Tag Archives: desperate

Francis Jeffers scores twice for Accrington Stanley: LEAGUE TWO review

League Two round-up: Former England man Jeffers bags two for Stanley exactly ten years after turning out for Arsenal in the Champions League

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

22:24 GMT, 19 March 2013

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UPDATED:

22:39 GMT, 19 March 2013

LEAGUE TWO RESULTS

Accrington 4-0 AFC Wimbledon

Bradford 1-0 Wycombe

Rochdale 1-1 Gillingham

Southend 0-2 Plymouth

Torquay 2-1 Chesterfield

Barnet 2-0 Fleetwood

Former England striker Francis Jeffers scored twice to earn Accrington a crucial 4-0 win over AFC Wimbledon, which moved them off the foot of npower League Two and out of the drop zone.

Jeffers, playing for the league's bottom club exactly 10 years to the day since he appeared for Arsenal against Valencia in the Champions League, put Stanley two up with goals in the fifth and 19th minutes.

Will Hatfield added a third before the break and Lee Molyneux completed the rout.

Fran the man: Accrington Stanley escaped the relegation zone thanks to two Francis Jeffers goals

Fran the man: Accrington Stanley escaped the relegation zone thanks to two Francis Jeffers goals

Back in the day: Jeffers' brace comes 10 years to the day since he turned out for Arsenal in the Champions League

Back in the day: Jeffers' brace comes 10 years to the day since he turned out for Arsenal in the Champions League

LEAGUE TWO TABLE

League Two

The win took Accrington two points above the bottom two in the desperate fight to stay in the league.

It was a good night for the sides battling to stay up, with Torquay, Plymouth and Barnet, three of five sides level on points at the bottom at the start of the day, also winning.

Torquay won 2-1 at home to Chesterfield thanks to two goals in the opening eight minutes from Joss Labadie and Rene Howe.

Liam Cooper pulled one back in the 77th minute, but United held on.

Argyle had to wait a little longer to make the breakthrough at Southend, but a Paul Wotton penalty after 57 minutes and a Reuben Reid finish after 75 earned them a 2-0 victory.

Barnet were also 2-0 winners, at home to Fleetwood, thanks to a goal in each half from Mark Byrne and Luke Gambin.

It all meant Aldershot and York, not in action tonight, slipped into the relegation places.

At the other end of the table, league
leaders Gillingham had to come from behind to draw 1-1 at Rochdale,
Danny Kedwell's 56th-minute header cancelling out George Donnelly's
opener.

Capital One Cup
finalists Bradford boosted their hopes of getting into the play-offs
with a 1-0 win at home to Wycombe, Garry Thompson the scorer after seven
minutes.

Sitting out: Suspended Barnet manager Edgar Davids watched his side win 2-0

Sitting out: Suspended Barnet manager Edgar Davids watched his side win 2-0

Paul Lambert defends Aston Villa youngsters

The kids are alright! Lambert defends Aston Villa youngsters despite recent hammerings

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UPDATED:

12:27 GMT, 28 December 2012

Paul Lambert has refused to blame Aston Villa's youngest-ever side for the club's recent beatings, saying the club's experienced players have done no better.

Villa have conceded 12 goals in their past two games and are in desperate need of a return to winning ways against Wigan on Saturday.

Lambert makes no apologies for looking up the Premier League table, rather than down it, despite the fact that Villa have let in more goals than anyone else and are the joint lowest scorers.

Standing firm: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has the crowd behind him

Standing firm: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has the crowd behind him

But he remains committed to the policy of blooding youngsters – the current average age of Villa's team is 23 – and he is remaining true to his recruitment policy.

'Over the last few years this club has had loads of experienced players and the situation hasn't really changed,' said Lambert.

'Experienced players won't always take you where you want to go. I know that from my own experience.

'I have a belief in the way we are doing it. In the long term this club will be great.

'There's no point me saying we are down there because of inexperience. This club was battling against relegation last season.'

Hard knocks: Villa were hammered by Chelsea and Spurs in their last two games

Hard knocks: Villa were hammered by Chelsea and Spurs in their last two games

Villa's eight-goal thumping at Stamford Bridge was the worst defeat in the club's history.

Conceding four without replay at Villa Park against Spurs on Boxing Day was a marginal improvement.

Yet the Holte End remained steadfast in their support of the team, staying behind to chant Lambert's name.

