Tag Archives: edwards

Manchester City and PSG agree personal terms with Edinson Cavani

Man City joined by PSG in agreeing terms with 60m Cavani… but Real Madrid are set to pounce

By
Sami Mokbel and John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

15:30 GMT, 23 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:10 GMT, 23 April 2013

Manchester City are closing in on in-demand Napoli frontman Edinson Cavani after agreeing in principle terms with the player over a summer move.

However, David Beckham's Paris St Germain remain in the hunt after striking up a similar deal despite neither agreeing a fee with the Uruguayan's club.

To make matters worse for City, the player himself has set his sights on a dream move to Real Madrid.

Scroll down to watch Cavani in action

In demand: Serie A top scorer Edinson Cavani has agreed deals in principle with Manchester City and PSG

In demand: Serie A top scorer Edinson Cavani has agreed deals in principle with Manchester City and PSG

In demand: Serie A top scorer Edinson Cavani is being tracked by Europe's top clubs, including City and PSG

GOAL MACHINE CAVANI

Edinson Cavani has scored 72 goals and delivered 12 assists in 100 appearances for Napoli in Serie A.

With fears mounting that Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be lured back to Juventus, as revealed in Sportsmail, PSG hope to hijack City’s pursuit of one of Europe’s most accomplished finishers.

Roberto Mancini is desperate to hit the ground running this summer after seeing his title chances damaged considerably last year when Robin van Persie chose Manchester United.

City, then, have agreed in principle to offer 256k per week, though there remains the barrier of his release clause, initially thought to be 53million. Recently, though, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis insisted it would take an incredible 60million to trigger it.

Getting shirty: The fight for Cavani is likely to be a long and bitter one between Europe's leading clubs

Getting shirty: The fight for Cavani is likely to be a long and bitter one between Europe's leading clubs

Getting shirty: The fight for Cavani is likely to be a long and bitter one between Europe's leading clubs

Asked to clarify the exact amount
needed to prise the 26-year-old away, the president said: ‘We included a
very high buy-out clause in his contract, because we want him to stay.

'The clause does exist, though, and if some nutter is willing to pay €70m for him we are ready to listen.'

Cavani is the top scorer in Serie A this season, with 23 goals, firing Napoli to a likely second-placed finish behind Juventus.

Friends forever: Could Ezequiel Lavezzi, who left Napoli for PSG, play a part in Cavani's future

Friends forever: Could Ezequiel Lavezzi, who left Napoli for PSG, play a part in Cavani's future

His blistering form has led PSG sporting director Leonardo to work overtime behind the scenes to convince him of the Parisien project, with reports in France claiming an offer of 7million per year, plus bonuses, is on the table.

Real Madrid have been favourites to sign Cavani, but due to Ibrahimovic openly courting a return to Juve, plus fears within PSG that they could also lose Ezequiel Lavezzi to AC Milan, competition is more fierce than ever.

VIDEO Napoli frontman Cavani doing what he does best…scoring goals

Roberto Martinez praises old-fashioned Andy Carroll ahead of Wigan v West Ham

Wigan boss Martinez praises 'old-fashioned' Carroll ahead of West Ham clash

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

10:56 GMT, 19 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:10 GMT, 19 April 2013

Roberto Martinez has hailed Andy Carroll as a throwback to the old days and admitted he poses a 'unique' threat to Wigan's hopes of staying in the Barclays Premier League.

Wigan are desperate for points to escape the bottom three, but Martinez knows they will have to find a way of combatting Carroll's physical presence against West Ham at Upton Park.

The on-loan striker laid on his side's opening goal, in Wednesday's 2-2 home draw with Manchester United, but also infuriated Sir Alex Ferguson with an aerial challenge that flattened keeper David de Gea.

Scroll down for video

Seal of approval: Roberto Martinez has sung the praises of Andy Carroll (below) before the two meet

Seal of approval: Roberto Martinez has sung the praises of Andy Carroll (below) before the two meet

Carroll

'There is a place for an old-fashioned number nine in the Premier League, and Carroll is proving that,' said the Wigan manager. 'Possession football can be the way for some teams, and we have all seen Spain play with no strikers at all in some games.

