Mario Balotelli helps AC Milan beat Chievo 1-0

Balotelli inspires Milan to victory over Chievo as race for Champions League spots hots up

PUBLISHED:

20:02 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:02 GMT, 30 March 2013

Mario Balotelli helped AC Milan take a huge step towards securing Champions League football by playing a major role in the Rossoneri’s win over Chievo Verona.

Milan moved provisionally into second place in Serie A after they won 1-0 and Fiorentina and Roma both lost.

The win lifts Milan six points above fourth-place Fiorentina as the race for next seasons Champions League hots up.

Helping hand: Mario Balotelli played his part in Milan's win

Helping hand: Mario Balotelli played his part in Milan's win

Beating his man: Balotelli skips past Luca Rigoni

Beating his man: Balotelli skips past Luca Rigoni

Celebration time: AC Milan's midfielder Riccardo Montolivo celebrates with Balotelli and teammates after scoring

Celebration time: AC Milan's midfielder Riccardo Montolivo celebrates with Balotelli and teammates after scoring

Chievo goalkeeper Christian Puggioni could only parry Balotelli's fierce free kick and Riccardo Montolivo was quickest to react and smashed home the rebound.

Dario Dainelli was sent off for Chievo following a second booking 13 minutes from time.

Arsene Wenger hails Gervinho after Arsenal beat Reading

Wenger hails Gervinho as Arsenal stay in the hunt for Champions League place

By
Jim Van Wijk, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

20:44 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:44 GMT, 30 March 2013

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed the confident display of Gervinho after the Ivory Coast forward set the Gunners on the way to a 4-1 win over relegation-battlers Reading which kept them in the hunt for Champions League qualification.

Gervinho has often cut a controversial figure among supporters following a string of frustrating displays following an 11million move from Lille in July 2011.

However, the 25-year-old was on the money this afternoon, opening the scoring on 11 minutes and having a hand in everything positive as Arsenal eventually broke the Royals stubborn resistance again at the start of the second half when Santi Cazorla sweeping home. Olivier Giroud added a third following a quick break by Gervinho.

Key role: Gervinho was praised by Arsene Wenger following his performance against Reading

Key role: Gervinho was praised by Arsene Wenger following his performance against Reading

Hal Robson-Kanu headed in a consolation for Nigel Adkins' men, but there was to be no recovery to mark their new manager's first match in charge as Mikel Arteta's penalty made sure Arsenal closed up on Chelsea in the race for fourth-spot and also remained within striking distance of Tottenham, on whom they hold a match in hand.

'Gervinho's performance was very strong. He was always dangerous, always looked like he could score, gave assists and scored himself,' Wenger said.

'I believe that sometimes Gervinho has lost confidence because he played in a very negative atmosphere during a period. Strikers need confidence, and [with] his game, even more.

Winning feeling: Gervinho celebrates with team mate Bacary Sagna after the 4-1 victory

Winning feeling: Gervinho celebrates with team mate Bacary Sagna after the 4-1 victory

'He was always taking the ball and going forward, and provoking. When you lose confidence, that is a very dangerous game then.

'When he has found the confidence back, he's a very dangerous player.

'At the African Nations Cup, for me he was the best striker there. He is the type of player who is difficult to find, because they always go at people.'

Wenger was pleased with the final result for his side, who have now won six of their last eight league games and also won 2-0 away over Bayern Munich in the Champions League, although still bowing out of Europe.

'I enjoyed our technical side, our creative side, our spirit and how disciplined and focused we were,' said Wenger.

Mind the gap: Arsene Wenger fighting for Champions League qualification

Mind the gap: Arsene Wenger fighting for Champions League qualification

'The regret you have is that there were more goals in this game than the number of goals we scored.

'Overall, it's a good basis to finish the season well. Let's just keep that spirit, that attitude and play the football we want to play.'

Wenger called for his side to keep their performances high over the run-in, with little margin for error if they are to gatecrash the top four once again.

'What we do is we look at the table and we are still behind Chelsea and Tottenham. We are not in a calculation mode,' he said.

'We can just win our next game and continue to do what we do at the moment.

'We are on a run so let's take care of the quality of our game and that run. After, we'll see where we stand.