Villa are in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup but their backing did not go un-noticed in the home dugout.

'It's the first time in years that I've seen that reaction from a crowd,' added Lambert.

No answer: Spurs winger Gareth Bale ripped Villa apart with a hat-trick

No answer: Spurs winger Gareth Bale ripped Villa apart with a hat-trick

'I think they see the bigger picture. Normally, when you are three down at home there is an evacuation. I think they can see the big picture.

'The fans have been fantastic and one thing you can say about this club is that the crowd have never not been behind it.

'My job is to rectify it, the fans I can't thank enough. For anyone who was there…well I've not seen that.'

Lambert is again short of options due to a lengthy injury list.

Ron Vlaar, Gabby Agbonlahor, Andreas Weimann, Nathan Baker, Charles N'Zogbia and Darren Bent are all sidelined for Wigan's visit.

NFL viagra secret: Chicago Bears star Brandon Marshall reveals on-field boost

Why are NFL stars so pumped up They take VIAGRA, claims Chicago Bears ace

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UPDATED:

11:49 GMT, 30 November 2012

Professional sportsmen have been glugging Red Bull and popping caffeine pills for some time now in a desperate attempt for a last-minute pick-up before a match.

But it seems American footballers have taken that drive for peak performance to a new level, at least according to one player.

No wonder, he's smiling: Chicago Bears star Brandon Marshall claims NFL players take Viagra to boost their on-field performance

No wonder, he's smiling: Chicago Bears star Brandon Marshall claims NFL players take Viagra to boost their on-field performance

NFL Viagra secret revealed

Chicago Bears’ Brandon Marshall claims NFL stars are taking Viagra before games to boost on-field performance.

Marshall told the Mirror: ‘Some guys will do whatever they can to get an edge. I’ve heard of some crazy stories.

‘I’ve heard of guys using Viagra, seriously. Because the blood is supposedly thin, some crazy stuff.

‘It’s kind of scary with some of these chemicals that are in some of these thins, so you have to be careful.’

Up for it: Viagra is legal in the USA, provided it is prescribed by a doctor

Up for it: Viagra is legal in the USA, provided it is prescribed by a doctor

From a sports science perspective, the pills would work in a similar way as they do in the bedroom. The pills relax and widen blood vessels, in turn speeding the flow of oxygen to the muscles and boosting performance.

Viagra is legal in the USA provided it is prescribed by a doctor — it is even advertised on American television by former NFL coaches.

India v England: Cheteshwar Pujara denies Monty Panesar on day one of second Test in Mumbai

Pujara denies Monty a Bollywood ending… but Panesar is in desperate need of help from rest of England's attack

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UPDATED:

11:51 GMT, 23 November 2012

India v England: second Test, day one

Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar marked his Test return with four wickets but could find no way past Cheteshwar Pujara as the tireless India number three once again confounded England.

Click here to read the full report.

How do you solve a problem like Pujara If the question is an obvious one, the answer remains elusive. And that elusiveness could well cost England this series.

For about two-thirds of today’s play in Mumbai, the story belonged to Monty Panesar. Mistakenly overlooked for the first Test, he was bowling with his old verve and accuracy, and when he removed MS Dhoni in the second over after tea to leave India 169 for 6, Panesar had four of India’s wickets.

Impenetrable defence: Cheteshwar Pujara

Impenetrable defence: Cheteshwar Pujara

But Cheteshwar Pujara had 77 of those runs, which – as we learned at Ahmedabad – is the kind of score he regards merely as a basis for negotiation. And while he was still there, on a Wankhede pitch already offering the spinners assistance, India refused to panic.

/11/23/article-2237321-142802FF000005DC-478_468x311.jpg” width=”468″ height=”311″ alt=”Tough day: Graeme Swann could only take the wicket of Yuvraj on day one” class=”blkBorder” />

Tough day: Graeme Swann could only take the wicket of Yuvraj on day one

Yet where was Panesar’s support Graeme Swann cleaned up Yuvraj Singh with his first ball to him, but otherwise offered little more than thrift. Jimmy Anderson went wicketless after curling the second ball of the day into Gautam Gambhir’s pads. And Stuart Broad looked, well, mundane.

Of course, England are not out of this, so long as they conjure up the spirit of their second innings at Ahmedabad rather than their first. But India have chosen to bat first in 13 Tests here and lost only two, one of them when Ian Botham produced one of his tours de force in the Golden Jubilee Test in 1979-80.