'But if you have a very good number nine, and you give him the right service, it can be very effective. Carroll has great power and strength, and the way he attacks the ball in the final third is quite unique.

Physical: Carroll was cricitised for this lunge at David de Gea against Manchester United on Wednesday

Physical: Carroll was cricitised for this lunge at David de Gea against Manchester United on Wednesday

In action: Wigan, with Arouna Kone, are looking to get their survival back on track after losing at Man City

In action: Wigan, with Arouna Kone, are looking to get their survival back on track after losing at Man City

'He is one of the best in the business at that, and he is becoming a very important player for West Ham, particularly with the service he gets from the flanks and the connection he has with Kevin Nolan just behind.

'He was very impressive for England in the European Championships, so it is no surprise to see what he is doing now. If you allow him to use his best attributes, he will be a very powerful and dangerous player for his team. We have to be on our guard for that.'

'No disputing Carroll should have had red card,' says Fergie

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West Ham have quality everywhere, says Martinez

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Andre Schurrle: Chelsea close in on 20m deal after talks with Leverkusen chief Rudi Voller

Chelsea close in on 20m Schurrle as Leverkusen hold talks over deal

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

22:20 GMT, 18 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:52 GMT, 19 April 2013

Andre Schurrle's 20million transfer to Chelsea moved a step closer after Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller flew to London for talks with Stamford Bridge bosses.

‘It was good to meet Chelsea officials, and the discussions went well, but no decision has been made yet,’ said Voller, who was accompanied by his Leverkusen assistant Michel Reschke on Thursday.

Key: Andre Schurrle's Chelsea move could depend on Michael Becker, the man who sealed Ballack's deal

Key: Andre Schurrle's Chelsea move could depend on Michael Becker, the man who sealed Ballack's deal

Makeweight: Kevin de Bruyne (left), on loan at Bremen from Chelsea, could be used as part of the Schurrle deal

Makeweight: Kevin de Bruyne (left), on loan at Bremen from Chelsea, could be used as part of the Schurrle deal

Persuading Chelsea winger Kevin De
Bruyne to join Leverkusen on loan, rather than pursue a permanent
15million move to Borussia Dortmund, is one of the key elements to a
deal being struck, and Voller and Reschke were flying on to Brussels to
meet the 21-year old’s agent.

Meanwhile, Schurrle’s
representatives, Ingo Haspel and Dr. Michael Becker, are expected in
London on Friday for negotiations with Chelsea about a proposed five-year
contract for the Germany forward.

Becker negotiated former Germany
skipper Ballack's free transfer from Bayern Munich in 2006 and has
emerged as a key figure in Schurrle's proposed 20million move from
Bayer Leverkusen.

After impressing on loan at Werder Bremen this season, De Bruyne is in demand in the Bundesliga, with Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke all vying for his services.

Dortmund have even indicated a willingness to buy him outright for 15million, but Chelsea are thought to favour Leverkusen's proposal of taking him on loan next season as a temporary replacement for Schurrle.

With De Bruyne aware of Dortmund's intentions, there could yet be some hard bargaining before a deal for Schurrle is concluded to everyone's satisfaction.

Chelsea are in for a shock if they pursue their interest in Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez.

The Bayern target man will figure on Jose Mourinho's wanted list, should the outgoing Real Madrid coach return to Stamford Bridge, and is ready for a fresh start after slipping down the pecking order at the Allianz Arena.

Big-name signing: Becker sealed Michael Ballack's move to Chelsea from Bayern Munich in 2006

Big-name signing: Becker sealed Michael Ballack's move to Chelsea from Bayern Munich in 2006

MICHAEL BALLACK

But while Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admitted his position will be reviewed at the end of the season, he was adamant the 27-year old will not be allowed to leave on the cheap.

Chelsea can expect to be quoted at least 20million for a player who cost 30million from Stuttgart four years ago.

Meanwhile, John Terry has tipped David Luiz to be his long-term successor as Chelsea captain. ‘I think so,’ said Terry, when asked if Luiz might inherit the armband one day. ‘Hopefully I have a few years left but he pushes the lads, demanding a lot from himself and others.’