On target: Gervinho was on the scoresheet

On target: Gervinho was on the scoresheet

'It (Champions League qualification) will be less predictable than it was predicted. We have a word to say in that and we want to give our best to do it.'

For Reading, meanwhile, the outlook is not so positive as the defeat sent them bottom of the table on goal difference, some seven points adrift of safety.

However, with a home clash against former club Southampton, Adkins is not about to throw in the towel just yet.

He said: 'We have had a bit of a fragmented week with the change, and players away on international duty, trying to get to grips with where we want to go and what to do is going to be challenging.

'We wanted to get something here, but didn't. Arsenal kept the ball very well.

'We will analyse it now, debrief back with the players, take the lessons from it and work very hard on the training ground for the next one.

'You can't change everything straight away, but we will all work hard together to give us a chance in the next game.'

Adkins added: 'The spirit is there in the group, and all we can do is take it one match at a time – there here and now is putting this one to bed, working hard over the course of the week for the next one.'

WTA Sony Open – Miami: Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova 4-6 6-3 6-0 in the final

Serena storms back to sink Sharapova in three sets and lift Sony Open title in Miami

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

20:14 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:39 GMT, 30 March 2013

Serena Williams lifted her sixth Sony Open title after magnificently bouncing back to see off Maria Sharapova in the final in Miami.

The world No 1 was edged out in a tight first set but lost three games thereafter as she stormed to a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory and her 11th straight win over Sharapova.

The American has passed Steffi Graf's number of titles in this competition and became the oldest female champion at the tournament, while Sharapova has now been defeated in every one of her five final appearances in Miami.

Champion: Serena Williams holds the Sony Open trophy aloft in Miami

Champion: Serena Williams holds the Sony Open trophy aloft in Miami

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

History: The world No 1 became the oldest female winner of the tournament

Dominant: Williams beat Maria Sharapova (left) for the 11th time in a row

Dominant: Williams beat Maria Sharapova (left) for the 11th time in a row

After playing flawless tennis for an hour, Sharapova began to miss with her serve, and Williams dominated rallies with her power.

Sharapova built her lead by keeping Williams on the defensive, and she kissed the line with a winner on consecutive points to break for a 3-2 advantage in the second set.

But then came the turnaround. Williams began to capitalise on Sharapova's tentative second serve and broke back to love before taking advantage of two double faults by Sharapova to break again for a 5-3 lead.

Strong start: Sharapova edged ahead after winning a tight first set 6-4

Strong start: Sharapova edged ahead after winning a tight first set 6-4

Rampant: The American lost only 10 points in the final set to beat her Russian opponent

Rampant: The American lost only 10 points in the final set to beat her Russian opponent

Repeat: Williams became the first No 1 seed to lift the women's title in Miami since she won nine years ago

Repeat: Williams became the first No 1 seed to lift the women's title in Miami since she won nine years ago

Williams lost only 10 points in the final set and closed out the victory with a service winner.

'Maria definitely pushed me – she did a really great job today,' Williams said after he win.

'I look forward to our next matches – it's going to be really fun for the fans and for us and for everyone.'

Williams became the first No 1 seed to win the women's title since she was champion nine years ago.

Sharapova, who won the title in Indian Wells at the beginning of March, said: 'It's obviously been a really nice month.

'It's disappointing to end it like this but Serena played a great match and I'm sure we'll play a few more times this year.'

David Moyes: We"re contenders in the race for Champions League after Stoke victory

We're contenders in the race for Champions League, insists Moyes with rivals firmly in his sights after victory over Stoke

By
Carl Markham, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

21:02 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

21:03 GMT, 30 March 2013

Everton manager David Moyes believes his side are still well in the reckoning for Champions League qualification after a 1-0 victory at home to Stoke.

The match was decided by Kevin Mirallas' scintillating 70-yard run and finish in the first half and built on the morale-boosting win over champions Manchester City a fortnight ago.

It lifted the Toffees to within four points of fourth-placed Chelsea and, with Tottenham in third to play next week, there is further opportunity to put a dent in their rivals' chances.

