Wolves midfielder Karl Henry is relieved his hamstring injury is not as serious as he first feared despite facing three to four weeks out of action. Former skipper Henry suffered the setback during the first half of Sunday’s 5-0 defeat by Fulham at Craven Cottage. After undergoing a scan on Monday afternoon which confirmed the extent of the injury, Henry is now hoping to be back in action before the end of the month. He said: “I sprinted and bust a gut to try and stop a cross but, as I stretched, I must have over-stretched and felt something in my hamstring. It’s done now but, having had the scan, it’s not as bad as I first thought it might be which is really good news.” Henry added: “I’ve spoken to other people who have had hamstring problems and Matt Jarvis was out for 12 weeks once which is the worst case scenario. “It’s looking like three to four weeks so hopefully I can make it back in three weeks and be back fairly soon. “I’ve had a couple of injuries here and there at Wolves and usually impact injuries or the weight of someone’s leg on my knee ligament. “It’s the first soft muscle tissue injury I’ve had and hopefully it’s the last. “I’ll miss at least a couple of games which isn’t great, particularly the Blackburn one coming up on Saturday.” Press Association
The Dessie Hughes-trained Our Conor, Paul Nicholls’ Far West and Nicky Henderson’s Rolling Star are the three main market fancies and all appear. As well as Our Conor the Irish challenge could also be supplemented by Willie Mullins’ Blood Cotil and Diakali, among others. All the major ante-post fancies are among 21 acceptors for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday. Gary Moore’s Chris Pea Green, the John Quinn duo of Kashmir Peak and Hidden Justice, and John Ferguson’s Grade One winner Ruacana are all there. Nicholls has also left in Lac Fontana and Sametegal, while Henderson could also run Vasco Du Ronceray. Mullins has given himself plenty of options in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle on the same afternoon. He has one of the ante-post favourites in Ballycasey and has also left in his Supreme Novices’ Hurdle candidate Un Atout, red-hot Neptune favourite Pont Alexandre and last year’s bumper winner Champagne Fever. Mozoltov and Inish Island are others options for Mullins, while Noel Meade’s Road To Riches, Charles Byrnes’ Our Vinnie and Henry De Bromhead’s Sizing Gold give Ireland a strong hand. At Fishers Cross is leading the home defence for Welsh trainer Rebecca Curtis, while African Gold, Cloudy Copper, Gevrey Chambertin, who could run in the Martin Pipe on the same day, Coneygree and Utopie Des Bordes are also among the remaining possibles. Jonjo O’Neill’s Neptune-bound Taquin De Seuill was the biggest absentee. Press Association
Press Association The Turkey midfielder joined the Reds on a season-long loan from Real Madrid last summer but he made only 12 appearances before the deal was terminated in January. The 24-year-old claims he was played out of position without explanation by Rodgers and is now glad not to be playing under him. Sahin, now on loan at Borussia Dortmund, told Spanish newspaper AS: “Brendan Rodgers wanted me to play as a 10. But I do not play behind the forwards.” He added: “I spoke with him and asked him why I was playing there. It is not my real position. The boss could not answer me… still, I am not sorry about it. “To play in the red jersey and be in Anfield is something marvellous. “Maybe if I had not gone there I would not have been able to return to Borussia Dortmund. For that, I am happy. “But I have left Brendan Rodgers, thanks be to God.” Sahin made his name at Dortmund before joining Real in 2011. He said: “I feel well physically and mentally, everything is perfect. After returning to Germany, I feel much better.” Nuri Sahin has criticised Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers following his failure to make an impression at Anfield.
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce underlined his desire to keep Carroll beyond the end of the season, when his loan is due to expire. Carroll has struggled to live up to his billing, both at Liverpool and West Ham, as a £35million striker, but the way in which he terrorised Jonas Olsson at Upton Park was reminiscent of the kind of bruising display he used to put in every week for Newcastle. The Gateshead-born hitman now hopes he has proved a few of his doubters wrong. “I was putting myself about and got two goals, so that’s what I like to think I’m about,” he told West Ham TV. “Obviously I like to score goals, so getting two shows that I’ve got it. “I’m feeling good with the lads and everyone is coming together and we’re playing well at home, “It was a great win. The lads worked hard and I got my two goals and we got the three points, so it was a great day.” Andy Carroll hopes his impressive brace against West Brom will persuade Roy Hodgson that he deserves an England recall this summer. Press Association Carroll powered a bullet header past Ben Foster to put the hosts 1-0 and he then scored an exquisite volley, watching James Collins’ long ball down on to his right boot before firing home first time, to seal the win following Gary O’Neil’s strike. Carroll featured heavily in England’s European Championship campaign, but a drop in form and fitness meant he was excluded from the latest World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro, but he said: “I hope to play in every game for England but I’ve haven’t been picked, so I’ve just got to work hard here at West Ham and hopefully I’ll be involved next time.”