Anything less than a first-innings lead of approaching three figures will probably leave England with too much to do. Stuff it up tomorrow, and the dream of a first series win in India for nearly three decades will evaporate into the Mumbai evening air.

Dettori"s despair: He"s lost the top job in racing and now he faces six-month ban

Dettori's despair: He's lost the top job in racing and now he faces six-month ban

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UPDATED:

21:57 GMT, 17 November 2012

Frankie Dettori, having lost his high-profile job with Godolphin in painful circumstances, now faces a ban of up to six months at the very moment he was planning to revive his faltering career.

Dettori, 41, will appear before French stewards on Tuesday after failing a drugs test at Longchamp on September 16.

Given their zero-tolerance policy on banned substances, they are unlikely to treat him leniently.

Double trouble: Frankie Dettori lost the top job with Godolphin and now faces a ban

Double trouble: Frankie Dettori lost the top job with Godolphin and now faces a ban

They banned former champion Kieren
Fallon for six months in 2006 after testing positive for traces of
cocaine, then hit him with an 18-month suspension when he offended
again.

When I worked with Dettori on his
autobiography a few years ago, he likened his job with Godolphin to
driving a Ferrari in Formula One.

If the hearing in Paris goes against
him, he may soon find that he is unable to drive the equine equivalent
of a Ford Fiesta until the end of May.

These are desperate days for Dettori.
His future is in the balance, his reputation as one of sport's good
guys is being questioned and he will be hurting as never before
following the events of the past month.

People imagine that Dettori has a constantly sunny nature.

Yet while we worked on his book, he
revealed a bleaker side of his character, which sometimes leaves him
wanting to hide from the world.

Glory days: Frankie wins the Epsom Derby on Authorised

Glory days: Frankie wins the Epsom Derby on Authorised

He spoke with searing honesty of his
despair after a miserable start to the season in 2003 following his
success on Moon Ballad in the Dubai World Cup.

Rides were sparse, winners
increasingly elusive and doubts were aired about his commitment. It left
him spiralling into depression.

He admitted: 'I was in turn
depressed, lethargic, moody and angry. I felt that everyone was trying
to jump on my back at the same time and squash me, all making out that I
wasn't interested in riding day to day. I care like mad about my
riding. I love racing and I love my job, and it hurt like hell that
people couldn't see it.'

Nine years later, he has endured a
miserable season that has seen him largely overlooked by Godolphin in
favour of two much younger rivals.

The writing was on the wall from the moment Mickael Barzalona won the Dubai World Cup for Godolphin in March.

In June, Dettori was left idle as Barzalona rode for the team in the Derby.

Famous silks: Sheik Mohammed Al Maktoum's colours are unlikley to be used by Dettori too much in future

Famous silks: Sheik Mohammed Al Maktoum's colours are unlikley to be used by Dettori too much in future

Then came the body blow in September, when Barzalona landed the St Leger ride on Encke, with Dettori again out of favour.

He has always been a confidence
rider, so by choosing others ahead of him in the races that matter most,
Sheik Mohammed was sending a public signal that their old allegiance
was nearing its end.

It was hardly the greatest surprise when Dettori reacted by taking the ride on Camelot for Aidan O'Brien in the Arc in Paris.

The truth is that Dettori has never
really enjoyed the daily slog to distant outposts like Folkestone or
Catterick in midweek for a couple of ordinary mounts.

And for a number of seasons he has
not often been required to do so. For more than 20 years he has been a
Group One performer, riding at the highest level.

He needs the biggest stages to showcase his talents.

Sign here: Dettori in 2002 with his book, which Jonathan Powell helped write

Sign here: Dettori in 2002 with his book, which Jonathan Powell helped write

In 2003, he turned his season around
in spectacular style and will need all the single-minded determination
he showed then if he is revive his fortunes this time.

A period of enforced idleness will
allow him to consider other options away from the racecourse and, in the
short term, he could probably earn as much from showbusiness and other
interests as he has done on the track.

Dettori has sometimes hinted that dropping down a league or two as a jockey would be too painful for him.

He once told me: 'I've been so spoilt with the horses I've ridden that I couldn't settle for second-best.'