Form: David Moyes' side recorded their third straight league win on Saturday

Form: David Moyes' side recorded their third straight league win on Saturday

'I am nearly as pleased with that result as I was with the one against Manchester City a fortnight ago,' said Moyes, whose side had not beaten the Potters since October 2010.

'We have not got a great record against Stoke so it was great to get over the line.

'It is great that we are going into April and people are still talking about Everton having a chance of a Champions League spot.

'Okay, it is a big call and a long way away but we are in with a chance and what we will try to do is finish as high up the table as we can.

'We believe we are in there. I don't think we have ever been out of it.

Stunning: Kevin Mirallas ran 70 yards before slotting the ball past Asmir Begovic to give Everton the lead

Stunning: Kevin Mirallas ran 70 yards before slotting the ball past Asmir Begovic to give Everton the lead

Congratulations: Mirallas celebrates his wonder goal with team-mate Victor Anichebe

Congratulations: Mirallas celebrates his wonder goal with team-mate Victor Anichebe

'We are hanging in there and are underdogs in terms of getting it, but we have those teams to play and we will go and give it a go.

'We have been close all season, we have matched most teams this year so we will try to do it again.
“Spurs are in a much stronger and healthier position than us, but we have been there or thereabouts most of the season and we'll not be too far away.'

Moyes was grateful to Mirallas' sixth goal of the season, but only his third in the league, for securing the three points.

'It was a great individual goal,' added the Scot.

Sublime: Kevin Mirallas (centre) was praised after his 'great goal secured all three points for the Toffees

Sublime: Kevin Mirallas (centre) was praised after his 'great goal secured all three points for the Toffees

'Sometimes against Stoke that is what you need, an individual who can take on people and thankfully he did it from about 70 yards out.'

Stoke have now won just once in 12 league matches and are only four points above the relegation zone despite their 13th-place position.

'I thought the last two away games, Newcastle and here, we have deserved something out of the game and it is just disappointing,' he said.

'You can't fault the players' commitment. I thought we played some good football at times and I don't think the players get the credit for the football we do play.

'We had chances but the disappointing thing is we haven't put them in the back of the net.

'I have been managing for a long time. I know for a fact, in our fifth year in the Premier League, our performances have been much better than the previous four years away from home but we haven't got the results.

'It has been that sort of season for us where we've been closer to winning games and being in games than we have before.

'What we need more than anything is a break – or to play badly and win a game.'

Roberto Mancini praises Vincent Kompany as Manchester City thrash Newcastle

Kompany is key for City: Mancini pleased to have his captain back from injury

By
Simon Stone, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

21:02 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

21:02 GMT, 30 March 2013

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini hailed the influence of captain courageous Vincent Kompany after the Blues romped to their biggest Premier League win since November.

On his first appearance after two months out with a calf problem, Kompany netted City's third in a 4-0 triumph over Newcastle that consolidates their second-placed position in the table.

Little wonder Mancini was so concerned at Kompany being called into World Cup action for Belgium last week, given his obvious importance to the Blues.

Mobbed: Manchester City's players celebrate with Vincent Kompany after he scored his side's third goal against Newcastle

Mobbed: Manchester City's players celebrate with Vincent Kompany after he scored his side's third goal against Newcastle

'Vinnie is important for us,' said Mancini. 'We played without him for 60 days, which was very bad for us, like when we lost Yaya Toure for a month. 'There are some players that are very important and if they don't play for three, four, five games it is a big problem.'

Kompany turned home a Gareth Barry strike at the start of the second half to snuff out any hope of a Newcastle revival after Carlos Tevez – with his seventh in six games – and David Silva had put the hosts in command before half-time.

Yaya Toure increased City's lead before the end and with Sergio Aguero also returning from a knee injury, the Blues will head into their April 8 Manchester derby meeting with United at Old Trafford in confident mood, even if their Premier League title defence is almost over.

'It is impossible we can win the title but it is important to finish the season well,” said Mancini, whose side will discover their FA Cup semi-final opponents on Monday when Chelsea entertain United.

'If we play like this we won't have a problem in the last couple of months of the season.

'We want that second place and to win the FA Cup semi-final.'

