to later be released without charge.
Mario Pašalić and Elche travelled to Córdoba on Sunday night seeking to pick up a much-needed win in the fight against relegation and the Croatian midfielder duly obliged with his first goal for the club to help his team to a 2-0 win.
Victor Moses played just under half of Stoke City’s 1-1 draw at West Ham before limping off through injury. Christian Atsu wasn’t selected by Everton away to Swansea earlier in the day.
In The Championship, Nathan Aké and Nathaniel Chalobah both started for Reading in their goalless draw with Blackburn; Aké playing at left-back whilst Chalobah returned to his familiar place in midfield.
Todd Kane was an unused substitute as Nottingham Forest lost at home to Huddersfield Town.
In League One, John Swift came off the bench for Swindon away to Bristol City in midweek and then again at home to Peterborough on Saturday, with the former fixture ending up in defeat but the latter a 1-0 win that keeps their automatic promotion hopes just about alive.
MK Dons are also fighting for the right to play in the Championship next season and handed Lewis Baker a start against Alex Davey and Scunthorpe on Tuesday night. Baker had the better of the day, turning in a dazzling first half display as his side ran out 2-0 winners. He was back on the bench at the weekend away to Port Vale however, and despite being given half an hour couldn’t help break the 0-0 deadlock.
Davey played the first half of Scunthorpe’s win over Crawley before heading off through a knock at the break.
Marco van Ginkel started for Milan vs Sampdoria and played well in his 70 or so minutes on the pitch.
Mohamed Salah started both Fiorentina matches this week but was on the wrong end of a pair of 3-0 hidings; Juventus first to strike in the Coppa Italia before a trip to Napoli in Serie A action Sunday went the same way.
Stipe Perica played the entire second half for Udinese at home to Palermo but he too ended up on the losing side, 3-1 to Palermo.
Lucas Piazon played the final twenty minutes of Eintracht Frankfurt’s 3-0 defeat away to Bayern Munich, and Oriol Romeu played no part in Stuttgart’s 3-2 win over Werder Bremen.
Gael Kakuta played well on Thursday as Rayo Vallecano caused some consternation for Real Madrid before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat. He and the rest of his teammates then had a more chastening experience on Saturday evening, going down 6-1 at Celta Vigo. He was substituted with a quarter of an hour remaining and was probably quite thankful for that smallest of mercies.
Uli Dávila played the final ten minutes of Vitória Setúbal’s 2-1 defeat to Sporting. Joao Rodriguez was not included in the matchday squad.
Another week, another clean sheet for Matej Delač as FK Sarajevo drew 0-0 away to FK Drina.
Marko Marin remains injured and isn’t expected back this season.
Cristian Cuevas has rather dropped out of the picture at Universidad de Chile after a bright spell of inclusion earlier in the season, and was once again not involved this weekend.