Santi Cazorla, Juan Mata and Michu buy Real Oviedo shares

Mata, Cazorla and Michu answer desperate call of old club Real Oviedo with share purchase

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UPDATED:

10:56 GMT, 7 November 2012

Santi Cazorla, Juan Mata and Michu have teamed up in an effort to save their former club Real Oviedo from going out of business.

The Asturias side, who play in the Spanish third tier, are in a desperate financial state and it is understood they could go out of business within a fortnight if they don’t raise €2million.

But Arsenal’s Cazorla, Mata of Chelsea and Swansea revelation Michu have bought shares in the club where they each started their careers in an effort to keep them afloat.

Help: Michu, Santi Cazorla and Juan Mata have bought shares in Real Oviedo

Help: Michu, Santi Cazorla and Juan Mata have bought shares in Real Oviedo

Santi Cazorla

Juan Mata

Michu, who played at Oviedo from the age of five until he was 21, said: 'Myself, Mata and Cazorla have all bought shares, but it would be wrong of me to say how much. We just wanted to try and help save the club we all played for.

'The economy in Spain is very bad and the club needs around €2m to survive. A lot of people have bought shares and hopefully it will be enough by the closing date of November 17. It’s my local club, a club I love, so I hope it will be enough.’

WANT TO HELP

You can buy shares in Real Oviedo for just 10. Click here to find out how

Michu hopes his hometown club can experience a similar revival to that of Swansea, which almost went out of business 10 years ago.

He added: ‘Swansea fans should know how much it means to me and the Oviedo supporters.

'I remember reading up on the history of Swansea when I first arrived here; I remember reading how the Swansea supporters bought shares in this club when it was in trouble 10 years ago – and again many years before that.

'And look at the club now; in the Premier League and winning at places like Anfield. Hopefully this SOS can have a similar reaction.'

Demba Ba interview: Striker turned down by Watford and Barnsley, always has to prove himself

EXCLUSIVE: All my life I have had to prove people wrong, says Toon hero Demba Ba

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UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 2 November 2012

It reads like a Who isn’t Who of European football: Montgaillard, Le Havre, Frileuse, Mountrouge, Olympique Lyonnais, Auxerre, Foligno, Watford (twice), Barnsley, Amiens, Rouen, Mouscron. Even Stoke City.

All clubs who could have signed Demba Ba and cashed in on the full potential of one of the most explosive strikers to play in the Barclays Premier League.

Ba is hot property right now. He is Newcastle United’s top scorer again, following the 16 goals he scored last season with six more in this campaign. Saturday’s opponents Liverpool are among the clubs who may be tempted to spend 7.5million to trigger the clause in the contract Ba signed last summer when he left West Ham.

Trigger man: Demba Ba is one of the league's most explosive strikers

Trigger man: Demba Ba is one of the league's most explosive strikers

No wonder manager Alan Pardew and Newcastle are desperate to renegotiate his deal. Ba, 27, is an essential part of a team which could reach the knockout phase of the Europa League in Bruges next week.

It’s a very different European adventure for the Paris-born Senegalese who kicked a ball around with his pals every day until he joined a sports and studies school for his secondary education. He was a defensive midfielder when he started his desperate journey to win a contract somewhere, anywhere.

‘I was like Patrick Vieira,’ he says when asked for a comparison. ‘I was technically good, natural, big and strong, but I didn’t like a tackle. I have never really liked defending, chasing people. Tackling like Cheick (Tiote), for example. I couldn’t do that. I was 18 when I became a striker — it was late, not even 10 years ago when my agent and my best friend convinced me. I’ve learned fast.’

He trained with the pros at Watford and was on the brink of signing when manager Ray Lewington was sacked. It was such a blur that Ba gets Watford mixed up with Barnsley, where he also had a fruitless week.

‘We started training and then they sacked the manager the next day so then no training for two days and we just went back to the hotel and waited.

‘We met the manager one day, shook hands with him and the next day he was gone. Wow. Welcome to Barnsley. Welcome to professional football.

‘I just loved kicking a ball but I was determined to be a footballer and I wanted a professional contract, I would go to any professional club to get one. From 15, all I wanted was to be a footballer.

‘I had no clue who Barnsley or Watford were. All I knew was they were professional clubs and I said to myself, “If you make it you will have a professional contract”. It did not matter where it was, from there I could start proving what I can do. I just had to be patient.

