Loan watch: Chong returns from injury
Tahith Chong made his long-awaited return from injury for Birmingham City this weekend, playing two matches for the club’s Under-23s, either side of a substitute appearance for the first team against Huddersfield Town.
The Dutch winger suffered a ruptured thigh tendon while training in late October and underwent surgery before rehabilitation at our Carrington training ground. He went back to Birmingham earlier this month and has been building up match fitness ahead of his return.
Chong started on Monday night for the Blues' Under-23s and completed a 45-minute run-out, in which he registered an assist. On Saturday, he came off the bench 24 minutes from time in the first team’s 2-0 defeat at home to Huddersfield.
Post-match, manager Lee Bowyer said, “We all have to be patient with him, it was good to see him out there, it’s going to take a while to get Tahith back to the position he was before the injury.”
The Blues are managing Tahith’s return carefully, and he started once again for the Under-23s on Sunday, scoring after just six minutes. The 22-year-old won the ball back high up the pitch and accelerated to take on goalkeeper Sol Brynn one-on-one. With a dummy, he rounded Brynn and slotted home.
Tahith’s Birmingham team-mate and fellow United loanee Teden Mengi missed Saturday’s Championship game as he recovers from his own minor hamstring injury.
Elsewhere in the division, midfielder James Garner continued his good form with Nottingham Forest scoring the second goal for Steve Cooper’s side in their 2-0 home win against Bristol City, as you can watch below.
Saturday’s win was the second game of the week for Garner, who also started Forest’s 0-0 away draw at Preston North End on Tuesday.
There was further good news in the Championship, where Ethan Laird made his AFC Bournemouth debut. The 20-year-old right-back switched from the south coast of Wales, with Swansea City, to that of England, with Bournemouth, in the January transfer window, but an injury had kept him out of Scott Parker’s team.
Laird came off the bench after 73 minutes as Bournemouth came from behind late on to beat Stoke City 2-1 at home.
Di’Shon Bernard played one of Hull City’s two fixtures this week, while Brandon Williams played two full games for Norwich City in their Premier League defeats to Southampton and Liverpool.
Also in England’s top-flight, Donny van de Beek started in for Everton against Manchester City, who triumphed late on after a resolute Toffees performance. Donny has now played four times for the Merseysiders since joining on loan in late January.
In Scotland, Amad was an unused sub for Rangers in a 2-2 draw with Motherwell, while Dylan Levitt was forced off with a muscle injury after 41 minutes of Dundee United’s draw away at Aberdeen. Tangerines manager Tam Courts said: "We'll need to assess that, it's a muscular injury so you are always naturally quite cautious. We need to get him assessed. He's obviously a big player for us.”
Another player out with injury is left-back Reece Devine who is set for a couple of weeks on the sidelines at Walsall.
In South America, Andreas Pereira played 90 minutes for Flamengo in a 3-1 win at Botafogo, while in Spain, Facundo Pellistri was a late substitute for Deportivo Alaves in a 2-2 draw at Getafe. Nathan Bishop, meanwhile, has helped Mansfield Town into the play-off spots of League Two with another clean sheet as they triumphed 2-0 over Bradford City.