Week commencing December 19th: 

Allan Rodrigues de Souza, Hertha Berlin

Allan Souza dropped back to the Hertha bench for a Wednesday night clash with Darmstadt, although he would not emerge as Hertha brushed aside the bottom-placed side 2-0. With that, the Bundesliga begins its annual winter break, with Hertha, currently in third, next in action at Bayer Leverkusen on January 22nd.

Jon Flanagan, Burnley

Jon Flanagan returned to the Burnley first XI on Boxing Day, replacing the suspended Matt Lowton at right back. Flanagan played his second 90 minutes in the league this season, helping the Clarets to an important 1-0 win against relegation rivals Middlesbrough. Burnley face another must-win game on New Year’s Eve, when they host Sunderland.

Ryan Fulton, Chesterfield

 Chesterfield were in Boxing Day action, traveling to Rochdale for a League One clash. After missing last week’s 1-0 win over Bolton with an ankle injury, Ryan Fulton was named on the substitutes bench, with stand-in Lloyd Allinson rewarded for his clean sheet. Allinson saved an eighth minute penalty from Rochdale, but the hosts ended up brushing the Spireites aside with ease, winning 3-0. Fulton will hope to get back in the lineup when Chesterfield travel to Sam Hart’s Port Vale on Friday.

Sam Hart, Port Vale

Sam Hart continued his struggle for fitness this week, as he was not involved in the Port Vale squad for the 1-0 home defeat to Walsall. Vale manager Bruno Ribeiro announced his resignation after the game, with his side laying in 17th with 27 points from 23 games.

Lloyd Jones, Swindon Town

Swindon continued their struggles on Boxing Day, suffering a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Millwall. Lloyd Jones played the full 90 minutes.

Ryan Kent, Barnsley

Ryan Kent kept his place in the Barnsley starting XI for the Boxing Day visit of Blackburn. A player in good form, Kent had a slightly quiet game before being subbed off in the 73rd minute, but the Tykes still claimed a 2-0 win. After a poor patch, Barnsley have won four of their last five games, and now sit just six points outside the playoff spots.

Lazar Markovic, Sporting CP

Sporting travelled to Belenenses on Thursday night for a pre-Christmas Primeira Liga clash, winning 1-0 courtesy of a 93rd minute winner from Bas Dost. Lazar Markovic continued his absence with injury.

Danny Ward, Huddersfield Town

Huddersfield Town continued their good form of late, securing a 2-1 win over the struggling Nottingham Forest. Danny Ward missed out for the first time this season with an illness, with Joel Coleman making his Terriers league debut. Next up for Huddersfield is a clash with Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Eve. 

 

Week commencing December 26th:

Jon Flanagan, Burnley

After starting on Boxing Day, Jon Flanagan dropped out of the Burnley squad altogether for their New Year’s Eve clash with Sunderland, with Matt Lowton starting at right back as the Clarets beat David Moyes’s side 4-1. Flanagan celebrated his 24th birthday on January 1st, before once again being omitted from the Burnley squad for the 2-1 loss at Manchester City the next day.

Ryan Fulton, Chesterfield 

Having missed out in Chesterfield’s last two games, Ryan Fulton returned to the starting XI for the Spireites’ trip to Port Vale. Despite making three saves, Fulton could not prevent his side from falling to a 1-0 victory to ensure they spent the turn of the year in the League One relegation spots.

The Scotland U21 international continued between the posts for Chesterfield on Monday, and would keep his first clean sheet since September as the Spireites battled to a goalless draw with MK Dons. Fulton made three saves, including an excellent late stop on substitute Daniel Powell. 

Sam Hart, Port Vale

Sam Hart was not included in the squad for Port Vale’s 1-0 win over Ryan Fulton and Chesterfield. Hart returned to the bench for the Monday trip to Oldham Athletic, but did not make it on to the pitch, with the game finishing 0-0.

Lloyd Jones, Swindon Town

Lloyd Jones made his eighth straight league start for Swindon Town, but the Robins closed out 2016 in disappointing fashion with a 3-2 loss at MK Dons on Friday night. Jones’s starting streak continued on Monday as the centre back made his 50th professional appearance in Swindon’s 0-0 stalemate with Southend United. Jones had a good game to help the Robins to a clean sheet. Next up is a clash with Shrewsbury next Saturday.

Ryan Kent, Barnsley

A fantastic 2016 for Ryan Kent which began with his recall from loan at League One Coventry and Liverpool debut in the FA Cup against Exeter City and has finished with a strong run of form at Championship side Barnsley ended in somewhat disappointing fashion, as Kent was taken off after 55 minutes after a red card to defender Marc Roberts during Barnsley’s 2-2 draw against Birmingham City. Barnsley ended the year in ninth, six points back of the Championship playoff spots.

Kent again started for Barnsley as they travelled to Nottingham Forest on Monday, however the young winger was removed at half time after a quiet first half in which he was fouled several times, with the Tykes going on to win 1-0 courtesy of an 88th minute stunner from captain Conor Hourihane.

Lazar Markovic, Sporting CP

Lazar Markovic returned from injury with a place on Sporting Lisbon’s bench for the Taça de Liga cup clash against second division side Varzim, although he was not used by manager Jorge Jesus.

Danny Ward, Huddersfield Town

A 94th minute free kick from Nahki Wells saved Huddersfield from an embarrassing home defeat to relegation battlers Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Eve. Danny Ward returned to the starting XI after missing Boxing Day with illness, but was beaten by Blackburn’s only effort on goal, from former Premier League journeyman Danny Graham, before Wells’ late equalizer secured a 1-1 draw for the Terriers.

On Monday, Ward went untested altogether as Huddersfield secured a 1-0 win at Wigan Athletic, with the hosts managing no shots on target and Ward earning his sixth clean sheet of the season. Huddersfield now kick off their FA Cup campaign for the season on Saturday, hosting Sam Hart’s Port Vale.

Written by Jake Ware

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