Roberto Martinez admits Premier League relegation would mean Wigan"s FA Cup final spot

Martinez: Relegation would turn FA Cup final into 'empty achievement'

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

12:19 GMT, 16 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:13 GMT, 16 April 2013

Roberto Martinez has admitted that reaching the FA Cup final will go down as an 'empty achievement' if Wigan fail to safeguard their Barclays Premier League status.

Relegation-threatened Wigan face Manchester City at The Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night in what is being dubbed a dress rehearsal for next month's final, after both teams came through last weekend's semi-final ties.

But Wembley will not be allowed anywhere near Martinez's thoughts, after he described how Wigan's players travelled straight back after Saturday evening's win over Millwall and trained the following day.

Scroll down to watch Martinez's pre-match press conference

Extra motivation: Wigan manager Roberto Martinez thinks getting to the FA Cup final can help his team's Premier League survival chances

Extra motivation: Wigan manager Roberto Martinez thinks getting to the FA Cup final can help his team's Premier League survival chances

Far from staying over in London for a party to mark their first-ever Cup final place, Wigan's squad were heading north within an hour or so of the final whistle, and Martinez explained why, as he said:
'I didn't allow too many celebrations, because Wednesday's game is so important.

'We switched back to normality straightaway, and put in a great day's work on Sunday, and that is huge credit to the players.

WIGAN'S RUN-IN
April 17: Manchester City (a) April 20: West Ham (a) April 27: Tottenham (h) May 4: West Brom (a) May 7: Swansea (h) May 14: Arsenal (a) May 19: Aston Villa (h)

The Latics currently sit in the last relegation place, three points behind Aston Villa but have two games in hand on their rivals. However, Martinez is fully aware of the task facing his side as they visit the reigning league champions tomorrow.

He said: 'Given City's record at home over the past couple of seasons, this is the toughest test we could face, but we have to respond to the position we are in and make sure we keep picking up points.

'If we do, it will be an incredible achievement to secure a ninth season in the Premier League. That would be some statement.

'If we don't, then reaching the Cup final will become an empty achievement. The Cup is the oldest and best knock-out tournament in the world.

'There is no doubt about that, and getting to the final is an historic moment for this club, and one we are proud of. But we can only count this season as a success if we stay in the Premier League.

Wembley glory: Shaun Maloney celebrates his goal in Wigan's 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Millwall on Saturday

Wembley glory: Shaun Maloney celebrates his goal in Wigan's 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Millwall on Saturday

'Other teams have reached Wembley finals and been relegated, so that shows the demands we are facing. We are probably facing the hardest fight to stay up so far, and that is credit to the teams around us and the competitive nature of this league.

'But I believe our Cup expoits can actually enhance our survival prospects. Stepping out at Wembley next month would be a unique moment in the career of every Wigan player, and none of them wants to miss out on that. The only way to ensure a place is by contributing to the intervening League games, and that is bringing a really good competitive edge to our play.

'Everyone wants to be involved next month, and that is a great motivation for them over the next few weeks.'

VIDEO Martinez praises Wigan players' form

Martinez praises Wigan players

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AC Milan the only option for Mario Balotelli after Juventus cool interest in signing Man City striker

Milan the only option for Balotelli after Juventus cool their interest

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

12:05 GMT, 29 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:14 GMT, 29 January 2013

Mario Balotelli hopes of a return to
Serie A are resting with AC Milan after Juventus distanced themselves
from a move for the Manchester City striker.

Despite mounting speculation that
Juve had joined Milan in the race to sign him, Sportsmail understands
they have no interest in him and are happy to leave the way clear for
their Serie A rivals.

Transfer talks: Milan have made offer for Man City striker Mario Balotelli

Transfer talks: Milan have made offer for Man City striker Mario Balotelli

Manager Antonio Conte is content with his current striking options, particularly after wrapping up a deal for Athletic Bilbao marksman Fernando Llorente.

Additionally, they have taken former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka on a five-month loan.

