The loan round-up is likely to be a bit quieter than it has been for several weeks because half a dozen players have returned to Chelsea since the turn of the year (and one sold), but there’s still news, and this past seven days it didn’t come any bigger than Reading’s 2-1 FA Cup win at Anfield to defeat Liverpool, where Ryan Bertrand was involved.
It would be unfair on every Reading player involved in the extra time victory to single anyone out, as they were all magnificent, including Bertrand. He was unfortunate to be on the end of a Gerrard shot in first half stoppage time which took a heavy deflection and beat Adam Federici, but he didn’t let the disappointment affect him and kept Dirk Kuyt quiet throughout, as well as having an effect going forward. As Royals legs tired late in the game under home pressure Ryan was still going and can hold his head high in one of the best nights for the club in some time. Unfortunately it took it out of them for the weekend trip to Nottingham Forest, where they fell to a 2-1 defeat, Ryan playing another ninety minutes.
Elsewhere, Franco Di Santo had started the week of loan action away to Manchester City, but Rovers had a terrible first half in a 4-1 defeat and the Argentinian striker was withdrawn at half time in favour of Nikola Kalinic. Manager Sam Allardyce made changes for Sunday’s hosting of Fulham, and with Franco an unused sub, the changes worked, as goals from Chris Samba and Ryan Nelsen secured a big 2-0 win. In other Premier League action, there was the potential for a Scott Sinclair vs Michael Mancienne clash as Wolves hosted Wigan at Molineux but predictably, Sinclair was a sub, only used in stoppage time of the Latics’ impressive 2-0 win. Mancienne was restored to centre-half but Wolves were awful in all phases and deserved their defeat. Opinions on his performance ranged from ‘best outfield player to ‘woeful’ and he was given a bit of a going over by television pundits, unfortunately.
With no other domestic loanees, attentions turn to Europe, where action is just about restarting on a wider scale after the winter break. FC Twente returned from a training camp in La Manga in disappointing form, only managing a goalless draw in cup action away to Utrecht, with Miroslav Stoch playing 81 minutes. Slobodan Rajkovic did not feature. Finally, in Croatia, Matej Delac is back in training with Inter Zapresic and will return to action this midweek away to Cibalia.
Hopefully the weekly round-up will be able to return to full size in the near future, but until then we can only report on the players out on loan, and those numbers have dwindled!