Near the top: Ba, after being rejected by numerous teams, has proved them all wrong

Near the top: Ba, after being rejected by numerous teams, has proved them all wrong

On the ball: Ba got injured at Bologna

On the ball: Ba got injured at Bologna

‘And I have done everything. I went to France, Italy, Belgium. I had a trial with a team in the fourth league near Bologna. They wanted to sign me and I did well there but I got an injury and I couldn’t train for weeks so I had to go home. Maybe it was a good thing. I had proved I could play.’

Life changed in Rouen. Although he was to break his shin, he did enough to alert scouts from Mouscron in Belgium, who signed him, and eventually sold him to Hoffenheim for 2.5m. And then he really took off.

Speaking at the Gateshead International Stadium, where he had done three interviews and a photo shoot for adidas, pausing only for time to pray, Ba was amused by the change in his circumstances. He likes events like this, he says, ‘once in a while’.

‘When I went to Rouen I got a little contract, earning less than 1,000 a month. I was living in a flat that is smaller than this,’ he points at a typical sports hall changing room and laughs. ‘Wow. You know I was so happy because I was playing football, and my team-mates at Rouen were absolutely brilliant, some good dudes.

‘It went well for three weeks, then I broke my shin and I was out for seven months. But I came back stronger, had a good two months and I scored seven in seven games, and then after that, Belgium. Rouen was the start of the happiness but there was no real sadness then.

Good times: Ba enjoyed life with Rouen

Good times: Ba enjoyed life with Rouen

‘Unfortunately today in football there are times when it all goes wrong. You guys are on us all the time — people, press, media, agents, money, everything comes to a head and you just want to stop playing football.

‘And then you remember why you started and you keep on going. It has not been as dark as that for me but sometimes I do ask, “Why all this work, all these sacrifices”’

Trouble: Ba's life was endangered when Senegalese fans rioted

Trouble: Ba's life was endangered when Senegalese fans rioted

If Ba is willing to express such deep concerns about his profession after all his efforts and personal sacrifices, it is no wonder. Amid all the recent controversies, it has almost been overlooked that the Newcastle striker, along with team-mates Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote, were among the Senegal and Ivory Coast players being protected by army and police on the pitch when their Africa Cup of Nations play-off was halted by fans last month.

Days later Ba was the subject of alleged racist abuse during a typically poisonous Wear-Tyne derby at Sunderland. Ba’s late own goal settled the game and he was cruelly mocked by Sunderland fans as he made his way to the team bus afterwards. But after what he had been through in Africa, he was unmoved by the abuse.

‘The military were there, police, state police,’ he said of the riot in Dakar that led to Senegal being disqualified. ‘And this is not the police in Europe. If you go into the lion’s den in Africa you get some serious trouble.

‘When you see police trucks coming on the
pitch and all the players in the middle of the park waiting for half an
hour before we can go to the changing room and you need an escort, it
is a bit different to Sunderland v Newcastle, believe me.

‘It is a football match. But people have
nothing other than football and they put all their happiness in the
sport until it gets to a point where they get disappointed. And because
they have nothing else in their life that can bring them happiness, they
get mad.

‘It is difficult to understand. When you haven’t been to Africa you don’t know how it is. I can understand how it can affect some African players when they go home.

Not like this: The derby against Sunderland paled in comparison with the African Cup game

Not like this: The derby against Sunderland paled in comparison with the African Cup game

‘Was I scared No, not at all. Because we
are Senegalese and they are Senegalese and they won’t hurt us. Senegal
as a nation is very good and unfortunately we saw a very bad image of
them for one week but they are very good people.

‘Football can bring out the best and
worst in people. The bad side saddens me and I was more upset about the
image of the country than anything. It is just a sport and should bring
happiness, not sadness or disappointment. But unfortunately football is
so important in the life of certain people that it becomes their reason
to live.’

Of course there have been successes along the way for Ba, too. After helping Hoffenheim to get into the Bundesliga, he played 97 games for them in nearly four years and scored 37 league goals.

He has fond memories of Germany. ‘It was absolutely magnificent,’ he said. ‘Germany is one of the best countries in the world to live, the football is brilliant, all the stadiums are full every week, and the football is good. But from the beginning, for me, the target was always the Premier League. As soon as I was interested in football, that was the target. Germany has money and full stadiums, they have everything but Premier League is Premier League.’