Baloteli is now anxiously waiting to see if Milan can come up with an acceptable offer. They are ready to pay up to 20million, City are holding out for 24m.

Lewis Holtby to join Tottenham now from Schalke

Holtby to complete Spurs medical after 1.5m fee is agreed to sign Schalke star NOW

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

11:53 GMT, 28 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:01 GMT, 28 January 2013

Lewis Holtby is heading to White Hart Lane in the next 24 hours after Tottenham finally agreed a deal to sign him now, rather than at the end of the season.

The Germany midfielder is flying over to London to complete the deal, after Tottenham gave way over Schalke’s 1.5million asking price and also agreed to play a money-spinning friendly with the Bundesliga club at a date to be announced later this year.

On the move: Lewis Holtby (right) will join Tottenham in this transfer window

On the move: Lewis Holtby (right) will join Tottenham in this transfer window

First again…

Sportsmail broke the story that Tottenham wanted to sign Lewis Holtby this month – read more

Sportsmail revealed earlier this month how an injury to Sandro had forced Tottenham to reconsider their plans over Holtby, who was due to join them as a free agent in the summer, and approach Schalke with a cut-price bid to sign him during the current transfer window.

Their initial offer was rejected, as Schalke set their valuation at 1.5m and underlined their determination to stick to it by selecting the attacking midfielder for their return to Bundesliga action, after a mid-winter break, against Hannover.

Early bird: Holtby had originally been due to arrive in the summer

Early bird: Holtby had originally been due to arrive in the summer

But with Sandro ruled out for the rest of the season after being injured against QPR, and manager Andre Villas-Boas underlining the need for reinforcements, Tottenham have relented over the fee and agreed to Schalke’s demands.

Eden Hazard ball boy kick charge shows the FA as hypocrites – Martin Samuel

A booking for one but a charge for the other. — so less than a year ago — Oxford United played at home to Swindon Town in League Two. This is the biggest match of Oxford’s season, for those not up on lower-league rivalries or the geography of middle England. The A420 derby might not enjoy the same prestige as its equivalents in Manchester or Liverpool, but if you have a season ticket at the Kassam Stadium, it’s the big one. There was a crowd of almost 12,000 and tempers ran high.

Oxford had James Constable sent off early, but were leading through goals by Asa Hall and Oli Johnson, when Matt Ritchie, a right winger voted League Two Player of the Year last season, became involved with a slow-moving ball boy, identified as Aidan Hawtin, 16 at the time, and on Oxford’s books as a youth player.

A report from Mark Edwards, sports editor of the Oxford Mail, and published on March 5, explains what happened next: ‘Acting as a ball boy in front of the Oxford Mail stand, Hawtin was grabbed and kicked by Matt Ritchie after the Swindon man felt Hawtin was taking too long to return the ball to goalkeeper Ryan Clarke. “He tried to grab the ball off me and kicked me as well,” Hawtin said. The Oxford Mail stand gave him a huge ovation for his efforts, which saw Ritchie booked for his antics. The Swindon man did apologise to Hawtin at the final whistle, however.’ Sound familiar

Long spell on the sidelines The FA's independent regulatory commission could increase Hazard's three-match ban

Long spell on the sidelines The FA's independent regulatory commission could extend Hazard's ban

A Facebook group catchily named ‘Matt Ritchie is a disgrace’ claimed that Hawtin was ‘grabbed round the throat and pushed’ and there was talk of a complaint to the police. Believing that the punishment should be greater, Myles Francis, an angry Oxford fan, wrote to the FA asking what action would be taken against Ritchie.

Knowing what we know of the FA’s take on Hazard, Ritchie’s yellow card would also have been deemed insufficient, one imagines. The FA made a direct link in their statement between Hazard’s actions and the offence of violent conduct and, coincidentally, that was among the points raised by Francis in his letter.

He wrote: ‘I would be interested to know for what offence Ritchie was cautioned by Mr Salisbury. To my mind, the altercation with the ball boy was a clear case of violent conduct. Violent conduct is defined in Law 12 as “using excessive force or brutality against a team-mate, spectator, match official or any other person”. Law 12 goes on to say that a player guilty of an offence of violent conduct must be sent off [my emphasis].’

