Tag Archives: bruce

Sunderland to consider loan move out Ji-Dong Won, the first hero of 2012

Whatever happened to Sunderland's first hero of 2012, Ji the City slayer

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 25 December 2012

Ji Dong-won may have been forgiven for believing that his dramatic late winner against Manchester City would kick-start his Sunderland career.

But while Martin O’Neill leapt high into the air when the South Korea striker bundled the ball round Joe Hart on the first day of 2012, the Sunderland manager has barely played him since.

Good old days: Ji Dong-Won's Sunderland career has failed to take off since his memorable goal against Manchester City on the first day of 2012

Good old days: Ji Dong-Won's Sunderland career has failed to take off since his memorable goal against Manchester City on the first day of 2012

The 21-year-old, who was signed by
Steve Bruce from Chunnam Dragons 18 months ago, played only six games
after New Year’s Day and has yet to feature at all this season.

Hundreds of Korean visitors still go
to the Stadium of Light hoping to see the South Korea Olympic squad
member, only to find him forlornly sitting in the stands in his club
suit and tie.

Ji, who is also a cult figure with
Sunderland supporters, has been linked with a move back to Chunnam
Dragons and O’Neill admitted the striker may have to go out on loan to
revive his Sunderland career.

O’Neill said: ‘It has been tough for
him. He has had a difficult time trying to learn his trade and I have
to look at that, realise how young he is and how far away from home he
is but he has the makings of a player.

‘He has found it difficult to cope with the physical aspect but he has natural talent and it is really up to him.

‘There have been a number of inquiries about our players and all I can say is that it has been a frustrating time for him.

‘He played in the Olympics, didn’t always start the games but he perhaps thought after that goal it would be lift-off time.

‘If there was a possibility of a loan
spell I would give it some consideration, although I can’t at the minute
while we consider in-coming players.’

Sunderland fans spur on manager Martin O"Neill

Sunderland faithful spur on manager O'Neill as 2,000 fans make trip to Southampton

PUBLISHED:

22:17 GMT, 21 December 2012

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UPDATED:

22:17 GMT, 21 December 2012

More than 2,000 Sunderland supporters will make the 300-plus mile trip to Southampton on Saturday.

The away allocation is sold out and
manager Martin O'Neill says such commitment to the club's cause, just
three days before Christmas, is one reason why he is desperate to
succeed for the club.

Focused: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill

Focused: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill

O'Neill said: 'That really sums it up. Last year we went down and played Tottenham and then a couple of days later we played at QPR a couple of days before Christmas and we filled the stand behind the goal which is absolutely remarkable support.

'They're travelling down to Southampton in their numbers three or four days before Christmas shows you all you need to know about this club. It's great motivation for us to achieve something for the club.

'You work every single day to try and put a mark on the club and try and improve results and it's for people like that who're the heart and soul of the football club.'

Sunderland have recalled Republic of Ireland international David Meyler from his loan spell at Hull City.

The midfielder has scored twice in a successful month at the Championship club with former manager Steve Bruce.

O'Neill added: 'At least if he gets on the field of play with us, which I imagine he will, his fitness levels won't worry me as much as it might have done before.'

Tottenham supporter: Cheer up Arsenal fans, situation will improve, always does

Confessions of a Spurs fan: Cheer up Arsenal, things aren't that bad, they never are for you lot

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UPDATED:

12:28 GMT, 3 December 2012

These are dark times for Arsenal football club, right Amid the club's worst start to a league season for 18 years, the talk is end of days stuff.

Manna from heaven for the likes of us Tottenham fans, surely Well no, not quite.

Because if anything, supporting Spurs for 26 years as I have teaches you one thing: Arsenal have an uncanny knack of wriggling free from difficulties which beset the club.

New low Defeat to Swansea came after protests outside the Emirates

New low Defeat to Swansea came followed protests outside the Emirates

New low Defeat to Swansea came after protests outside the Emirates

Granted, the club are well on target to complete an eighth successive trophyless year, but any talk of continuing their downward trend is ridiculous.

