Loan round-up – all to play for at the top
Wed 28 April 2021, 20:36|Tottenham Hotspur
Oliver Skipp’s Norwich City have a chance to clinch the Championship title when they host Reading at the weekend.
The Canaries secured automatic promotion to the Premier League earlier this month, but victory on Saturday, or also-promoted Watford dropping points at Brentford, would see them crowned champions.
On-loan Skippy has featured in every single one of Norwich’s 44 games in the second tier this term, starting all but one – a 1-1 draw at Preston at the beginning of April in which he appeared as a second-half substitute. He’s made 46 appearances in all competitions for Daniel Farke’s men, scoring once.
Also chasing promotion from the Championship via the play-offs are Jonathan Woodgate’s AFC Bournemouth, for whom Cameron Carter-Vickers continues to start regularly at centre-back. Having come into the team at the turn of the year, Cameron has now made 22 appearances in all competitions for the Cherries, scoring once.
TJ Eyoma’s Lincoln City face a huge game in the race for promotion from League One on Saturday, as they go to second-placed Peterborough United. Lincoln are already assured of a place in the play-offs after Tuesday night’s 1-0 win at Shrewsbury Town but, with a game in hand, could still overhaul the Posh for runners-up spot and an automatic promotion place. TJ played the full 90 minutes at centre-half against the Shrews, as he has done in recent weeks after primarily operating at right-back for the first half of the campaign. He’s made 46 appearances in all competitions this term, scoring once.
Also eyeing a play-off berth in the same division are Harvey White’s Portsmouth. The young midfielder made his 20th Pompey appearance as an 84th-minute substitute in Tuesday night’s 3-3 draw at Accrington Stanley – a result which left them in the sixth and last play-off place, but only a point ahead of Oxford United with two games still to go.
Cambridge United, meanwhile, go to Harrogate Town on Friday night, looking to clinch automatic promotion from League Two – they’re currently second, two points off leaders Cheltenham with two games remaining. Defender Jubril Okedina has been unused on the bench for Cambridge’s last three matches – he’s made 13 appearances for them so far – while attacker Shilow Tracey has featured largely as a second-half substitute in recent weeks, although he did start and score in a 4-2 win at Leyton Orient last week. He’s on 16 appearances and one goal for the U’s, having spent the first half of the campaign on loan at Shrewsbury in the division above.
Goalkeepers get underway
Paulo Gazzaniga kept his first clean sheet for Spanish side Elche on Saturday as they won 1-0 at home to Levante in a big boost to their La Liga survival hopes. Having been on the bench since the beginning of February, Paulo has now played the last three games in a row for his loan club, who face Atletico Madrid on Saturday. They’re now only in the relegation zone on goal difference behind Real Valladolid with five games remaining.
Young goalkeeper Brandon Austin, meanwhile, has been an unused substitute for Orlando City in their first two games of the recently-started MLS campaign in America as his side have drawn with Atlanta United and Sporting Kansas City.
Familiar foe for Foyth
Juan Foyth has a chance to put one foot in the Europa League Final when his Villarreal side host Arsenal in the first leg of the semi-finals on Thursday evening. The Argentine international defender played both legs of Villarreal’s quarter-final victory over our conquerors in the competition, Dinamo Zagreb, and has been a regular starter in La Liga in recent weeks, with his side currently in seventh place and pushing for a European qualification spot with five games left. He’s made 30 appearances overall this term, scoring once.
Also on the continent, Ryan Sessegnon has started German side Hoffenheim’s last four games in a row, taking his tally to 26 appearances and two goals in all competitions for them this season. Hoffenheim are currently 11th and next host Schalke on 8 May.
Filbey shines for Celtic
Spurs Women defender Anna Filbey has started four of Celtic’s last five games since the Scottish Women’s Premier League season resumed earlier this month. Having made her debut in a 3-0 loss to leaders Glasgow City on 4 April, she bagged a goal and an assist in a 5-1 thrashing of Spartans a fortnight later before helping her side to a 1-0 home win over Rangers last Wednesday. She played an hour of Sunday’s 3-1 win at home to Hibernian, which left her side third in the table.
In Spain, Lucia Leon has largely featured off the bench for Madrid CFF in recent weeks, although she did start Thursday’s 2-0 home defeat to Barcelona. Madrid are sixth in the standings.
Elisha Sulola continues to start regularly for Charlton Athletic and was on target in a 3-1 home win over London Bees earlier this month which secured their FA Women’s Championship status. The Addicks are now unbeaten in five and up to seventh in the table.