While Patrick Bamford had planned to make his first-team breakthrough at Chelsea this season until the return of club legend Didier Drogba, the striker's performances over the first five weeks of his season-long loan at Middlesbrough have done little to prove his Premier League credentials.
Aged 21, Bamford enjoyed successful loan stints with MK Dons and Derby County last season, scoring eight goals in 21 Championship appearances for the Rams during the second-half of the campaign to help Steve McClaren's side to a third-place finish.
Returning to Chelsea after a 1-0 defeat to Queens Park Rangers in the play-off final at Wembley, the promising front man would go on to impress for the Blues during pre-season, prompting high expectations and suggestions that he could be handed a first-team spot for the 2014-15 campaign.
Instead being sent out for another second-tier spell in late-August under Jose Mourinho’s former Real Madrid assistant Aitor Karanka at Boro, Bamford has since struggled to showcase the form of last season, and the stats paint a concerning picture of his first six league games on Teesside.
|Goals||Total Shots||Shot Acc||Big Chance Missed||Assists||Key Passes||Total Passes||Pass Acc||Apps||Mins|
Restricted to cameo roles in his first three games, Bamford would score in his first start in a 4-0 win over Brentford on September 20, but would go goaless over his next two 90-minute outings before missing the recent Fulham clash through illness.
The club recording a 2-0 win in his absence, his dismal 7.14% shot accuracy suggests that he likely wasn't missed on the day, while a 69.35% pass accuracy is also a far from encouraging figure, especially if he isn't hitting the back of the net.
|Duels Won||Duel Success||Headers Won||Header Success||Touches||Unsuccessful Touch||Poss Lost||Dispossessed||Apps||Mins|
Elsewhere, Bamford has seemingly struggled to hold his own against Championship defenders this season, winning only 28.21% of his duels, while also proving largely wasteful in possession, losing the ball on a poor first touch on seven occasions and getting dispossessed on a further eight.
Currently on international duty with the England under-21 side, he certainly possess a great deal of potential but, for whatever reason, things just haven't clicked so far this season and, with fellow attackers Kike, Jelle Vossen and Lee Tomlin all competing for places, minutes could start to become sparse if he continues to misfire.
Signed from Nottingham Forest in January 2012 for £1.5 million, the Chelsea youngster is still to make his senior debut at Stamford Bridge and how he performs the rest of the way could prove crucial to determining whether he ultimately has a future with the big-spenders.