Crystal Palace assistant manager Keith Millen says Chelsea have been in touch regarding striker Patrick Bamford following reports the Premier League champions are considering cancelling his loan deal. Bamford spent last season on loan at Middlesbrough where he was named the Championship player of the season, form which encouraged Alan Pardew to take him on loan at Selhurst Park for the 2015-16 season.
However 22-year-old Bamford has played just 16 minutes of Premier League football since the switch, starting just one game in the Capital One Cup against Shrewsbury Town. His lack of appearances have prompted reports suggesting the club will cancel the arrangement and look for another club where Bamford will be guaranteed first team opportunities.
While he initially struggled with the step up from the Championship to the Premier League, the England Under-international has 'done nothing wrong' at Palace, according to assistant manager Millen. He adds the striker has been hindered by a knee problem since arriving at Selhurst Park.
"We have spoken to Chelsea, they keep in contact with us and really do analyse what is going on with their players," Millen told the South London Press. "Early on he found it quite a step up as far as the tempo and demands of the Premier League plus the way we play and train. He had to adapt. He also has a niggly problem with his knee which has not stopped him playing but has not been ideal."
In Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha, Bakary Sako and Jason Puncheon, Palace possess one of the quickest attacks in the league and Millen suggests Bamford's lack of blistering pace has contributed to his lack of game time.
"Without doubt he has got talent – he is a finisher who pops up in good position. He can score a goal. It is just whether Alan feels he can put him on as a number 9 or as a 10 in the pocket, sometimes we want that pace to run in behind, which isn't really Patrick's game.
"He's been a little bit unlucky and not done a lot wrong. It is just about the balance of players on the pitch because he can play number 9 or 10. It has been a good experience for him but shows the step up from the Championship is another level."