He added: “I want to thank the staff for their hard work, our fans for their support of the club, and wish them all well for the future.” Llambias, who has worked closely with United owner Mike Ashley since he took over the club in 2007, has polarised opinions of the club’s fans during his time at St James’ Park. He has overseen the sales of some of the club’s most popular players, such as Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan, while also being involved in controversial decisions such as the one to appoint Kinnear as manager in 2008 and changing the name of the club’s famous ground. There have been positives too – the club’s smart recruitment and wage policy was heralded when they finished fifth in the 2012-13 season, but a troubled last campaign stirred things up once more. Kinnear’s return to the club, which he announced on Sunday but the club did not confirm until Tuesday, caused outrage among Newcastle fans, with the 66-year-old giving a radio interview during which he insulted them. He also pronounced a number of first-team player’s names wrong, while also referring to Llambias as Llambeeze. The ex-Wimbledon manager correctly called Llambias’ resignation, before claiming to have replaced him, even though Llambias’ job was a different one. He told talkSPORT on Monday: “I only signed the contract last night. So that was someone speaking to Mike but it’s been ongoing for the last three weeks. Derek Llambeeze was the director of football. Derek has resigned now.” Derek Llambias has resigned from his post as managing director at Newcastle, the club have announced. Llambias’ resignation comes a day after Joe Kinnear was confirmed as the club’s director of football on a three-year deal. In a short statement on the club’s official website, posted 20 minutes before the release of the 2013-14 season fixtures, Llambias said: “I have had an incredible journey during my five years at the club, including some challenging times. I will reflect with great fondness on my time in the north east and, in me, Newcastle United have a lifelong supporter.” Press Association
After one week of training in his second spell as Chelsea boss, Mourinho expressed satisfaction at his players’ work ethic and played down links with Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney and Christian Benteke of Aston Villa as “rumours”. Mourinho named two sides for Wednesday’s first match of his return, the pre-season contest with Singha All-Stars in Bangkok, and appears set to begin with the same four-two-three-one formation favoured by predecessor Rafael Benitez and which delivered the Europa League trophy in May. The ‘Special One’, who returned to Stamford Bridge last month after a near six-year absence, hopes for victory at the Rajamangala Stadium. “Winning is part of a culture: if you can do that even in friendly matches, we have to do it,” he said. “I don’t like to lose, the players don’t like to lose. They are competing fantastically in training sessions, and against several players, so my boys will try and get a result. “To lose is not a drama. It doesn’t change anything in the teams. But it’s not nice. We don’t like that. It’s not the most important thing to get a result, but we want to win.” Manchester United lost to Singha All-Stars in Bangkok last weekend and were without Rooney, the striker returning home with a hamstring injury as Chelsea arrived in Thailand. Rooney is among the players linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in recent weeks and Mourinho has expressed his admiration for the striker. The Portuguese, though, insists he is pleased with the make-up of his squad, with 25 players at his disposal in Bangkok, plus those who were involved in the Confederations Cup that are still to return to club duty. “At this moment I’m so happy with the people I have here that I’m not thinking about other players,” Mourinho added. “If I have to think about some players, I have to think about my players who are on holiday period and still have to join us on July 28. Press Association Jose Mourinho hopes to immediately instill a winning culture at Chelsea and is happy with the composition of his squad. “The first part of my job is to get the best from these players, try to push the young boys to the levels they can reach, and to try to make a real team. After that, we will see. “This is a period where the big clubs, and the managers of the big clubs, are connected with every player. “Until August 31 (and the close of the transfer window), that’s the old story in football. Rumours and rumours and rumours. At the end of the day, after so many rumours, some things come true. Until August 31 we will see if anyone can improve our squad, but my focus and ambition is to work with these guys.”
