A look at how United’s clutch of players out on loan in the EFL got on over the weekend, including Tahith Chong’s first-ever goal in English league football as Birmingham beat Bristol City
Manchester United are busy preparing for Sunday’s derby against Manchester City.
It is a game that could see the Red Devils extend their grip on fourth place in the Premier League.
The footballing world will be watching on, with the match also crucial for champions-elect and holders City. But what about those players away from Old Trafford? No fewer than eight are currently at EFL clubs.
Here, we look at how those players away from United fared for their respective temporary employers over the weekend.
Can Man United finish in the top four this season? Let us know in the comments section
Tahith Chong and Teden Mengi
Chong only returned from a long-term injury last weekend for temporary employers Birmingham, making a second half cameo as a substitute.
But Saturday saw him start against Bristol City – and it took him just two minutes to find the score-sheet.
The Dutchman produced a composed finish – his first-ever league goal in English football – as Birmingham won 2-1 at Ashton Gate and he won plenty of praise from Blues’ boss Lee Bowyer afterwards.
“He has been a big miss for us,” Bowyer said. “At the start of the season when we had him we created and we looked so dangerous in near enough every game – even when we lost.
“He was a big player for us and to not have him for four-and-a-half months was a long time.
“He was our most creative player, so to not have him for that long we have definitely missed him for sure.
“He is very good at twisting and turning, he is a tricky player. When he is fully fit then he is even more exciting to watch. He has been out a long time, I am pleased he is back out there playing and has scored his first goal.”
Defender Mengi, who joined up with his United colleague in January, once again missed out. He has sat out the last four games with a hamstring injury.
Garner proved pivotal in helping Nottingham Forest post a deserved 1-1 draw away at Sheffield United on Friday.
Garner, who played the full 90 minutes, whipped in the corner in stoppage time from which Ryan Yates planted a header beyond Blades’ goalkeeper Wes Foderingham.
That was his third assist of the season, and he continues to play a crucial role in Forest’s play-off quest. Was booked.
Winger Laird only made his Bournemouth debut last week after a spell on the sidelines.
Saturday saw his Cherries side involved in a topsy-turvy clash away at Preston. Laird came on as a sub midway through the second half with the scores level at 1-1.
But the match would end in controversy with North End’s Emil Riis Jakobsen scoring a late winner for the hosts.
That goal sparked wild scenes and resulted in Adam Smith, who Laird replaced, and Bournemouth boss Scott Parker both being handed red cards.
Parker said of the incident: “I’m not sure why he (referee) sent me off. I did not use any foul or abusive language to him.
“I was animated, of course I was. But I just asked him why he hadn’t given a foul.
“I’m not sure why Adam Smith was sent off.”
Bernard was an unused substitute in Hull City’s 2-0 defeat at home to West Brom.
It represented the second successive match where the defender has failed to be called upon, having been a regular in the first two-thirds of the season.
Bernard has featured in just two of the last seven games for the Tigers.
Northern Irish midfielder Galbraith came off the bench in the second half of Doncaster’s 4-0 thumping away at Cheltenham.
It was his first involvement for Rovers since February 1. The 20-year-old recently returned to United to undergo an assessment after sustaining a calf injury.
But Galbraith couldn’t make an impact on the game as Rovers slumped to a big loss as their relegation woes deepened.
The full-back missed a fifth consecutive game on Saturday as Walsall played out a 1-1 draw away at Barrow.
Giving an update recently, Walsall boss Michael Flynn said Devine would be out until mid to late-March with an unspecified injury.
Goalkeeper Bishop won plenty of praise from Mansfield boss Nigel Clough after helping them extend their unbeaten run to 14 games on Friday night.
The Stags beat Exeter 2-1 with Bishop pulling off a clutch of fine saves. Despite an error leading to Exeter’s stoppage time consolation, Clough praised Bishop.
He said: “(He was) Absolutely brilliant. That’s why he’s a little bit disappointed with the mistake (that led to Exeter’s goal).
“Then you make a mistake and you still get the three points, that’s okay. He kept us in it with three or four brilliant saves tonight.”