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Bradley Wiggins celebrates Sports Personality of the Year award at Whisky Mist

Here Wiggo! Olympic hero and Tour de France champion celebrates winning Sports Personality of the Year in London jolly

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UPDATED:

12:27 GMT, 17 December 2012

After the year he's had, no one would begrudge Bradley Wiggins letting his sideburns down to celebrate winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Wiggo was spotted leaving London's Whisky Mist at 3am with his wife Catherine, clutching a bottle of beer after being crowned Britain's No 1 sportsperson.

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Where's your award Wiggo left Whisky Mist, without his award, but clutching a bottle of beer after serenading the fans on stage

Where's your award Wiggo leaves Whisky Mist, without his award, but clutching a bottle of beer

Where's your award Wiggo left Whisky Mist (right), without his award, but clutching a bottle of beer after serenading the fans on stage at the award ceremony in east London (left)

SPOTY results

1. BRADLEY WIGGINS – 492,064 votes – 30.25%

2. JESSICA ENNIS – 372,765 – 22.92%

3. ANDY MURRAY – 230,444 – 14.17%

4. MO FARAH – 131,327 – 8.07%

5. DAVID WEIR – 114,633 – 7.05%

6. ELLIE SIMMONDS – 102,894 – 6.33%

7. SIR CHRIS HOY – 42,961 – 2.64%

8. NICOLA ADAMS – 35,560 – 2.19%

9. BEN AINSLIE – 35,373 – 2.17%

10. RORY MCILROY – 29,729 – 1.83%

11. KATHERINE GRAINGER – 28,606 – 1.76%

12. SARAH STOREY – 10,342 – 0.64%

TOTAL VOTES CAST: 1,626,718

The Tour de France champion and seven-time Olympic gold medallist beat-off competition from Jessica Ennis, Andy Murray and Mo Farah to land the prize at the end of an unprecedented year of sporting action.

The London-born cyclist was serenaded by the 16,000 fans at the ExCel in east London as chants of 'Wiggo, Wiggo', rang out as he collected his prize.

Five hours later he looked slightly worse for wear as he left the Mayfair nightclub before jumping in a waiting cab with his wife.

Wiggins said: 'Thank you very much to everyone who picked the phone up and voted.

'We've had all that jungle stuff (I'm a Celebrity) and the X Factor so for people to pick up and vote is phenomenal. To my nan, the cheque’s in the post because you pressed redial so many times.

'What a year. It was the year to be
British, wasn’t it When they mentioned Mo I thought: “Oh God, I'm not
even in the top three.” To stand on the stage with the likes of these
people next to me, it’s incredible. If I stood here as the only gold
medallist it would mean nothing.

Where next Wiggins looks ready to move on to the next drinking spot...

Where next Wiggins looks ready to move on to the next drinking spot...

Where next Wiggins looks ready to move on to the next drinking spot…

Night to remember: Wiggins with his wife Catherine jump in a cab after a night of partying ends

Night to remember: Wiggins with his wife Catherine jump in a cab after a night of partying ends

Night to remember: Wiggins with his wife Catherine jump in a cab after a night of partying ends

'I'd like to thank my team-mates because I wouldn’t be here without them. Cycling is a team sport and I couldn't have done it without the team behind me.

'We’re just the athletes. That sounds really demeaning but there is an incredible team of people behind every one of us.'

Top prize: David Beckham and Kate Middleton were on hand to award Wiggins the trophy

Top prize: David Beckham and Kate Middleton were on hand to award Wiggins the trophy

VIDEO Wiggins: The award is my 'greatest sporting achievement'

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England"s patience paid off against India – Steven Finn

Patience paid off for England, admits Finn after India collapse in third Test

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UPDATED:

13:07 GMT, 8 December 2012

Steven Finn believes England earned reward for their patience after a stunning afternoon session catapulted them to the brink of victory in the third Test against India.

India collapsed after lunch on the fourth day, losing six for 36, to at one stage leave them staring at the prospect of an innings defeat.

The hosts had been 86 for none at lunch but they folded after Graeme Swann bowled Virender Sehwag with the first ball after the break.

Main man: Steven Finn helped England move towards victory in the third Test

Main man: Steven Finn helped England move towards victory in the third Test

A determined unbeaten 83 from Ravichandran Ashwin slowed England's progress, however, the tourists will begin the final day tomorrow expectant of leaving Eden Gardens 2-1 ahead in the four-Test series.

India will resume 32 runs ahead, with just Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha left to defy England's bowlers, who were led by Finn's three for 37 today.