I'll say it now: I fully expect them to finish in the top four this season. And probably at Spurs' expense.

This isn't even the club's most difficult moment in the Barclays Premier League.

In the nine years under George Graham, the Gunners were derided as 'boring, boring Arsenal'.

Yet they landed two (old) First Division titles, one FA Cup, two Football League Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and one (shared) Community Shield.

Graham's exit came in February 1995 after the revelation he took 425,000 from Norwegian agent Rune Hauge in connection with the transfers of John Jensen and Pal Lydersen.

Stewart Houston took the reins and the club limped to a 12th place finish – five places and 11 points behind Spurs.

How did they bounce back

They
hired Bruce Rioch, who was ousted after just one year at the helm in
the summer of 1996 after the club finished fifth place in the Premier
League.

Hard times Arsenal fans are used to winning trophies under recent managers

Hard times Arsenal fans are used to winning trophies under recent managers

Hard times Arsenal fans are used to winning trophies under recent managers

(After 15 games of that season Arsenal were third with 28 points on the board, 10 points behind then-leaders Newcastle United.)

Another disaster No, not in the slightest.

Because while the club failed to qualify for the Champions League, Rioch left the club one of its greatest gifts: Dennis Bergkamp.

Arsene Wenger duly arrived and ushered in the most successful spell the club have ever experienced, what with the two Doubles, the Invincibles and the (painful) rest.

And there-in lies the rub: no matter how bad things have been, the club always find a way, always find an answer to their predicaments.

And if that sounds like a compliment, well that's because it is meant to.

Tottenham's plan in the same period seems to have revolved around spending as much money as possible with the least possible gain.

Crisis What crisis! Even the days of Rioch were lined with hope - as Bergkamp arrived at Highbury

Crisis What crisis! Even the days of Rioch were lined with hope - as Bergkamp arrived at Highbury

Crisis What crisis! Even the days of Rioch (right) were lined with hope – as Bergkamp arrived at Highbury during his tenure

The club's spending is only over shadowed by the likes Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool in recent seasons.

And in the past 26 years what have Spurs won Two League Cups and the FA Cup.

The Black Scarf Movement (BSM), a supporters' protest group, gathered outside the Emirates Stadium before the match with Swansea on Saturday to stage a vocal protest march to the ground.

Upset at escalating ticket prices, the composition of the club's board – including the role of chief executive Ivan Gazidis – and a lack of silverware.

From someone who has had to watch the club's success in recent generations – from four miles up the road – I'll tell you one thing: give your club a break, they will get it right in the end, unfortunately they always do.

Fleeting glory: Spurs fans are made to wait for their glimpses of silverware

Fleeting glory: Spurs fans are made to wait for their glimpses of silverware

LA Galaxy Frank Lampard move in doubt as club target Kaka

EXCLUSIVE: Lampard move to LA Galaxy on the rocks as US glamour club target Kaka

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UPDATED:

23:03 GMT, 30 November 2012

Frank Lampard’s hopes of following David Beckham to the MLS could be dashed after it emerged LA Galaxy want to sign the Brazilian Kaka from Real Madrid.

Beckham plays his final game for Galaxy tomorrow when his team take on Houston in the MLS Cup Final here in Los Angeles.

The Galaxy have been exploring ways of bringing Chelsea midfielder Lampard to the club to fill the slot vacated by Beckham and revealed today that they have had talks with the 35-year-old, who is out of contract at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.

Limbo: Lampard has fallen out of favour at Chelsea this season

Limbo: Lampard has fallen out of favour at Chelsea this season

But today the man who persuaded Beckham to come to the States at the young age of 31 six years ago suggested that his preference was Kaka largely because he would give the club a profile among the Hispanic community in Los Angeles.

