For the first time in a good few weeks, the latest instalment of our loanee round-up doesn’t feature anything remarkable, with individual performances largely run-of-the-mill and nothing outstanding to note. On the flip side to that, of course, there wasn’t anything negative to report on, although Scott Sinclair probably didn’t enjoy his Sunday afternoon…
Scott, of course, was on the substitute’s bench as Wigan were utterly trounced 9-1 at Tottenham. He didn’t get onto the pitch, and on such a day he will probably be grateful for that, but it still remains a concern that he isn’t receiving playing time – not only in that he isn’t getting the opportunity, but whether he’s even deserving them. Regardless, he didn’t play and he wasn’t the only inactive Premier League representative, although Michael Mancienne’s absence was enforced as Wolves played his parent club and were promptly dismissed 4-0 at Stamford Bridge. Franco Di Santo did play for Blackburn in their local derby at Bolton Wanderers and put in a good shift for 72 minutes in an impressive 2-0 win. He played his part in David Dunn’s opener, carrying the ball into the area from deep before releasing to Jason Roberts, who played Dunn in for the goal.
In the Championship, Coventry’s winless run extended to seven games as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Crystal Palace at the Ricoh Arena. Both Jack Cork and Patrick van Aanholt played the full match, with Patrick returning to left back after a spell in midfield. Cork played well again and continues to impress the majority of Sky Blues fans but van Aanholt had a poor game, and with his confidence clearly low during this poor run of form the concensus seems to be that he might benefit from a rest for a couple of games, as with each game his morale appears to be dropping further.
Whilst Coventry struggle, Reading’s form has been steadily improving and on Saturday they recorded their first home win since January, a run which lasted 18 matches. Ian Holloway’s Blackpool were the opposition to succumb to Brendan Rodgers’ team, with Ryan Bertrand again present at left-back. He played well, as he has done for most of the season, earning praise as ‘a class apart’ from some Royals fans. Up in Doncaster, Rhys Taylor was not a part of the travelling QPR squad in their 2-0 defeat at the Keepmoat Stadium, as he only joined the team on Friday afternoon.
League One action was more disappointing than usual, with limited participation for all three Blues in the division. Tom Taiwo was withdrawn at half time of Carlisle’s 0-1 home defeat to Swindon, having been suffering from illness all week. Despite battling through the first half, he wasn’t his usual tenacious and energetic self and it made sense to take him off before he struggled further. He was unfortunate to be involved in Charlie Austin’s third-minute winner, coming out on the wrong side of the challenge with the goalscorer, but it wasn’t a major error and he should be back to full health by his next outing.
At least he played though, with Jacob Mellis only getting one minute as a sub for Southampton in their 2-2 home draw with Norwich. The Saints are winless in three league fixtures now with a Tuesday night trip to Hartlepool on the agenda, and manager Alan Pardew may consider some alterations to his midfield, with Mellis perhaps seeing more playing time than he has in recent weeks (which wouldn’t be hard). Liam Bridcutt went one better than Mellis, missing his first game for Stockport since signing, as he was laid low with a virus. He took his place on the bench as Exeter came away from Edgeley Park with a 3-1 win, with two goals coming in stoppage time to leave County in the relegation zone.
Nana Ofori-Twumasi completes our round-up of the English leagues as he made his home debut for Dagenham & Redbridge but they dropped off the top of the league as they fell to their first home defeat of the season against high-flying Rochdale. He had an impressive opening twenty minutes but appeared to drop off from that point, with some poor long ball ‘passing’ the hallmark of the performance. In Holland, FC Twente remained atop the Eredivisie and unbeaten after Bryan Ruiz scored seven minutes from time to sneak past a hard-working Vitesse. Miroslav Stoch was replaced in stoppage time after a quiet performance in which he was booked for dissent. Slobodan Rajkovic continues to recover from his hernia, and Matej Delac was rested for Inter Zapresic’s final game before the Croatian winter break, during which he will train at Cobham.