'It was hard for us to get that first wicket but we stuck to our guns and we stuck to the plans we have worked towards in the series and that paid off,' he said.

'At lunch we said that we needed to up it a bit. We needed to focus on how we wanted to get the batsmen out.

'We got lucky with the run out and we had a very good ball first up after lunch.

'I thought we worked hard.'

Under pressure: Virender Sehwag

Under pressure: Virender Sehwag

Finn grabbed the key wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli before noticeable reverse swing trapped Zaheer Khan in front.

Asked about the late swing he found, Finn said: 'That is something I like doing.

'When you come out here it is something that you have to be able to do.
“It's a good weapon for us to have. It has done it more here than at the other grounds because the wicket is more abrasive.'

Despite India's predicament Sehwag retained hope they could yet claim an unlikely draw.

'We lost six wickets in a session which is disappointing,' he said.

'But we are still fighting. Something could happen tomorrow and we could draw the Test match.'

The right-hander did admit, however, that his fellow batsmen had lacked the application required today, but denied they had been left red-faced by Ashwin's innings late in the day.

'It's not embarrassment. He's part of the team and he's a good player,' he said.

'He has a different style that can work. My style is different.

'If you apply yourself on this wicket I don't think it is too difficult to score runs.'

Harry Redknapp says no to QPR Christmas party

Scrooge! Redknapp rules out Christmas party… but says QPR can celebrate when they stay up

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UPDATED:

12:30 GMT, 7 December 2012

Harry Redknapp has banned Christmas at QPR because the club have ‘got nothing to celebrate’.

Rangers are still searching for their first Premier League win of the season and their manager wants to put off partying until the club has secured its top-flight status.

The boss said: 'I'm not mad about footballers having Christmas. I’ve been doing this job an awful long time and find it seems to be nothing but aggravation.

Earn your party: Harry Redknapp has told his QPR players they have nothing to celebrate this Christmas, but that they can party if and when they stay up

Earn your party: Harry Redknapp has told his QPR players they have nothing to celebrate this Christmas, but that they can party if and when they stay up

'I feel in our position we're in we've really got nothing to celebrate. If we get out of trouble we’ll have a big party at the end of the year, I’m sure. I just think this is the busiest time of the year.

'I haven’t discussed it with the players. Nobody’s come to see me and asked to have a Christmas party. If they did I’d say: “I'd rather you didn't.” We're not in a position where we've got anything to celebrate.'

Meanwhile, Redknapp confirmed Tal Ben Haim is having a trial with QPR.

Ben Haim, 30, has been without a club since leaving Portsmouth in August and has been training in west London under the watchful eye of QPR staff this week.

Redknapp told a press conference this morning: 'I am having a look at him, he’s a good defender, he’s a good lad and has a great attitude.

'He looks very fit and I have let him come in and train, we will just see where we go in the next couple of weeks.'

Ben Haim, who has also had spells at Bolton, Chelsea and Manchester City, has not played since Israel’s 4-0 World Cup qualifying defeat against Russia in September.

The new manager is looking to strengthen his squad next month after taking over a club rooted to the bottom of the Barclays Premier League without a win in their first 15 matches.

Redknapp has secured draws against Sunderland and Aston Villa since replacing Mark Hughes and his team face fellow strugglers Wigan at the DW Stadium tomorrow.

Italian coach attempts to trip up winger – video

VIDEO: Italian coach attempts to trip winger but ends up being sent to stand behind a fence

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UPDATED:

14:46 GMT, 14 November 2012

Working out how to defend against a tricky, pacy winger is the stuff of managers' nightmares.

Man marking him out of the game is one option while doubling up and risking leaving space elsewhere on the pitch is another.

But if all else fails, the boss could always take matters into his own hands and attempt to remove him from the game… just like the Italian youth coach below.

Cheeky: The coach attempts to trip up the winger as he launches an attack

Cheeky: The coach attempts to trip up the winger as he launches an attack

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The attempted trip happened during an Italian youth league game between Corpolo and Rivazzurra.

A Corpolo winger set off down the touchline but was stopped in his tracks by a cheeky flick from the coach.

Although he missed both the ball and man, the winger stumbled to the ground before both sets of players are involved in a brawl.

The offending coach was then sent to stand sheepishly behind a fence to ensure he could interfere no more.

Locked out: The coach was sent to stand behind the fence

Locked out: The coach was sent to stand behind the fence

Heather Watson reaping benefits of Nick Bollettieri Academy move

Leaving home at 12 to go to USA for tennis took guts, but that's… Plucky Heather!

