Patrick Bamford may cut short loan spell at Crystal Palace and return to Chelsea

Source: The Guardian

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Patrick Bamford may be permitted to cut short his loan spell at Crystal Palace and return to Chelsea in January if the England Under-21 international continues to find his opportunities limited at Selhurst Park over the next two months.

The 22-year-old, who began his career with Nottingham Forest and was voted the Championship’s player of the season last term after a prolific spell with Middlesbrough, has played only 16 minutes of Premier League football for his latest loan club with his solitary start for Palace to date coming in a League Cup win over Shrewsbury Town of League One.

Bamford struggled in an unfamiliar role leading the line that night and subsequently appeared shorn of confidence in another cameo in the competition, against Charlton Athletic of the second tier. The Palace manager, Alan Pardew, is still confident the striker will prove his pedigree and earn himself more regular involvement in the first team over the weeks ahead. But there is an acceptance that, if he remains on the periphery, then his situation may have to be addressed in the new year.

“It’s unfortunate for Patrick because he’s working hard, but it is an obvious situation,” said Pardew when asked about a player who scored 19 goals for Boro last season and whose arrival in the summer was considered a coup. “If he doesn’t play for any real time between now and January then, for sure, we’ll have to look at it. But he’s had a lot of competition and he’s trying to understand the way we play. If he gets the chance I’m sure he wants to take it. He’s fighting for his right to get into the team.”

Palace are currently using Jason Puncheon in the slightly withdrawn playmaker role perhaps best suited for Bamford – who might be more comfortable in a front two – with Dwight Gayle deputising for the injured Connor Wickham and Marouane Chamakh up front. Pardew has also used Bakary Sako and Yannick Bolasie in advanced roles at times in the Premier League to date, with his team going into the weekend derby against West Ham United in fourth place.