Mancini confirmed defender Matija Nastastic had been ruled out by a foot injury sustained on international duty, although the Serbian is not expected to be missing for long.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew admitted his side were second best, a situation that would have been the same even if they had been at full strength.

'I think we might have struggled against that Manchester City side even with my best team,” he said. “Kompany gives them an assurance and a presence at the back that they might have been missing in other games.

Taking the applause: Kompany claps the City fans as he is substituted

Taking the applause: Kompany claps the City fans as he is substituted

Key man: Roberto Mancini is pleased to have Kompany back in the side

Key man: Roberto Mancini is pleased to have Kompany back in the side

'I don't think City are going to win the league and in the first half they had an assurance about them that comes from playing with no pressure.'

The same cannot be said of Newcastle. Whilst Thursday's Europa League quarter-final with Benfica sprinkles some stardust on their season, the spectre of relegation is growing.

The Magpies are now just three points above the drop zone and Pardew accepts they have some scrapping ahead of them if his side are to preserve their top-flight status.

'I don't think we ever thought we were out of it,' said Pardew.

Bayern Munich hit Hamburg for NINE to continue procession to 23rd Bundesliga title

Majestic Bayern hit Hamburg for NINE to continue Bundesliga title procession

PUBLISHED:

20:51 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:51 GMT, 30 March 2013

Brutal Bayern Munich produced a nine-goal annihilation of Hamburg to move to within one win of wrapping up the Bundesliga title.

Bayern smashed their opponents 9-2 at the Allianz Arena with Claudio Pizarro scoring four times and Arjen Robben twice.

Xherdan Shaqiri, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Franck Ribery were also on target for the rampant hosts, who led 5-0 at the break and refused to let up.

Four-some: Claudio Pizarro netted four times for the soon-to-be German champions

Four-some: Claudio Pizarro (centre) netted four times for the soon-to-be German champions

Sensational: Bayern dismantled their opponents with ease during tonight's nine goal drubbing

Sensational: Bayern dismantled their opponents with ease during tonight's nine goal drubbing

They did it all without leading scorer Mario Mandzukic, who was left on the bench ahead of Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final meeting with Juventus.

Hamburg's goals, from Jeffrey Bruma and Heiko Westermann, made it 8-1 and then 9-2 and did nothing to ease the misery.

The win moved Bayern 20 points clear of Borussia Dortmund with seven games to go and victory at Eintracht Frankfurt next Saturday will wrap up the title.

Dortmund kept Bayern waiting for another week at least by winning 2-1 at Stuttgart

Lukasz Piszczek gave Dortmund the lead in the 29th minute, but Alexandru Maxim's first Bundesliga goal brought the Swabians level before a red card to Georg Niedermeier tipped the scales back in Dortmund's favour.

Robert Lewandowski grabbed the winner eight minutes from time.

Bayer Leverkusen kept a strong hold on third with a 4-1 win at Fortuna Dusseldorf.

How many Arjen Robben scored two of the nine goals

How many Arjen Robben (right) scored two of the nine goals

Two goals apiece for Stefan Kiessling and Andre Schurrle ensured Leverkusen maintained a six-point cushion over Schalke.

The fifth goal in the game also came from a visiting player, Daniel Schwaab's own goal all Fortuna had to show for their efforts.

Schalke scored three times in the final 20 minutes to beat relegation-threatened Hoffenheim 3-0.

Marco Hoger broke the deadlock in the 71st minute before two substitutes, Raffael and Teemu Pukki, wrapped up the victory.

Mainz dropped three points behind Schalke as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen, despite going ahead after 12 seconds.

Adam Szalai gave Mainz a flying start, but Aaron Hunt earned Bremen a point.

Max Kruse scored twice as Freiburg moved ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach in the race for Europa League qualification with a 2-0 win.

Third-bottom Augsburg failed to improve their chances of avoiding the drop as they lost 2-0 at home to Hannover.

Konstantin Rausch scored both goals in the second half.

Lionel Messi breaks another record by completing stunning scoring circle against every La Liga team

Messi breaks another record by completing stunning scoring circle against every La Liga team

By
Pete Jenson

PUBLISHED:

19:16 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 30 March 2013

Lionel Messi extended his five-month
scoring run to 19 games to became the first player ever to score in
consecutive matches against every other team in the division.

