The international break means it’s an FA Cup Loan Watch special this week with only four Blues in action – and only two actually making an appearance!
Both Oldham and Rochdale entered the first round of the FA Cup at the weekend but there were contrasting fortunes for the two sides who not only have two City loanees a piece but are also managed by former Blues.
While Andrea Mancini was left to sit out Oldham’s 3-1 win over ten-man Burton Albion, Luca Scapuzzi started for the Latics. Described as “sheer class” by manager Paul Dickov in mid-week following his side’s Johnstone Paint Trophy victory over Crewe, the Italian striker was again at the thick of the action as Oldham were awarded two penalties in the opening six minutes of the game.
Just minutes after Shefki Kuqi had converted from the spot, Scapuzzi won Oldham a second penalty when he was brought to ground in the box – only to see Kuqi miss at the second attempt.
Scapuzzi’s side scored twice more before the break and Burton could only manage a 71st minute consolation before the former AC Milan academy star was replaced with a quarter hour of the game remaining.
It was a less successful afternoon for Harry Bunn’s Rochdale, however, who slipped to a fourth consecutive loss. Nakhi Wells’ 84th minute wonder strike condemned the Dale to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Bradford City.
Struggling in League One and dumped out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy by Preston in mid-week, manager Steve Eyre would have hoped for better luck in the Cup. Yet despite an impressive performance by 18-year-old Bunn, the League One side suffered an unexpected loss against the Bantams.
Facing the team playing exactly a division below them in League Two, League One’s 21st placed side look a completely different outfit with Bunn leading the line upfront. His pace, strength and technical ability have added a new dimension to Eyre’s side and he combined well with former Blue Andrew Tutte throughout, but was unable to replicate the goal he scored in mid-week and must now focus on leading his side’s fight for survival.
Fellow City loanee Ahmed Benali spent the FA Cup tie on the bench for 'Dale, who are now without a win in eight in all competitions.