Hammer time: Ba played well for West Ham during his time there

Hammer time: Ba played well for West Ham during his time there

Stoke City offered the first escape
route after a bust-up with Hoffenheim’s owners over his desire to move
to England, but a 7m move collapsed after he failed a medical. How he
must have savoured his hat-trick for Newcastle at the Britannia last
season.

‘Unfortunately I
can’t stop people talking,’ he said. ‘The only thing I can do is play
every week and prove people wrong but I am not playing football to prove
people wrong.

‘Even if I play 70 games this season
and score 50 goals, people will still talk about it. I am at the point
where it doesn’t matter what they think.’

West Ham stepped in to sign him, and though he scored seven goals in 12 games, they were still relegated.

‘I still do not know how that happened,’ he said. ‘When I came we were bottom, got up to 16th and then started losing. I don’t know how. I didn’t want to leave West Ham but the desire to play in the Premier League was probably higher. After five months in the Premier League and getting the taste for something, you just want to keep it going, so I had to leave.’

No bond: Papiss Cisse (left) and Ba are not best friends despite their shared nationality

No bond: Papiss Cisse (left) and Ba are not best friends despite their shared nationality

The adventure has continued at Newcastle, although it has not all been plain sailing.

After the arrival of his Senegal team-mate Papiss Demba Cisse, who was given the coveted No 9 shirt, Ba only scored one goal, and that was in Cisse’s debut. They may share a name and frontline responsibilities, but not the goals or a close bond.

Ba added: ‘You have ups and downs, that is football. But I am happy at Newcastle and I am with a group of players who are very nice and it is good.

‘There is a good core of people. Our captain is very good as a man and player and we have the Newcastle legend Shola Ameobi. He is our big brother.’

Arjun Atwal leads McGladrey Classic

Atwal heads up McGladrey Classic at halfway point with Love and Furyk closing

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UPDATED:

00:14 GMT, 20 October 2012

India's Arjun Atwal holds a narrow lead at the halfway stage of The McGladrey Classic after a second round of 63 at Sea Island.

Atwal carded eight birdies and one bogey to finish 10 under par, one shot ahead of tournament host Davis Love (66) and Jim Furyk (65).

Atwal is currently 175th on the PGA Tour money list and needs a high finish this week to move into the top 125 and secure his card for 2013.

Small lead: Arjun Atwal is in pole position - but only just

Small lead: Arjun Atwal is in pole position – but only just

Leaderboard

Keep up with the score here

'Yeah, I'm in a desperate situation,' Atwal said. 'I got no choice to either win or finish in the top two, I think my caddie figured out. So I just gotta grind it out.'

Furyk is playing his first tournament since the Ryder Cup at Medinah, where the United States – captained by Love – squandered a 10-6 lead in Sunday's singles.

The former US Open champion has had seven top-10 finishes this season, but badly wants a first victory since 2010 after several near misses.

Hit: Jim Furyk watches his drive off the 10th tee

Hit: Jim Furyk watches his drive off the 10th tee

'I have a lot of confidence in my ball striking right now, but when you don't play a lot sometimes it's (about) the course management, making the good decisions,' Furyk told www.pgatour.com.

'And so far that's all kind of coming back to me slowly and I've kind of gained momentum as the last two rounds have gone on.'

Overnight joint leader Bud Cauley added a 70 to his opening 62 to lie two shots off the pace on eight under alongside David Toms (67) and Gavin Coles (65).

Not his day: Bud Cauley reacts after missing a birdie putt on the 17th green

Not his day: Bud Cauley reacts after missing a birdie putt on the 17th green

'I just kind of didn't have it today,' Cauley said. 'I would have loved to have shot under par, but even is not too bad. So I'm going to go on the range and work on it and hopefully play better on the weekend.'

Fellow co-leader Marco Dawson could only manage a five-over 75 to slide into a tie for 40th.

England's Greg Owen is three off the lead on seven under after adding a 69 to his opening 64.

Liverpool eye move for Hamburg"s Son Heung-min

Liverpool eye move for Hamburg ace Son in attempt to solve forward crisis

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UPDATED:

21:50 GMT, 9 October 2012

Liverpool are keen on Hamburg's South Korea forward Son Heung-min.

The 20-year-old has started the season well with the Bundesliga outfit and can play either on the wing or up front.

Liverpool are in desperate need of firepower with Luis Suarez the only proven top-class forward available to boss Brendan Rodgers. Fabio Borini, a 10million summer signing from Roma, has not yet found the net in the Premier League.