The Argentine scored in Barcelona's
2-2 draw with Celta Vigo to take his La Liga tally to 43 for this season
with nine games left of the campaign.

Messi has now scored 30 goals in the last 19 matches.

Scroll down for his full scoring record

Record breaker: Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Celta Vigo

Record breaker: Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Celta Vigo

Hot shot: Messi extended his scoring run to 19 league games

Hot shot: Messi extended his scoring run to 19 league games

In the equivalent of an entire half-season, he has delivered match after match, scoring against all opponents.

It was on November 3 last year that
he last failed to score – at home to Celta Vigo – a game played less
than 24 hours after his partner, Antonella Ruccuzzo, had given birth to
their son, Thiago.

Messi played 90 minutes in the 3-1
victory that night, but there was to be no special goal dedicated to the
new born. He has made up for it since.

On eight occasions he has scored
twice and in a 5-1 win over Osasuna at the end of January he scored
four. With this latest strike, he is now on course to shatter the
half-century of league goals he clocked up last season.

With 10 games left last season he had
scored 33 goals – with nine games left now he is already on 43 and
homing in on last season's record-breaking 91 in all competitions in a
calendar year.

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura
said: 'The fact that no one has ever done this before shows just how
difficult it is. Only with the passing of time will we realise just how
incredible his achievements have been.'

A belter: Barca's Cristian Tello beats Celta Vigo keeper Javi Varas

A belter: Barca's Cristian Tello beats Celta Vigo keeper Javi Varas

In control: Messi takes on Natxo Insa

In control: Messi takes on Natxo Insa

Messi, 25, started as captain, despite being sick on the pitch in Argentina's midweek draw against Bolivia in the high-altitude conditions of La Paz.

But with both Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez rested ahead of Barcelona's trip to Paris in the Champions League on Tuesday, Messi was starved of service.

He went down under a challenge from Vadim Demidov but referee Mateu Lahoz waved away penalty appeals.

Barcelona struggled in defence, with on-loan Arsenal striker Park Chu-Young causing problems for young centre-back Marc Bartra and only a fine double save from Jose Pinto kept out the home side after a mistake by Gerard Pique.

messi scoring circle updated

On 39 minutes, Barcelona fell behind when Fabian Orellana crossed for Natxo Insa to score. Messi saw a free-kick saved by Javi Varas, but two minutes before the break he turned provider for Cristian Tello to net.

It was Messi's 10th assist of the season – only Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil has managed more – but it was a goal he needed for the record and it came on 73 minutes.

In front of the penalty area, he fizzed the ball out wide to Tello and when the youngster played it back to him first time, Messi finished past Varas.

A late equaliser from Borja Oubina two minutes from time prevented Barcelona from taking all three points but Messi at least had his incredible record.

Boss Tito Vilanova is expected to travel with the squad after his return from New York, where he was having cancer treatment. 'It's a massive boost,' said Roura.

Sunderland axe Martin O"Neill after dismal run leaves them one point above the drop zone

Sunderland axe O'Neill after dismal run leaves them one point above the drop zone

PUBLISHED:

21:40 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

21:47 GMT, 30 March 2013

Martin O'Neill parted company with Sunderland after the Black Cats slipped deeper into relegation trouble.

The 61-year-old's departure was confirmed hours after Saturday's 1-0 home defeat by Manchester United, which left the club sitting just a point clear of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone with seven games left to play.

A club statement said: 'Sunderland AFC has announced that it has parted company with manager Martin O'Neill this evening.

Time's up: Sunderland have axed Martin O'Neill

Time's up: Sunderland have axed Martin O'Neill

'The club would like to place on record its thanks to Martin and wishes him well for the future.

'An announcement will be made in the coming days regarding a successor..

More to follow

Robin van Persie says Chelsea v Manchester United FA Cup tie won"t be a "great game" because of tiredness

It won't be a thriller! Van Persie believes fatigue could affect blockbuster FA Cup tie

By
Simon Stone, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

21:05 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

21:05 GMT, 30 March 2013

Robin van Persie has warned fans not to expect an FA Cup classic between Manchester United and Chelsea on Monday.