American dream: Kaka wants to play in the United States

American dream: Kaka wants to play in the United States

Tim Leiweke – the President of AEG, the company that owns the Galaxy, – told the Sports Illustrated website: 'I’m very proud of the fact we have a lot of people that are interested in the Galaxy.

'I’m a huge Frank Lampard fan, and I personally have great respect for him.

'Ive gotten to spend some time with him, and he’s an unbelievably good guy. But is he the right fit for our team now for what we need

'Coach Bruce Arena and I happen to be on the same page about where we need to go next.

'This next person has to be able to not only fit what Bruce needs on the pitch, but more importantly, we’re an ever-changing demographic in this marketplace, and we have to pay attention to that.

'It’s critical that we do the one thing we have never been able to do yet with the Galaxy, although we’ve tried. There is a Hispanic Latino population base we have to go conquer, and we haven’t.

'We’re well aware of Kak’s interest in MLS, and we in turn have made it very clear to him that he’s aware of our interest in him.

'We have a great relationship with Real Madrid, and just as we worked through a player with them six years ago [Beckham], I’m absolutely convinced we could find the right deal this time, too.'

Sunderland"s Lee Cattermole signs deal until 2016

Captain Cattermole commits future to Sunderland with new four-year deal

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UPDATED:

09:39 GMT, 29 October 2012

Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole has signed a new three-and-a-half year deal.

The 24-year-old midfielder, who was due to be out of contract at the end of this season, has agreed a deal until 2016.

Cattermole returned to the Sunderland side on Saturday after serving his latest three-match ban for a sending off in the Capital One Cup at MK Dons.

Captain careful Lee Cattermole has signed a new deal at Sunderland

Captain careful Lee Cattermole has signed a new deal at Sunderland

He will play against his former club Middlesbrough on Tuesday night in the same competition.

Cattermole joined Sunderland from Wigan three years ago and was given the armband by Steve Bruce in 2010.

Despite his latest indiscretion, the
former England Under 21 international has kept the captaincy under
Martin O'Neill, who has negotiated and rubber-stamped his latest deal.

Cattermole said: 'I'm absolutely delighted. It feels like it's taken a bit of time
but the gaffer made it clear to me at the end of the season that he
wanted to keep me at the club so it took a bit of time but I'm glad it's
been sorted in the end.

'If you look at our signings in the
summer I think you can see that we have made some big signings and I
think it's the best place for me at the minute.'

San Francisco Giants beat Detroit Tigers 4-3 to win Baseball"s World Series

Giants complete sweep to beat Tigers and secure second World Series in three years

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UPDATED:

07:45 GMT, 29 October 2012

The San Francisco Giants secured a second World Series title in three years on Sunday night, defeating the Detroit Tigers 4-3 in 10 innings at Comerica Park to seal a four-game sweep in the best-of-seven series.

Detroit headed into game four looking to become the first team in World Series history to overturn a 3-0 series deficit, San Francisco having dominated the first three games.

The Tigers produced by far their best account of the series in forcing the game to extra innings before the Giants got over the line, Marco Scutaro singling home the tie-breaking run in the 10th inning before Sergio Romo closed out the win.

Big win: The Giants are improbable champions after spending most of October battling against elimination

Big win: The Giants are improbable champions after spending most of October battling against elimination

Winning feeling: San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean carries the World Series Trophy

Winning feeling: San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean carries the World Series Trophy

Miguel Cabrera’s two-run homer in the third inning had handed the Tigers the lead for the first time in the series, the Triple Crown winner’s blast putting his side 2-1 up after San Francisco had gone 1-0 ahead on an RBI triple from Brandon Belt.

But Buster Posey stepped up three innings later with a two-run homer of his own to get the Giants back in front.

Delmon Young responded with a solo shot to make it 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth on the first pitch from Matt Cain, but that was as good as it got for Detroit.