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And this was the FA response. ‘Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. The FA have investigated and liaised with Oxford United on this matter. The player was cautioned by the referee for the incident and has subsequently apologised to the satisfaction of the ball boy and Oxford United.’ So much for the hard line.

Faced with near identical transgressions — in both cases the referee saw the incident and administered the punishment he believed fit, in both cases the player apologised and in both there is evidence to suggest that the ball boy was carrying out his duty to the benefit of the home team only — the FA behaved in contradictory ways.

They are now rigorously pursuing Hazard, having completely ignored Ritchie. The letter announcing that no further action would be taken against the Swindon player came from Gary Stonehouse, who is a member of the FA communications team. He signed off on behalf of customer relations.

‘Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you: he really is an idiot,’ President Firefly tells Freedonia’s Cabinet.

But this is not true in Stonehouse’s case. Stonehouse is not to blame for the inconsistency. He is a lowly employee who would no doubt have taken guidance from his superiors over Ritchie. The communications department do not get to make judgment calls on serious disciplinary matters.

Stonehouse would have asked a suitable senior, or the correct department, and would then have mouthed that response. He could not have imagined, either, that within a calendar year those superiors would hang him out to dry by adopting an entirely contradictory stance — just because Hazard’s transgression attracted headlines and Ritchie’s went unnoticed beyond that day’s crowd of 11,825.

Not exactly a kickabout in the park though, was it Not exactly a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing.

Anyway, considering some of the punishments meted out to amateur footballers playing in front of the proverbial two men and a dog, it would be highly disingenuous of the FA to claim that a kick is less of a kick if only 11,000 people see it. Such a stance would be indefensibly hypocritical. Stonehouse’s reply was also the standard FA fudge, hiding behind the dubious excuse that because the referee saw the incident and ruled on it, no further action would be appropriate.

Funny how that does not apply in Hazard’s case.

When Roy Keane almost snapped Alf Inge Haaland in two during the Manchester derby, a foul that still looms large in the memory such was its studied viciousness, there could be no additional action against the Manchester United player because referee David Elleray brandished a red card. In Hazard’s case, this no longer applies. More confusion, more inconsistency, more regulation on the hoof.

No extended ban: Roy Keane was sent off for this appalling tackle on Alf Inge Haaland

No extended ban: Roy Keane was sent off for this appalling tackle on Alf Inge Haaland

It wasn’t so long ago that the FA self-servingly appealed a lengthy UEFA ban for violent conduct because it would free up Wayne Rooney to play in the European Championship finals. Now they want to come over all masterful, the guardians of morality. They should pick a face, and wear it.

Chelsea are aware of the Ritchie precedent and may use it in defence of Hazard. At the very least, they believe its existence is an embarrassment and a point of weakness for the FA. Yet has that bothered them in the past

This is an organisation who speak proudly, some might say shamelessly, of their high conviction rate in disciplinary matters, having devised a system in which the prosecution appoints the independent judges and is therefore responsible for covering their time and expenses. Such a system creates an obvious conflict of interest.

On disciplinary matters, the FA act like the Mounties, always getting their man. But that is not so hard when the same body get to play judge and jury, and write the rulebook.

Their problem is that we now live in an age where even the smallest details exist in the public domain and a two-minute internet search can throw up records, precedents and case histories that were once filed and helpfully forgotten. You have got to be good to preside over sport these days because an Oxford fan with time on his hands and a computer can post damning correspondence on a forum that is picked up and circulated like wildfire.

At which point, a body as morally flexible as the FA are likely to be asked how their populist posturing over Hazard can be justified when less than a year ago, an identical incident was deemed worthy of no more than a yellow card, an apology and a handshake.

President Firefly would certainly know how to administer justice in these circumstances. ‘I got a good mind to join a club — and beat you over the head with it.’

VIDEO: How to be a leader… Groucho Marx style

Veron proves Fergie is not always right

Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United, regards some of those criticising his goalkeeper David de Gea as idiots. He is entitled to his opinion. It is not as if anyone is going to score many points disputing the merit of professional footballers with the greatest manager in the world.

