Patrick Bamford has yet to play a competitive match for Chelsea since signing in 2012, but his fortunes this season have mirrored his parent club's just the same. From being named the Championship's Player of the Season (while on loan with Middlesbrough) to getting lost on the Crystal Palace bench while on loan there, Bamford's looking forward to a much better second half to the current season. Just like Chelsea! Could there be a version of the future where these two paths not only run in parallel but actually overlap? That's what the Mail's thinking...
Chelsea are prepared to give Patrick Bamford a chance in their first-team squad. [...] It was expected that Bamford would be sent on loan elsewhere in January with Bournemouth keen but Guus Hiddink is considering using him at Chelsea this season.
The Mail goes on to claim that Hiddink has sounded out his former assistant Ray Wilkins about Bamford's prospects, and the former Chelsea great has given a glowing review. There's apparently a "swell of support" for the young man inside the club.
Given third striker Radamel Falcao's ongoing injury issues and the cloudy future of also oft-injured backup striker Loic Remy, who may be headed out on loan or permanently this month, there is certainly a possible version of events where young Bamford may have a role to play. This weekend's FA Cup match against lower league Scunthorpe could in fact be a perfect opportunity do so, though if Bamford does play, he will be prevented from going on loan the rest of the season. The now 22-year-old actually faced the visitors back in 2013 when he was on loan with MK Dons, though he did not manage to get on the scoresheet.
With Diego Costa back in the goals, but all his backups either struggling with injury or possibly looking to leave (even pseudo-striker Eden Hazard's crocked), this could be the perfect storm of opportunity for Bamfordinho to step in, step up, and step onto the main stage.