Power players: The Giants clinched their second World Series title in three years

Power players: The Giants clinched their second World Series title in three years

Let the celebrations begin: San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy holds the Commissioner's Trophy

Let the celebrations begin: San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy holds the Commissioner's Trophy

Scutaro, in settling the contest with the go-ahead single with two outs in the 10th, became the first player in 15 years to win the World Series with an extra-innings hit.

He struggled for words soon after the game was all over, telling Fox Sports: ‘I don’t know what to say right now. We just won the World Series! It’s hard to explain. It’s priceless.'

Reflecting on the Giants’ tricky path to glory – they won six elimination games in the post-season – he added: ‘That’s what makes it so special – the way we did it. We were always against the wall. We just came through the first series, the second series… and now we’ve swept the Tigers.’

Victors: The San Francisco Giants celebrate on the mound after sweeping the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series on Sunday

Victors: The San Francisco Giants celebrate on the mound after sweeping the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series on Sunday

Losing control: Detroit Tigers' Austin Jackson loses his bat during the seventh inning

Losing control: Detroit Tigers' Austin Jackson loses his bat during the seventh inning

After winning 8-3 in game one at AT&T Park and then posting consecutive shutouts to take command of the series, Posey admitted game four had been by far the toughest test.

'Tonight was a battle,' he said on Fox Sports. 'Tonight was a fitting way for us to end it.

'Those guys played hard – they didn’t stop. It’s an unbelievable feeling.'

We've done: San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo celebrates after the Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 to win the MLB World Series

We've done: San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo celebrates after the Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 to win the MLB World Series

Tears of joy: Pablo Sandoval celebrates with a teammate

Tears of joy: Pablo Sandoval celebrates with a teammate

Closer Romo played down his role in seeing out the victory, saying: “I feel beyond blessed, for sure. These guys let me tag along for the ride.'

The Giants certainly hit form at the right time, finishing this month with seven straight wins to clinch the seventh World Series in franchise history.

Richard Scudamore in line for promotion at Premier League: Charles Sale

New power move for Scudamore

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UPDATED:

22:11 GMT, 10 October 2012

Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League and arguably the most influential individual in English football, may be given a new role that would further increase his powerbase.

Scudamore, who has just masterminded a 3billion TV deal to bankroll the Premier League, is understood to be broadly in favour of the moves to make him an executive chairman.

Headhunters Odgers have been charged by a Premier League nominations panel led by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck with finding candidates to succeed PL chairman Sir Dave Richards, who retires at the end of the season.

Moving on up Richard Scudamore could be made executive chairman of the Premier League

Moving on up Richard Scudamore could be made executive chairman of the Premier League

But promoting Scudamore is one strategy being discussed, although there are sure to be a number of clubs who would have reservations, despite his undoubted success.

However Buck, who will have one of the biggest says in the chairman’s appointment, is believed to be in favour of his shooting-party pal Scudamore assuming even higher office.

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Sky mix up over Premier League rights

Barney Francis, overlord of Sky Sports, admitted at this week’s Leaders in Football conference in London that his station, who used to pride themselves on their TV rights intelligence expertise, did not know whether they were competing with either BT Vision or Al Jazeera after the first round of the Premier League tender.

Sky paid 2.3bn for five packages — far more than they wanted — and it seemed one of the casualties was media rights chief Rik Dovey, who left shortly afterwards. Francis said Dovey resigned from his 400,000-a-year post voluntarily.

Departing Van Commenee says gold medalist are not perfect

Charles van Commenee, who quit as UK Athletics head coach having failed to deliver his pre-Olympics medal target, is still being hard on the GB track and field team — even the gold medal heroes.

Commenee, who has no plans as to what he does next, told Leaders in Football that double Olympic champion Mo Farah was ‘technically not great’ and heptathlon queen Jessica Ennis ‘has weaknesses’.

Muamba to meet Blatter to discuss health issues

Fabrice Muamba, who will perform an ambassador’s role at Bolton during the final year of his contract that expires at the end of next season, has found it difficult to watch the team play since his cardiac arrest at Tottenham.