One cannot help but recall, though, that the last time he used this phrase was over criticism of Juan Sebastian Veron’s performances for United. Remind us what happened there again

Expensive mistake: Juan Sebastian Veron cost Manchester United 28m - he was sold to Chelsea for 15m

Expensive mistake: Juan Sebastian Veron cost Manchester United 28m – he was sold to Chelsea for 15m

And while we’re at it…

It was a wonderful weekend in the FA Cup. Luton Town’s victory is among the greatest upsets of the modern era, while the results for Oldham Athletic, Milton Keynes Dons, Leeds United and Brentford were stunning achievements. Arsenal also defeated Brighton and Hove Albion in a five-goal thriller.

Yet live on ITV on Saturday, Stoke City played Manchester City and Fulham travelled to Manchester United. The richer teams won. Ho, and indeed, hum.

No imagination, some people, when it comes to Cup football. If City had drawn United then, yes, show a glorified Premier League game. But these were not even particularly good replica league fixtures. They would not have been the marquee match on any casual Saturday.

When United went a goal up after three minutes through Ryan Giggs, their tie with Fulham was dead and Stoke’s defeat was eminently forgettable. Some think the Cup has lost its magic, yet the earliest stages of the competition rarely fail to delight. It is football’s television masters that have grown stale.

The magic of the Cup: Luton's stunning victory at Carrow Road was one of the great giant-killings

The magic of the Cup: Luton's stunning victory at Carrow Road was one of the great giant-killings

Dual role: Sky pundit and England coach Gary Neville

Dual role: Sky pundit and England coach Gary Neville

Crunch time to come for Neville

Few pundits have a higher approval rating than Gary Neville. Fans who thought they would hate him on Sky love him instead for his honest, straight-shooting appraisals. Falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson over David de Gea will only enhance his reputation. Richard Keys could not have picked a worse week to suggest Neville was being operated, remotely, from inside Old Trafford.

Keys did make one valid point, though. Crunch time for Neville, Sky and the Football Association is yet to come. Last weekend, Neville stated quite explicitly that Tottenham Hotspur player Clint Dempsey should have gone down under pressure from a Patrice Evra challenge in the penalty area, rather than staying on his feet. As Roy Hodgson’s England regime remains inexplicably on honeymoon, the comment was ignored.

There will come a time, however, when results are not good and some are looking to make mischief for Hodgson. At which point ENGLAND COACH TELLS PLAYERS TO CHEAT would be quite a lively story. Under pressure.

That is when Neville’s hope of riding both horses to the finish line will be tested, not before.

Sean O"Driscoll named as new Bristol City manager

O'Driscoll replaces McInnes as Bristol City boss after snubbing Championship rivals Blackpool

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

10:17 GMT, 14 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:04 GMT, 14 January 2013

Sean O’Driscoll has been confirmed as manager of Bristol City after choosing them ahead of fellow Championship club Blackpool.

The former Nottingham Forest manager, who turned down Barnsley because he felt the job was not right for him, was ready to succeed Michael Appleton at Bloomfield Road.

But a late sales pitch from the Bristol City board has steered him towards Ashton Gate in a shock development that should be confirmed in the next day.

Checking in: Bristol City have named Sean O'Driscoll as head coach on a rolling 12 month contract

Checking in: Bristol City have named Sean O'Driscoll as head coach on a rolling 12 month contract

Derek McInnes was sacked in the wake of Saturday’s 4-0 home defeat by Leicester and City moved swiftly, after earmarking O’Driscoll but sensing he was about to accept Blackpool’s offer.

O’Driscoll, 55, harshly sacked by Forest earlier this season, was won over after being assured by Ashton Gate chiefs that he could do the job on his terms, even if the likely scenario of relegation to League One becomes a reality.

O'Driscoll said: 'Sometimes you have to go with your gut instinct. It just feels right.

'I think it needs a concerted effort from everyone (to stay up) and I'll get all the credit or blame, but everyone needs to be moving in the same direction.

'We need to hit the ground running and in this topsy-turvy Championship, anything is possible.

