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Patrick Bamford lighting up the scoring charts ... and Irish hopes?

Still our only picture of Bamford.
Still our only picture of Bamford.
Steve Bardens

Romelu Lukaku may be the talk of the town and the league, but he's not the only 20-year-old Chelsea loanee striker who's setting the scoring charts on fire.  Patrick Bamford, on loan at MK Dons for the second successive season, scored another brace today, bringing his total to four goals in his last two matches and 10 goals in just 13 appearances (12 starts).

Granted, Bamford's exploits are coming at a couple levels lower on the English pyramid and away from a national and international viewing audience, but they're quite impressive nonetheless.  His eight league goals - accounting for almost half of The Dons' total output for the season so far - have him tied for third, just one behind the nine scored by fellow breakout star Callum Wilson (Coventry) and future lower-league journeyman Dave Mooney (Leyton Orient).

His goals today almost single-handedly rescued a point for the visiting Dons, away at Gillingham.  Playing with just 10 men after a 13th minute red card and falling into a two-goal deficit less than a quarter hour into the match, Bamford dragged The Dons level with two goals in four minutes, first heading home a free kick then cooly converting a long ball over the top of the defense for the second.  While Gillingham would go on to win with a goal in the second half, Bamford's performance has put people on notice.  And not for the first time.

"We are no closer with Patrick but we haven't given up. We have plenty of our lads at MK Dons who can sway him our way. Samir Carruthers says he will get him in a headlock. We have Gary Waddock there as assistant coach at the club."

-Harry McCue, Ireland U21 caretaker manager; source: Herald

Bamford, born in England but eligible for Ireland thanks to his grandparents, represented The Green Army at the under-18 level before switching to England for whom he's scored a goal at the under-19 level.  But with the Irish still relying on 73-year-old Robbie Keane at the senior level, perhaps it wouldn't be the worst idea for young Patrick to switch allegiances (again).

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