Muamba, frustrated at not being on the pitch, has been to only three games this season, preferring to take his three-year-old son Joshua swimming.

New role: Bolton ambassador Fabrice Muamba is set to meet with Sepp Blatter to discuss health issues in football

New role: Bolton ambassador Fabrice Muamba is set to meet with Sepp Blatter to discuss health issues in football

However, world football wants to engage Muamba, who has a meeting with FIFA chief Sepp Blatter this month about an ambassadorial role concerning football health.

Stuart’s culture show

England rugby coach Stuart Lancaster gave Leaders in Football delegates the same PowerPoint presentation that had so impressed Roy Hodgson.

Lancaster gave his football counterpart a sneak preview of the laptop lecture — on how he had brought about a culture change in England rugby — during a chat over a coffee at Wembley, where they had found much in common.

The FA’s introduction of a code of conduct has plenty of similarities with Lancaster’s rules and regulations — part of a blueprint for altering attitudes since the 2011 World Cup debacle. Lancaster believes culture comes before performance and says he spends 80 per cent of his thinking time on culture-related strategies.

Impressive stuff: England Rugby head coach Stuart Lancaster addressed the Leaders in Football conference

Impressive stuff: England Rugby head coach Stuart Lancaster addressed the Leaders in Football conference

Lancaster said his first week with the players training at a grass-roots Leeds club was crucial to a switch of mindset — as was dispensing with the ‘dysfunctional leadership group’ from New Zealand, where Jonny Wilkinson, Mike Tindall, Lewis Moody and Simon Shaw had differing views that led to the team fragmenting under pressure.

Warner curse hits Webb

The curse of former FIFA ExCo rogue Jack Warner, who derailed England’s 2018 World Cup bid with his attack on the FA at a Leaders in Football conference, has struck this week’s event.

Jeffrey Webb, Warner’s successor as CONCACAF leader, was due to talk about how he has cleaned up the confederation.

Alas, Webb withdrew, having required hospital treatment after falling ill on his transatlantic flight.

Bruce Buck: Chelsea"s sixth place finish not good enough

Top six finish simply not good enough, Buck warns Chelsea stars

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UPDATED:

16:30 GMT, 13 May 2012

Bruce forthright: Buck warning

Bruce forthright: Buck warning

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has branded the club's failure to finish in the Barclays Premier League top four as unsatisfactory.

In what may be a blow to caretaker
manager Roberto Di Matteo's hopes of being appointed manager full-time,
Buck vowed he and owner Roman Abramovich would move to ensure there was
no repeat next season.

Despite winning the FA Cup and
leading the club to the Champions League final since replacing the
sacked Andre Villas-Boas just over two months ago, Di Matteo could only
manage a sixth-placed finish in the league.

The Blues had been fifth when he was
appointed and Buck wrote in Chelsea's official matchday programme ahead
of Sunday's final home game of the season against Blackburn: 'We do not
consider that to be satisfactory and Roman and the board will be working
over the summer to try to ensure that doesn't happen again.'

Buck was reportedly unhappy with Di
Matteo's team selection in Tuesday's night's 4-1 thrashing at FA Cup
final victims Liverpool, a result which ended their top-four hopes.

He wrote: 'We were all very disappointed with the result on Tuesday night in Liverpool.

'We just couldn't get into the game, and we played to Liverpool's tune. But if we had the choice to win the FA Cup final or Tuesday night's game, I know which one I would have picked. So, in that sense, I am satisfied.'

Chelsea now must win Saturday's Champions League final against Bayern Munich to qualify for next season's competition.

It is the Blues' second final after they were beaten on penalties by Manchester United in Moscow four years ago.

Buck said: 'We came oh-so-close in Moscow. We want to do better this time.'

