James Garner continues stellar form as Man Utd man aids Forest’s fifth straight win

The midfielder is tipped for a bright future at United and is currently starring for Steve Cooper’s side as they bid to earn promotion from the Championship via the play-offs

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Manchester United’s troublesome campaign suffered a fresh crisis following Saturday’s defeat at Everton.

The Red Devils chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League suffered a big blow with the loss at Goodison Park. United are now down in seventh and are six points adrift of Tottenham, who occupy the sought-after fourth place.

Away from United it was a mixed bag of a weekend for their clutch of players out on loan in the Football League. Over the summer, United sent a batch of players out on loan. Here, we look at how they got on during what was a busy weekend across the Championship and Leagues One and Two.

Ethan Laird

Winger Laird continues to endure a nightmare time of it at Bournemouth.

In the first half of the season Laird was a constant menace for Swansea City during 20 appearances in the Championship. But since swapping South Wales for Dorset he has seen a miserly 40 minutes of action. Those both came in sub appearances.

Ethan Laird has hardly featured since arriving on loan at Bournemouth

For the seventh game in a row, Laird was not involved as Bournemouth drew 0-0 with promotion rivals Sheffield United. He has only been in the Cherries’ matchday squad for one of those seven matches. Boss Scott Parker said recently of Laird’s exclusion: “He has been out for a long, long time. And you probably don’t really get a real gauge on that until you get into the game.”

James Garner

Garner’s performances in recent months have had pundits and Nottingham Forest fans purring.

The midfielder has been a key part of the Reds’ rise up the Championship table. Under Steve Cooper they have been on a superb run and sit third in the table, having won five on the spin and with their sights perhaps even set on chasing down second-placed Bournemouth.

Saturday saw Garner play 90 minutes as Forest sealed a routine 2-0 win over Midlands rivals Birmingham City. The 21-year-old made 66 touches, including three key passes. One of those was an assist for Scott McKenna, who grabbed Forest’s second goal with a header from Garner’s corner. Defensively Garner chipped in too, with two interceptions and a clearance to his name.

Tahith Chong and Teden Mengi

Both United youngsters missed out for Birmingham in the City Ground loss. Mengi has missed three games due to a hamstring injury and he is back at United receiving treatment.

Tahith Chong is out with a hamstring twinge but could be back for Birmingham City’s final few games

As for Chong, he went off injured in last week’s 1-0 win over West Bromwich. Prior to the Forest trip, Bowyer said: “Tahith, unfortunately, has tweaked his hamstring a little bit. When he came off [vs West Brom] he was saying, ‘Nah, nah, leave me on for another five minutes’ and I was like ‘no, no’. Thankfully I didn’t listen to Tahith and hopefully we’ll get him back for the last couple of games.”

Chong, who has already missed a large chunk of the season after undergoing thigh surgery, will be eager to put himself in the shop window during the run-in after the Mirror revealed he is one of six United players poised to depart Old Trafford once his contract expires in the summer.

Di’Shon Bernard

Defender Bernard has had a frustrating time of late. Saturday saw him sit unused on the bench as Hull City clinched a crucial 1-0 win at Middlesbrough.

That win ensured Championship safety for the Tigers, who cannot be caught by the sides currently in the bottom three. Bernard has now been an unused substitute for seven consecutive matches, with his last start coming in February.

Ethan Galbraith

Northern Ireland midfielder Galbraith was restricted to another brief cameo as Doncaster boosted their League One survival hopes with a 2-0 win over Crewe.

The victory sees Rovers move to within five points of safety, whilst Crewe become the first side in the EFL to be relegated this season. Galbraith came off the bench on 84 minutes and registered just three touches, albeit one of them was defined as a key pass.

Nathan Bishop

Goalkeeper Bishop had a quiet afternoon as Mansfield thrashed sorry Scunthorpe 4-0 to maintain their promotion hopes. The United stopper barely had to break sweat, with the hosts failing to register a single shot on target. Nigel Clough’s side are now up to fourth and just three points behind third-placed Port Vale with a game in hand.

Reece Devine

Reece Devine returned to action for Walsall after almost two months on the sidelines

Defender Devine made his first appearance for Walsall in nearly two months during their 1-0 loss at Rochdale. Devine had been out since early February with a hamstring complaint but came through the 90 minutes unscathed.

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