With Chelsea still involved in the Europa League and UEFA frowning on fixtures between England's top clubs on Champions League designated days, the FA were left with little option other than to schedule the eagerly-anticipated quarter-final replay just two days after Premier League fixtures.

Even the potential for an evening kick-off was ruled out as Fulham are due to take on QPR in the Barclays Premier League at Craven Cottage.

Influence: Robin van Persie helped Manchester United to a 1-0 win at Sunderland

Influence: Robin van Persie helped Manchester United to a 1-0 win at Sunderland

Influence: Robin van Persie helped Manchester United to a 1-0 win at Sunderland

It means United will be in action 48 hours after today's win at Sunderland, with Chelsea having marginally less time to prepare following their defeat at Southampton.

It is the kind of scheduling that has England's European counterparts scratching their heads in bewilderment.

And Van Persie points out it is difficult for the players to reach a high level of performance twice in such a short period of time.

Dejection: Chelsea's top-four hopes suffered a blow on Saturday as they were beaten 2-1 by Southampton

Dejection: Chelsea's top-four hopes suffered a blow on Saturday as they were beaten 2-1 by Southampton

Sublime: Rickie Lambert's beautiful free-kick proved to be the winner at St Mary's

Sublime: Rickie Lambert's beautiful free-kick proved to be the winner at St Mary's

'It is not ideal,' he told MUTV.

'Normally on the second day your muscles are quite bad but now we have to play at this certain time.

'It is a shame but we can't do anything about it because there are Champions League games in midweek and Chelsea are still in the Europa League.

'We just have to deal with it.

'People have to realise they can't expect a great game of football because it is not possible.

'If it happens I am glad, but don't expect it because these games are just too close to each other.'

Back from the brink: Chelsea came from 2-0 behind in the original tie at Old Trafford to force a replay

Back from the brink: Chelsea came from 2-0 behind in the original tie at Old Trafford to force a replay

Van Persie was speaking after United's 1-0 win at Sunderland, which maintains their 15-point advantage over Manchester City with just eight games remaining.

City will be the opponents for Monday's victors at Stamford Bridge, with Van Persie eager to get his hands on a trophy he won with Arsenal but United have not lifted since 2004.

'It has been a while,' he said.

'It has been nine years since we last won it and we want to win the double.

'We made a big step today but we want to go for both. We have a chance to reach the semi-final against City.'

Graham Westley named Stevenage boss for third time

Look who's back! Westley returns to Stevenage for third spell as manager

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

10:24 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

11:01 GMT, 30 March 2013

Graham Westley has made a shock return to Stevenage.

The 45-year-old, who led Boro into npower League One with back-to-back promotions, succeeds Gary Smith as manager after the former Colorado Rapids boss was relieved of his duties last week following a poor run of form.

Westley opted to leave Broadhall Way in January last year in an attempt to further his career at Preston, but his 13-month stay at Deepdale ended when he was sacked with North End sitting just five points above the relegation zone.

Back again Graham Westley could return to Stevenage for a third time

Back again Graham Westley could return to Stevenage for a third time

Stevenage, 10 points above the League One drop zone in 15th place, host bottom-placed Hartlepool on Monday looking for a first win in four outings.

Chairman Phil Wallace said: 'Graham was keen to come back to Stevenage and, although I met some strong candidates, without doubt I think he's the best man for the job right now. The club enjoyed a great deal of success before he left last year and we moved forwards significantly in his time here on several levels.

'Since he left we've continued that progress in people and infrastructure off the pitch. So we spent a lot of time this past week talking about things we feel we could do better this time round and we've put many of those into our contractual arrangement.

Over it: Chairman Phil Wallace has put his annoyance at the timing of Westley's exit aside

Over it: Chairman Phil Wallace has put his annoyance at the timing of Westley's exit aside

'There are a lot of myths about
Graham and the 9-5 one is the biggest. Yes, he demands a high work ethic
and commitment from his players but the extra hour or two some may do
is spent on personal development subjects. As long as a lad wants to
improve himself and win medals that's never been an issue at our club.

'I'm looking forward to some exciting
times again! This is the first time our season has ended in April for
four years and that's a measure of how far we've come and what we're
about.'