John Terry stirs it up over Bruce Buck"s Gary Cahill gaffe – Charles Sale

Charles Sale: Chelsea captain Terry stirs it up over Buck's Cahill gaffe

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UPDATED:

00:18 GMT, 5 May 2012

Chelsea captain John Terry made sure that chairman Bruce Buck’s gaffe in getting Gary Cahill’s name wrong received a wider audience than the Stamford Bridge dressing room.

Cahill, who misses the FA Cup final through injury, was appearing live on a Chelsea TV phone-in when the presenter announced there had been a message from Terry asking for his team-mate to ‘tell the viewers about Tim’.

Tim: John Terry highlighted Bruce Buck's Gary Cahill gaffe

Tim: John Terry highlighted Bruce Buck's Gary Cahill gaffe

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An embarrassed Cahill explained that,
before he made his debut against Manchester United in the 3-3 draw in
February, Buck had come up to him and said ‘Best of luck, Tim’, having
confused him with his near-namesake at Everton.

The Chelsea defender said Buck’s blunder has struck a chord with the players, who now call him Tim as a joke.

Meanwhile Chelsea’s top brass have again snubbed an invitation to sit on FA chairman David Bernstein’s table at the official reception before the Cup final.

Chelsea turned down the opportunity for two representatives to dine alongside Bernstein before the semi-final against Tottenham in protest at the 6pm scheduling of the match ahead of their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.

The resentment seems to rankle still, although the club say their VIP contingent all want to sit together on three other tables because they have guests to entertain.

Their grievance even included complaining to FA general secretary Alex Horne about their club features in the match programme being relegated to the back of the book. Alphabetical order has promoted Chelsea to the front section of the programme for the final.

Called in: Terry asked Cahill to explain what had happen on the show

Called in: Terry asked Cahill to explain what had happen on the show

City switch implies England are next

The fact that Manchester City have changed their shirt suppliers from Umbro to parent company Nike for considerably more money strongly suggests it is only a matter of time before the swoosh brand agree a similar switch by England.

This is particularly likely as former Umbro sponsorship chief Martin Prothero, who insisted on dedicated Umbro guarantees in the current deal, is no longer involved and the FA will not want to turn down any extra cash on offer.

Thai official finally acts

Thailand's FIFA ExCo official Worawi Makudi has finally taken the legal action he threatened after former FA chairman Lord Triesman implicated him in an alleged World Cup bribery scandal.

Triesman told a parliamentary select committee that Makudi demanded the TV rights for a proposed friendly between England and Thailand in return for his 2018 World Cup vote. Makudi, who called the assertions ‘groundless’, lodged his defamation claim in the High Court this week.

Threatened: Lord Triesman (left) will suffer legal action from Worawi Makudi

Threatened: Lord Triesman (left) will suffer legal action from Worawi Makudi

Wray's display

Saracens chairman Nigel Wray is showcasing his 10million collection of sports memorabilia in a lavish book A Sporting History, The Priory Collection.

Highlights include WG Grace’s last bat, Sir Stanley Matthews’ 1953 Cup final shirt, Douglas Jardine’s Harlequin cap, LS Lowry’s A Cricket Match painting and an autograph book from the 1936 Berlin Olympics with the signatures of four-gold medal winner Jesse Owens and Nazi monster Joseph Goebbels on the same double page.

WAGs cool on Krakow

Roy Hodgson’s schedule juggling West Bromwich and England duties means he is not expected to see the Euro 2012 base in Krakow before the squad arrive on June 6.

Hodgson is happy with the FA’s planning, including arrangements for WAGs. The FA are not organising a trip for wives and girlfriends but just passing on information about travel company options, and so far there has been little or no WAGs interest in going to Krakow.

Albion bound Claudio Ranieri was overheard on a train talking about West Bromwich

Albion bound Claudio Ranieri was overheard on a train talking about West Bromwich

Meanwhile, Claudio Ranieri was overheard discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the West Brom squad on a train to Birmingham yesterday. It suggests the former Chelsea boss was heading to The Hawthorns for an interview.

