Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford provided a timely reminder of his qualities with an impressive outing for the club's U21 side on 19 January. The 22-year-old netted a brace during a comprehensive 5-0 thrashing of West London rivals Queens Park Rangers at Cobham Training Ground, a performance that could convince first-team boss Guus Hiddink that he has a role to play between now and the end of the season.
Bamford proved an enormous success during a season-long loan at Middlesbrough last term, helping Aitor Karanka's side to reach the Championship play-off final with 19 goals in 44 total appearances. Such strong form led to suggestions that the player would be handed an opportunity to prove his potential in the Premier League and Crystal Palace eventually won the race for his signature.
Despite Alan Pardew initially hailing the move as a "coup", however, Bamford struggled badly at Selhurst Park and failed to register a single top-flight start before the agreement was prematurely terminated in January. Although Chelsea have appeared light of options in the final third of late with Loic Remy only recently returned from a calf injury and Radamel Falcao still sidelined with an ongoing thigh problem, Hiddink has previously stated that the England U21 international will remain in the youth set-up for the moment due to a lack of senior football at Palace.
The Mail have since suggested that QPR are eager to take him on loan. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink recently lost influential top scorer Charlie Austin to Southampton for a cut-price fee and the club are believed to be keen to recruit two replacements having already completed the signing of Conor Washington from Peterborough.
Charly Musonda is another Chelsea youngster to have been linked with QPR and he also impressed against them in that U21 clash, opening the scoring with a first-half free-kick.
The hosts had a number of other first-team hopefuls on display, with the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Bertrand Traore appearing alongside summer signing Baba Rahman.
Former Everton and Bournemouth loanee Christian Atsu also registered on the scoresheet with a thumping late strike amid rumours that both he and forgotten centre-back Papy Djilobodji are set to join Espanyol.