Currently we have the following players out on loan:
Jon Obika – Millwall
David Button – Shrewsbury Town
Adam Smith – Torquay United
Adel Taarabt – QPR
Steven Caulker – Yeovil Town
Mirko Ranieri – Ipswich Town
Giovani dos Santos – Galatasaray
Jamie O’Hara – Portsmouth
Kyle Naughton – Middlesborough
Alan Hutton – Sunderland
Robbie Keane – Celtic
Now returned from loan:
Adam Smith – Wycombe Wanderers
Ben Alnwick – Norwich City
Lee Butcher – Grays Athletic
Dean Parrett – Aldershot Town
David Button – Crewe Alexandra
Sam Cox – Cheltenham Town
Danny Rose – Peterborough
Lee Butcher – Leyton Orient
Oscar Jansson – Exeter City
Sam Cox – Histon
Jake Livermore – Derby County
Andros Townsend – Leyton Orient
Calum Butcher – Barnet
Jamie O’Hara – Portsmouth
John Bostock – Brentford
Troy Archibald-Henville – Exeter City (now joined Exeter permanently)
Kyle Walker – Sheffield United
Sam Cox – Torquay United
Jake Livermore – Peterborough United
Andros Townsend – MK Dons
Ryan Mason – Yeovil Town
Jonathan Obika got a 7 minute cameo for Millwall, who were 4-0 up. Millwall Town Official Site report.
Jon is struggling to get into the Millwall side, with Morison, Batt and Harris ahead of him and playing well. Millwall are in good form, and I have my doubts over whether there’s any point in him being there at the moment – he’s played just over 70 minutes for them so far, and that’s across 10 matches.
David Button played another 90 minutes for Shrewsbury Town yesterday, conceding once. Shrewsbury Town Official Site report:
Dave Button had been having a steady game as normal and had been dealing with what Dale could throw into his box.He did have to be at his best though when the ball was played in behind the Town defence to put Dagnall in, Button was down quickly to pull off a great save and then reacted superbly to get back up and wrap himself around O’Grady to smoother the rebound shot.
He’s now started 18 games in a row, and has kept 6 clean sheets. The move has certainly been a good one for him.
Adam Smith was an unused sub again for Torquay United – since getting injured, he has lost his place in their side. Still, he has featured 16 times for them this season, so it’s not all been bad.
Adel Taarabt is back in the QPR side under Neil Warnock, and yesterday played 87 minutes and scored for the second time in a week. QPR Official Site report:
In midfield, Taarabt and Hogan Ephraim started out wide, while skipper Mikele Leigertwood and Alejandro Faurlin lined up in the centre.
From the resultant kick, Faurlin played a lovely centre into the path of Taarabt, whose header – although going wide – was cleared away to safety.
Rangers were looking dangerous in the early stages of the match.
This time, after Faurlin touched the ball into the direction of Taarabt, the magical Moroccan beat one man before firing a centre across the face of goal that somehow managed to miss everyone in the box.
Moments later, Simpson and Ephraim combined, and when the latter played Taarabt through on goal, Bunn came rushing out of his net to come and claim the ball.
Taarabt found the ball midway into the United half before he slid Ephraim through on goal. Under pressure from his marker but with only the keeper to beat, the midfielder could only shoot straight at Bunn.
The R’s had an opportunity to level the scores just before the half-time whistle when Taarabt played Simpson through on a goal, though the frontman could only fire straight at Bunn in the Blades net.
After a ball was played from deep, Taarabt stole possession from Marcel Seip as the ball bounced up in the air.
Through on goal with only keeper Bunn standing in his way of the net, Taarabt was coolness personified to slide the ball home for the R’s.
QPR playmaker Taarabt was causing the opposition problems aplenty, and he soon came close to adding his second goal of the match.
After being fouled on the edge of the Blades penalty area, Taarabt dusted himself down before bending an effort at the top left-hand corner that forced a fine save from Blades keeper Bunn.
Moments later, Faurlin’s clever pass up to Simpson ended with the forward touching the ball back to Taarabt, who from the edge of the box fired straight at keeper Bunn.
Some interesting comments from Neil Warnock in the week:
Rangers boss Neil Warnock has told Harry Redknapp he’s the man to turn Spurs loan star Adel Taarabt into the finished article.
The talented but frustrating Tottenham Hotspur forward scored QPR’s opener from the penalty spot and set up Damion Stewart’s clincher from a free-kick as Warnock recorded his second straight win in charge – against Plymouth.