'If
we put a run together we can soon be in a different position in the
league. Everyone I have spoken to is confident we have the ability in
the squad to achieve that.

'I like the way the club is being developed. This has always been a well-run football club and that is never going to change.'

Looking down: Derek McInnes was sacked following a 4-0 defeat by Leicester

Looking down: Derek McInnes was sacked following a 4-0 defeat by Leicester

He continued: 'I know most of the players from playing against them or seeing them play so I have an opinion of the players as they will have an opinion of me.

'But what is most important in football is the character of the team and I don't know that. I have got to create a little bit of trust quickly.

'My message to the players will be “show me what you can do.” That doesn't always mean how many goals, how many times you can keep the ball up or how clever you can be. It is more the attitude you show when things don't go your way.

'This is a great opportunity for the players to show me when it hasn't gone their way that they are up for the fight. We've got to do it together.'

John Lansdown, the Robins' football managing director, added: 'Sean has got a really good record at clubs and a record of being there for the long term and we appointed Sean because we believe he has the ability to keep us up this season.

'We are looking forward to working with him for a long time.'

Sean O"Driscoll is the frontrunner for the Blackpool job

EXCLUSIVE: O'Driscoll the shock name for Blackpool job

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

21:31 GMT, 11 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:33 GMT, 11 January 2013

Sean O’Driscoll has emerged as a shock frontrunner for the Blackpool job and could be confirmed as Michael Appleton’s successor in the next 24 hours.

After agreeing a compensation package with Blackburn for the loss of Appleton, who watched his new team from the stands against Wolves at Molineux, Blackpool were expected to move for Bradford boss Phil Parkinson.

Heir apparent: Sean O'Driscoll is being lined up for the Blackpool job. He was sacked from Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day after beating Leeds 4-2

Heir apparent: Sean O'Driscoll is being lined up for the Blackpool job. He was sacked from Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day after beating Leeds 4-2

But Sportsmail understands they have turned their attention to former Nottingham Forest manager O’Driscoll and are close to striking an agreement to install him as their new manager.

After being controversially sacked by Forest, despite taking them to the fringes of the play-off places, O’Driscoll turned down an approach from Barnsley, after speaking to Oakwell officials but deciding the job was not for him.

Taking the reins at Blackpool is viewed as a different proposition, though, and he looks to be on the verge of a swift return to Championship management, with Parkinson waiting in the wings, should the deal hit a last-minute hitch.

Enlarge

Quick exit: Michael Appleton (pictured) has left to join Blackburn - he was only in charge at Bloomfield Road for just two months

Quick exit: Michael Appleton (pictured) has left to join Blackburn – he was only in charge at Bloomfield Road for just two months

Sunderland expect Danny Graham to sign once Swansea agree deal for Kenwyne Jones

Graham set to join Sunderland for 4m once Swansea agree deal for Stoke striker Jones

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

16:51 GMT, 9 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:24 GMT, 9 January 2013

Sunderland are confident of seeing off a late challenge from QPR for Danny Graham and believe they would have signed him by now but for a snag over Kenwyne Jones’ proposed move to Swansea.

Sportsmail exclusively revealed last Friday that Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill had launched a bid to take the 27-year-old Swansea striker back to his native North East.

QPR have now joined Norwich, Reading and Aston Villa as the other challengers for his signature, but Sunderland still firmly believe they will win the race.

Out of favour: Graham could be set to leave Swansea

Out of favour: Graham could be set to leave Swansea

O’Neill is convinced Graham would have been preparing for his debut by now but for Swansea and Stoke failing to reach an agreement over Jones.

Stoke rejected a Swansea request to take Jones on loan with a view to a permanent deal. They are now waiting for Liberty Stadium bosses to come back with an offer that meets their valuation.

Once Swansea have secured a replacement for Graham – and they remain hopeful it will be Jones – the former Watford star will be allowed to leave for around 4million, with the Stadium of Light his likely destination.

Heading to Swansea: Jones (left) is set to swap Stoke for the Liberty Stadium

Heading to Swansea: Jones (left) is set to swap Stoke for the Liberty Stadium