Seko Fofana has had a busy and productive week, which started with a loan extension and finished with an accomplished display against Premier League opposition.
The French midfielder played the first 75 minutes of the Cottager’s stalemate with Sunderland, which has earned them a fourth round replay, and might have found the crucial goal himself. His powerful shot caused total panic among the Black Cats’ defence, but unfortunately the ball was deflected wide.
Fofana will hope to win a starting berth when the two sides face off again in the coming week.
His strong performances in a Fulham shirt won an extension until the end of the season seven days’ ago, and he shared his delight at the news with the Fulham website.
Said Seko: “I have enjoyed my time here so much and gained a lot of experience of playing first team football in the Championship.
“I thank Manchester City for allowing me to extend my stay here and Kit Symons who has shown a lot of faith in me.
“I also would like to thank my team-mates who have made my integration into the first team easier and our supporters who have shown me a lot of affection since I joined.”
Supporters have also welcomed the move.
Well happy with Seko Fofana's loan extension. Would happily take him permanently. Powerhouse and energy. Will only get better. #FFC— Adam =] (@ABronsSmith) January 19, 2015
Just two days after signing the extension, Fofana repaid the faith the Cottagers had shown in his fledgling talent by playing all 90 minutes and helping his side to a 3-2 victory against Nottingham Forest.
Another loanee continuing to prove himself on the professional stage is Jason Denayer, who has picked up where he left off before his injury.
He played the full complement of minutes against Motherwell in midweek and at the weekend, when Celtic saw off Ross County by a single strike to maintain a three point gap at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Jason’s return has clearly impressed teammate Adam Matthews, who told the Celtic website: “He has done brilliantly for the length of time he was out. Obviously Efe has been doing really well but Jason got his chance on Saturday and he took it well.
“He looked like he had never been out so it’s great boost to have him back and it strengthens the squad even more."
The Belgian centre back is reportedly attracting interest from Ajax – presumably they have their eye on skills like this…
... https://t.co/gkYCwSueGq— Jason denayer (@Jasondenayer) January 24, 2015
Fellow City man John Guidetti forced his way back into the starting line-up for the Bhoys and set up the winner for Kris Commons. The Swede might have scored himself but was denied once by a well-timed tackle, before he flicked an effort over the top of the bar in the second half.
In League One, Devante Cole emerged from the bench to make his debut for MK Dons against former club Barnsley. The young forward played the last 25 minutes of the match, which his side won 2-0.
Happy to off made my debut and get the 2-0 win #Mkdons— DC (@DC77_) January 24, 2015
Said Devante afterwards: “I just enjoyed being with the boys out there.
“My preference is always going to be the central role but I’m comfortable on the left as well.
As long as I’m on the pitch playing, that’s all I really want to do.
“If I can get seven more for MK I’d love it but I just want to get as many as I can."
Elsewhere in the same division, Greg Leigh continues to be a regular name on the teamsheet for Crewe, and played all 90 minutes of a 1-0 victory against local rivals Port Vale.
As well as the oft-cited bragging rights, the three points ensured the Railwaymen move out of the relegation zone.
On the continent, Alvaro Negredo earned a penalty as Valencia triumphed 3-1 over his former side, Sevilla in La Liga.
The striker led the line but was not on the scoresheet himself, although he claims the assist for the crucial first goal.
Bruno Zuculini was an unused sub for the victory, which saw Los Che leapfrog Sevilla up to fourth in the league.
Elsewhere, and Sinan Bytyqi played the first 59 minutes as Cambuur went down 2-1 to Karim Rekik’s high-flying PSV. The Dutch centre back was on the field for the whole game, one of the first names on the teamsheet for the Eredivisie leaders.
Marcos Lopes came on as a substitute for Lille after 58 minutes as he continues his return from a long injury lay-off. Unfortunately, the Portuguese youngster was unable to influence the result, and it finished 1-0 to Monaco.
Micah Richards chalked up 90 minutes for Fiorentina in their midweek win over Atalanta, but was an unused sub at the weekend as La Viola earned a creditable draw with Roma.