On Taarabt’s display, Warnock said:”I know he’s got a lot of skill but I’ve spoken to Harry Redknapp at Spurs about him and he’s the sort of player who’ll make you pull your hair out at times.
“He’s a gifted lad who’s working harder than he’s ever done and he’s going to do that to get into Harry’s Premier League squad.
“But I think I’m the right manager for him. He knows he doesn’t mess around on the half-way line – if he does he knows what he’ll get from me!”
Steven Caulker played 90 minutes for Yeovil Town yesterday – he has played every minute of every game for them, and has yet to receive a yellow card. Quite remarkable, really.
Ryan Mason, of whom much has been spoken this week, wasn’t involved for them because he has returned to Spurs:
Attacking midfielder/striker Ryan Mason is to return to parent club Tottenham Hotspur permanently. The 18 year old has gradually drifted out of Yeovil Town’s first team line-up and has not completed 90 minutes of football since the turn of the year, and manager Terry Skiverton admitted in the build-up to this afternoon’s match that Mason was struggling with injuries and the state of various League One pitches.
Skiverton has said in tonight’s post-match interview that Mason will be returning to White Hart Lane, having also missed today’s match. He made 29 appearances for Yeovil Town, scoring six goals along the way. Skiverton told BBC Somerset the circumstances that had led to the move:
“Ryan Mason will be going back to Tottenham now. He’s come to the end of his spell and it’s been quite hard for him because he’s had a few niggles and a few little injuries. I think he’s going back just to get himself fit and flying for next season. He’ll be going on a weights programme. So he’ll be going to the next step in his career. They’ll be taking him out for I think what will be mostly strength training.“
Despite Mason tending to drift out of the side towards the end of his loan spell, Skiverton paid tribute to what the Tottenham player had achieved during the first half of the season:
“He’s been fantastic for us. I can’t speak highly enough of him. The performances that he has put in were like Gavin Williams did for us today. Ryan has done that for us on numerous occasions this year. He’s a fantastic player with a bright future, and who knows, I might go back in for him next year – if I can get him!”
All the best to Ryan for the future and let’s hope this is not the last we have seen of him.
I am impressed by the way the club have handled this – they’ve been in close contact with Yeovil, and have been monitoring Ryan’s progress carefully. It’s very clear that he needs to bulk up, but this comment from a thread on Mason on the Yeovil forum is telling:
Had an chat with him today as it goes.
He’s exhausted and Spurs felt he had done wonders thid year, as do I.
He’s going back, won’t play for 4 months and is going on a weight and putting on weight programme. He, and Spurs, think he’ll feature for them next year and would also have taken Caulker back if they didn’t think he was integral to our survival.
Caulker staying is Spurs thank you to us for looking after them.
You see it’s not all bad!
Kyle Naughton played another 90 minutes for Middlesborough. He seems to be doing well there, having played 7 times so far. He is impressing the Boro fans – some comments from a Boro forum:
“Kyle Naughton v Tony McMahon
The difference in quality is monumental.
Hopefully, we can do a deal with Tottenham in the summer to sign the lad permanently.”
“If were still in this league next season I cant see Spurs having a problem loaning him to us again. He has been good for us but he doesnt look top 4 prem material yet which is what spurs want. Im not sure if he would want to come on loan again though.”
“Naughton is a different gravy, too rich for us I’m afraid”
Robbie Keane played 90 minutes for Celtic in Scottish Cup quarter final against Kilmarnock, and took home the match ball. Celtic Official Site report:
ROBBIE Keane scored his first hat trick for Celtic as the Hoops triumphed to a 3-0 victory against Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup quarter final.
An inspired substitution just before the hour mark changed the game as Celtic ran riot in a late show at Rugby Park.
The introduction of Georgios Samaras and Marc-Antoine Fortune fired up the away side as they created the goals for Keane to send the Hoops into the semi-final of the cup.
Tony Mowbray made two changes to the side who faced Falkirk last Sunday, with Georgios Samaras on the bench and Artur Boruc having to return to Poland for family reasons. Lukasz Zaluska was handed his chance between the sticks while Scott Brown returned to the first team for a one-off cup appearance in the middle of his three-match league suspension.
And it was the captain who started the match brightly with a good solo show in the middle of the Kilmarnock half. He turned on the ball before moving to the edge of the box and firing in a shot but his effort went just wide of the post.
Kilmarnock had the best opportunity of the half on the 13th minute when Allan Russell collected a deflected pass in the box and cracked a powerful shot off the top of the crossbar.