The 25-year-old, who scored twice in last season’s Capital One Cup final win over Bradford, had a year remaining on his previous deal but was delighted to agree a new contract which ties him to the Swans until July 2017. Dyer told the club’s official website: “I’ve been here four years now and I wanted to stay at Swansea. “I didn’t even think about going anywhere else, so it is nice to get it all sorted.” The former Southampton wide man, whose contribution to Swansea’s Wembley triumph saw him land the Alan Hardaker Trophy for the man of the match, initially moved to south Wales on loan in 2009 and quickly became a first-team regular. His form since the club secured promotion to the Premier League has won many plaudits and he was briefly touted as a possible England call-up. Despite increased competition for places with the arrival of Pablo Hernandez last term, Dyer still made 44 appearances in all competitions as Swansea enjoyed the finest season in their 101-year history. And with their Europa League campaign already under way – Swansea play Malmo in the second leg of their third-qualifying-round tie on Thursday – Dyer is looking forward to the next stage in the club’s development. “We’ve made a lot of progression here as a club, and I feel I have progressed too,” he said. “I am still trying to improve as a footballer and I feel I can do that here. “I think the club can continue to improve. We have made some quality signings and the squad strength is very strong now. “You look at the potential of the club when you are making key decisions like this, and I don’t see the club going downhill in anyway. I can only see it going up and up.” Swansea winger Nathan Dyer has committed his long-term future to the Barclays Premier League club by signing a new four-year deal at the Liberty Stadium. Press Association
Returning Lions Tommy Bowe and Rory Best made the perfect return to club colours as Ulster racked up their first bonus point victory of the campaign in a 32-13 RaboDirect PRO12 win over Treviso. Press Association Ulster continued to dominate, though, and got their reward when Paddy Jackson landed a 10th minute penalty. However, Treviso hit back after Ulster were penalised at a scrum and Mat Berquist levelled the scores after 16 minutes. Five minutes later Ulster were back in front after a marvellous burst from Payne created the space to put Luke Marshall in under the posts and, after the TMO was again consulted for a forward pass, the score was awarded. Jackson landed the easy conversion. Seven minutes later, Allen this time clearly made it over the line after a great Ulster surge down the right which then saw Tom Court, Rory Best and Chris Henry all assist before Payne put Allen clear. Jackson missed the tricky conversion and though there were no further scores in the remainder of the half, Ulster looked very secure with their 15-3 interval lead. However, Paul Marshall’s poor knock-on from the restart gave Treviso an easy three points from Alberto Di Bernardo to cut Ulster’s lead to 15-6. The hosts regrouped and after another great attacking move, Jackson’s cross-kick to Bowe was fumbled over the line by Ludovico Nitoglia – presenting the returning Lions winger with the easiest of scores which Jackson failed to convert. His fellow Lions tourist Best then crossed for the bonus point score two minutes after the hour mark but, yet again, Jackson failed to slot between the uprights. Instead of taking total control, Ulster again did themselves damage when replacement Lewis Stevenson was shown yellow for infringing at the breakdown. Despite some heroic defence, the inevitable try came when replacement Robert Barbieri barged over with 10 minutes to go and Di Bernado’s conversion made it 25-13. Then after conceding nothing further before Stevenson’s return, Ulster finished strongly with Allen bagging his second score in the game’s final move. Jackson managed to convert. Winger Michael Allen contributed two excellent scores while Ireland international Luke Marshall also crossed the Treviso line, with Paddy Jackson kicking two conversions and a penalty. The home side nearly scored within the first two minutes after Bowe released Allen on the right only for the TMO to rule the score out, as was the case a minute later when Ulster drove over the line from a lineout.
Coates told the Stoke Sentinel: “This latest story was certainly news to me and I suspect it is just a bit of speculation. That’s my guess, anyway, and we have certainly had no approach. “He is a top goalkeeper, so this kind of thing is going to happen. We are just concerned that he concentrates on playing for us and doing what he has been doing up to now. “It is important we keep him for the rest of the season. It is an important season and he is a key player. He certainly hasn’t made any noises.” Reports this week had suggested City were keen on signing Begovic, with Joe Hart potentially moving in the other direction on loan. Begovic has been Stoke’s star performer over the last 18 months and was heavily linked with a number of the Premier League’s big guns in the summer. Stoke chairman Peter Coates has dismissed talk of Manchester City signing goalkeeper Asmir Begovic as speculation and stressed the club are determined to hang onto the Bosnia international until at least the end of the season. Press Association
Cashman, 65, is a photographer for the Golfing Union of Ireland who has known Harrington for 35 years and was in the gallery following his fellow Irishman while in South Africa on holiday. Harrington, who carded a second consecutive 71 to finish two under par, said: “Ronan felt like he needed to throw up and as he went out on the course he thought it would clear a bit but it got worse and worse and for him to give up….I don’t think I have ever seen him do that in any circumstances. “He felt like he was getting in the way and when we finally said goodbye he could not physically stand up. I really did feel bad because he was lying there but thankfully there was a friend of ours out there who holidays down here and he took over. “He started off like he was carrying bows and arrows but by the end he had the double-strap going (on the bag) and was using all the lingo. “It’s amazing how much caddies do for you and it gives you a new appreciation for what they do out there. I know now why we pay them the big bucks!” Cashman, who has never caddied before but is a member with Flood at the Heritage in Ireland, said: “The bag was lighter than I expected. It was very comfortable. “I saw Ronan on the range and he looked awful. I said if you need help, call me. They sent out a replacement caddie but Padraig asked if I would be happy to continue and I was. I told him I wouldn’t give him a line or a club but he was so easy to work for. “I’ve given him my phone number if he needs me but hopefully Ronan will be okay.” Flood, who is also Harrington’s brother-in-law, was suffering from food poisoning before the round and eventually had to call it quits on the sixth hole of Durban Country Club. He was taken to the clubhouse to be treated by a doctor and is expected to be fit to resume his duties on Saturday, although stand-in Pat Cashman has offered his services if required. Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington hailed the skills of his stand-in caddie after regular bagman Ronan Flood needed medical treatment during the second round of the Volvo Golf Champions on Friday. Press Association