Chelsea's Battersea contract

Property developers Almacantar have a ‘commercial contract in place’ with Chelsea for their joint bid for Battersea Power Station.

This contrasts with Almacantar’s legal battle over the 400,000 they are claiming for their designs for the aborted Lord’s rebuilding Vision. MCC say they have no written evidence of payment being authorised.

Bath 6 Northampton 26: Saints move into play off places

Bath 6 Northampton 26: Saints move into play off places

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UPDATED:

20:31 GMT, 31 March 2012

Bath's hopes of snatching a Heineken Cup spot next season are fading fast after Northampton shrugged off the midweek suspensions of skipper Dylan Hartley and Calum Clark to claim a comfortable win at the Recreation Ground.

Saints duly moved back into the play-off places thanks to a first-half penalty try converted by Ryan Lamb, who added two penalties and a drop goal before the break.

Stephen Myler converted a catch-and-drive try credited to former Bath hooker Andy Long to seal the victory.

Stopped: Carl Ferns of Bath is tackled by Alex Walker

Stopped: Carl Ferns of Bath is tackled by Alex Walker

Stephen Donald kicked two penalties for the home side, whose season is petering out with owner Bruce Craig already seeking a new man to take charge of the playing side from Sir Ian McGeechan.

All Black Donald resumed training only last week after seven weeks out with knee ligament damage, but found himself immediately restored at fly-half as Tom Heathcote was ruled out with whiplash.

Dan Hipkiss made his first start since September, partnering Matt Carraro in the centre, after Olly Barkley was dropped from the squad. Matt Banahan, similarly left out for the trip to Harlequins, returned on the right wing.

Bath saw nothing of the ball in the first 10 and then conceded a five-metre scrum.

Referee Martin Fox awarded Northampton two penalties for collapsing the drive before going under the posts for the penalty try, converted by Lamb.

Travelling up: Saints are back in the play-off places

Travelling up: Saints are back in the play-off places

From Northampton's next attack it took a last-ditch tackle by Carraro to deprive Chris Ashton and the cover was back to shove Christian Day into touch at the flag.

Bath managed to win the line-out but could not escape the Saints stranglehold and the pressure was rewarded by a 24th-minute penalty from Lamb.

It was 30 minutes before Bath finally had a chance of gaining a toehold in the game, with Donald missing a straightforward penalty before succeeding a minute later with a more difficult attempt.

Donald then almost set up a try by gathering his own grubber kick, but Ryan Caldwell could not get his pass away and, with no advantage gained from an offence back at the line-out, Donald kicked a penalty from nearly 50 metres.

However, Northampton finished the half strongly with Lamb first dropping a goal and then knocking over a penalty from wide on the right to make it 16-6.

Crunch: James Downey of Northampton is taken down

Crunch: James Downey of Northampton is taken down

Caldwell burst away from a ruck on the 22 as the game restarted and forced Ashton to infringe at a ruck, but Donald was wide with the 40-metre penalty.

A minute later, Donald's flat pass put Banahan into space and he kicked ahead for the chasing Carraro.

Ashton got there first but appeared to palm the ball dead. Although the TV match official was able to rule that no Bath player had managed to ground the ball, Ashton escaped sanction.

With Nick Abendanon running dangerously from full-back, it was Saints' turn to feel the pressure, especially when Mark Sorenson was sent to the bin for a cynical infringement.

Abendanon looked as if he would score after rescuing a faltering attack but Ben Foden cut him down just short of the line.

The seven-man Saints pack wilted at a scrum but Donald was wide from 45 metres, his third missed penalty.

When presented with a similar kick, though, Lamb edged his side 19-6 ahead and Bath's cause was further undermined when replacement flanker Guy Mercer was sin-binned on the hour.

Just three minutes later a jubilant Long came up with the ball after the Northampton pack drove over from a line-out and Myler added the conversion to take the lead to an unassailable 20 points.