But Celtic turned up the heat on the 21st minute when a Robbie Keane effort in front of goal was stopped by Cammy Bell’s foot. Scott Brown attempted to make something from the loose ball but it was eventually cleared by the Killie defence.
McGeady’s inch-perfect pass across the field then met Keane but the striker’s deflected shot was easily collected by the Kilmarnock goalkeeper.
Not long after the half-hour mark Liam Kelly chipped a ball over the Celtic defence and onto the feet of the outstretched Craig Bryson, but he couldn’t make contact with the ball in time and Zaluska gathered it with ease.
Darren O’Dea had a good chance on 39 minutes when his header skimmed past the face of goal following a good cross from McGeady.
The home side continued to press but Celtic controlled the pressure until the half time whistle and the sides went into the break level.
McGeady tore apart the Kilmarnock defence right from the start of the second-half with two blistering chances in quick succession.
The first came when he latched onto a superb Keane cross and volleyed first-time straight at Bell in the Kilmarnock goal. He continued to pressure the back line with another shot two minutes later, but his effort skimmed over the top of the crossbar.
Kilmarnock settled back into the game and came agonising close to taking the lead on the 55th minute when Russell’s attempt on the edge of the six-yard box hit off Zaluska’s right-hand post.
Celtic made their two match-changing substitutions just before the hour mark in an attempt to push further forward and test the Kilmarnock back line. Samaras came on for Morten Rasmussen while Marc Crosas made way for Fortune, who returned from injury.
This meant Keane moved into the loan striker role with Fortune, McGeady and Samaras playing just off them in a 4-2-3-1 formation. And the change paid off as Celtic immediately piled more pressure onto the home side.
The Hoops broke the deadlock on 64 minutes when Edson Braafheid hit a long and well-timed cross into the box. Keane managed to create space away from the defence and turned away from Bell, making it easy for him to round the keeper and slot into the back of the net.
Samaras had a great opportunity to put Celtic two up on 69 minutes when Keane slide the ball into the Greek striker’s path. But his shot was too tight and slid across the front of goal, sliding just past the far post for a goal-kick.
The home side failed to break Celtic down as well as they had in the first half and Tony Mowbray’s side doubled their lead on 81 minutes.
Samaras made a fantastic run down the left wing to win the ball and fed it inside to Fortune. He bided his time before slotting the ball across goal and away from Bell, leaving Keane, who was standing at the far post, with the easiest of tasks to tap the ball into the open net.
And it was the Irishman who popped up a minute later to wrap up the cup tie for Celtic and bag his first hat-trick for the club. McGeady sent Fortune clear on the right and he unselfishly crossed to Keane who had found a space on the edge of the box. The striker fired in his third with ease, much to the away fans’ delight.
Keane had another chance to add to his tally three minutes from the end but he couldn’t get his head onto a Mark WIlson cross.
Keane’s goals from yesterday:
He has now made 7 starts and 1 sub appearance, and has 8 goals and 2 assists – Keane getting his “mojo” back can only be good news for Spurs – either he comes back revitalised, or his stock rises and we sell him on for more than we otherwise would have done. Either way, I’m pleased for him, as it was sad to see him playing as poorly as he was.
Alan Hutton‘s Sunderland play Man City today. He has played all 5 games for them since joining, and has received mixed comments from their fans. I saw his performances against Arsenal (where he was abysmal) and Bolton (where he was much better). I think this one could turn permanent in the summer.
Giovani dos Santos‘ Galatasaray play today at 5pm.
Here are some highlights of Giovani’s performance against Kasımpaşa, as he set up the final goal in a 4-1 win.
Rijkaard speaks about his progress and expectations following the same match:
“he’s a very talented young player”.
FR wants him to “convince everybody that he is good player”.
“He played some games that he wasn’t good enough, and now he played one game and everyone said “ok, he has to stay” … he really needed the time to train and get better”.
Giovani also won a penalty (although he should have been booked for diving!) as they lost to Eskisehirspor 2-1 in their last match
Jamie O’Hara‘s Portsmouth play Liverpool tomorrow. He has been in sparkling form for Pompey, picking up Man of the Match awards, getting a goal and 4 assists in his last 6 games.
At the end of February, he was quoted as saying:
“Obviously the option for me to stay is not there [Tottenham] anymore.
I will go back to Tottenham for pre-season and hopefully get myself a move to another Premier League club.
I would like to think clubs would be interested in me because of my form for Portsmouth has been some of the best of my career. It is a shame what has happened because I have loved every second of my time here.
Hopefully the club will keep going and come back stronger than ever.”
Hopefully Hutton and O’Hara can both do us a favour tomorrow!