On target: Son Heung-min celebrates a goal against SpVgg Greuther Fuerth

On target: Son Heung-min celebrates a goal against SpVgg Greuther Fuerth

Chris Coleman hopes Craig Bellamy will return to Wales for Scotland game

Desperate Coleman hoping talisman Bellamy will return to Wales for crucial Scotland clash

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UPDATED:

22:24 GMT, 12 September 2012

Chris Coleman will contact Craig Bellamy to see if the striker is in a fit state to resume his international career ahead of a clash against Scotland next month that will have a massive bearing on both countries' World Cup qualification hopes.

Wales' head coach was without the talismanic veteran forward for the opening two fixtures in Group A, the latter of which ended in a 6-1 drubbing against Serbia on Tuesday night.

Hammered: Chris Coleman (right) had to endure his side's 6-1 beating by Serbia in Novi Sad

Hammered: Chris Coleman (right) had to endure his side's 6-1 beating by Serbia in Novi Sad

In terms of fitness, Bellamy was suffering from a calf injury. But also admitted that he was affected by off-field issues caused by the loss of Gary Speed ten months ago.

He admitted that his marriage has been affected by his friend's death and described the ordeal as 'the worst time of my life, ever.'

Coleman has already held one heart-to-heart with the forward, now 33, over the extension of his international career, shortly after he was confirmed as Speed's successor.

In the past, Bellamy has always maintained that he would never retire from Wales. A confirmed patriot, his arm his covered in tattoos of the figurehead of the country's nationalism, Owain Glyndwr.

SOS: Coleman wants to get 33-year-old striker Craig Bellamy (right) back in action for Wales

SOS: Coleman wants to get 33-year-old striker Craig Bellamy (right) back in action for Wales

Affected: Bellamy, who played for Team GB in the summer, admitted he was devastated following the death of his friend Gary Speed

Affected: Bellamy, who played for Team GB in the summer, admitted he was devastated following the death of his friend Gary Speed

And with Wales on the end of two defeats and now sitting bottom of Group A following their nightmare in Novi Sad, the battle of Britain clash against the Scots – also without a victory from their opening matches – takes on extra significance.

The Red Dragons have scored just once in five matches under Coleman and his squad is in desperate need of a boost in morale.

The former Fulham boss confirmed that he would be speaking to Bellamy but warned that he could only accept the player back into the fold if he was fit for the job in hand.

'I met Craig last week at the team hotel and he was okay in himself,' said Coleman, 'he has said himself what he wants to say about his own situation.

'And, of course, I'll sit down with him and find out what he is thinking.

'But, please bear in mind this is a conversation I've already had with him once.

Not good enough: Gareth Bale (left) and Wales were well-beaten by Aleksandar Kolarov (right) and his Serbia side

Not good enough: Gareth Bale (left) and Wales were well-beaten by Aleksandar Kolarov (right) and his Serbia side

ALLEN: PLAYERS MUST TAKE BLAME

Joe Allen insists it is the Wales players who shoulder the blame for the thumping 6-1 defeat in Serbia and not manager Chris Coleman.

Wales' World Cup aspirations were dealt a savage blow as their poor performance in Novi Sad left them rooted to the foot of Group A.

Allen said: 'To be fair to the manager he has done everything he can to prepare us and send us out on to the field.

'It's us as players who are letting everybody down at the moment.

'I can say that on behalf of all of us – me included – it just wasn't good enough and we were to blame.'

Allen admitted that the Wales dressing room had been a very gloomy place to be after the game and described it as one of the lowest points of his career.

'It was one of the most disappointing situations I've ever experienced,' he said.

'Craig is his own man – always has been – and there are only so many times you can travel down the same road with someone.

'That is not to say that a fit and healthy Craig Bellamy would not be an asset to us. Of course he would.

'But he needs to be sure in his own mind – not mine – that playing is something he wants.

'And he needs to be clear, really clear, because the environment of international football is not the right place to be if you are not up to dealing with the challenges it brings.'

Bellamy's calf strain led to rumours that have since been denied by his club Cardiff City that the player is considering retirement from football.

But clearly with the player in such mental turmoil, it appears that a full and frank discussion with Wales' head coach is the only way forward ahead of a fixture that is certain to have a huge influence on the fortunes of both home nations in their qualifying group in four weeks' time.