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 15 October 2012

Michelle Watson, Heather's mum, used to curse the fact that the 80 or so miles that lie between Guernsey and the British mainland make it one of the most expensive stretches of water to cross in the world.

It is a major reason why, when her daughter started to show enough promise as a youngster to start taking tennis seriously, the family quickly realised they needed to start looking further afield if she was to properly progress.

With the kind of determination that marked her performance in saving four match points to win the Japan Open on Sunday — ending a 24-year wait for a British winner on the Women’s Tour — they started scouting for a base.

Always smiling: Heather Watson

Bags of potential: A smiling Heather Watson was a smash hit at junior Wimbledon

Bags of potential: The ever-smiling Heather Watson as a child (left) and a smash hit at junior Wimbledon (right)

Spain was considered, as was the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, the LTA’s gated community about which opinion in the sport is heavily divided.

In the end, taking a deep breath to absorb the large fees charged to non-scholarship students, and the travel involved, the Watson family plumped for the tried and tested Nick Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

It turned out to be a successful move and raises the question whether Watson would have come close to achieving her potential if she had not gone through the character-building upheavals involved.

As the man who founded the eponymous training centre pointed out, the results of both the men’s and women’s Japan Opens have been cause for a double celebration in Bradenton.

While Watson triumphed, the men’s event saw a historic win for Bollettieri old boy Kei Nishikori, who came from even further away to learn the game in Florida and is now his country’s first winner of its home championship.

Making history: Watson ended Britain's 24-year wait for a women's singles title in Japan on Sunday

Making history: Watson ended Britain's 24-year wait for a women's singles title in Japan on Sunday

Time and again in tennis you see that displacement at a relatively young age has been the precursor to a stellar career. The octogenarian super coach can highlight the likes of his star ex-pupils such as Andre Agassi, Monica Seles and Maria Sharapova, but there are European examples too.

Novak Djokovic left Belgrade aged twelve to attend a tennis school in Munich while Andy Murray honed his game at the Casal-Sanchez Academy in Barcelona.

‘If you look at where the champions have come out of, from the Eighties onwards it’s clear the benefits of the academy,’ Bollettieri, a man with the enthusiasm of half his 81 years, told Sportsmail. ‘It’s not just that you have got opponents from different places that you practise with and have to beat. You see an extra determination and mental strength from those who have been away from home.’

Proud: Heather with her mum Michelle

Proud: Heather with her mum Michelle

Being far removed from your roots is not something unfamiliar in the Watson family. Michelle comes from a village in Papua New Guinea and met Heather’s father Ian, a Mancunian, when he was working in the capital Port Moresby. They moved to the Channel Islands, where Ian worked for the Guernsey Electricity Board, and got into tennis at the Kings Club.

It is a world removed from the Bradenton Academy that Heather, accompanied for long periods by her mother, moved to at the age of 12 while enrolling at the local school.

‘Heather was always a character, always smiling, and began to show ability around the age of 16,’ said Bollettieri. ‘She used to pray for her opponents to miss, but gradually she learned to go after the ball and make things happen herself.’

Up until she won the US Open juniors in 2009 Bollettieri believed she might be best served by going to an American university but that success changed his thinking.

‘She takes the ball early and has developed a good volley. It should not be under-estimated how much playing doubles has helped her (she is Britain’s top-ranked doubles player). She is not a big girl at 5ft 7in but makes up for it with her movement so there is plenty of potential.

'Remember she could not have done it without supportive parents, and your Fed Cup captain Judy Murray has also been a very positive influence.’

Of course, perspective is needed and as a grounded individual Watson will know that. She has only beaten four top-50 players since March, compared with the nine that have fallen to Laura Robson in the same period. Robson remains the more likely to win a Grand Slam down the line.

On the up: Watson has broken into the world's top 50 following her triumph in Osaka

On the up: Watson has broken into the world's top 50 following her triumph in Osaka

As for Judy Murray, she looks to have a decent Fed Cup team in the making with Jo Konta another top-100 player in the making.

Wimbledon champions Jonny Marray and Danish partner Frederik Nielsen have qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 next month. Depth may be lacking but these are heady times at the top of the British game.

Under fire Clark calls for more bravery from Birmingham players after latest home loss

Under-fire Clark calls for more bravery from Birmingham players after latest home loss

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UPDATED:

19:31 GMT, 6 October 2012

Under-pressure Birmingham boss Lee Clark called for his players to stand up and be counted and stop hiding behind him after City were again booed off following another home defeat.

A hurt Clark cut a frustrated figure following this afternoon's 1-0 defeat to former employers Huddersfield, leaving Blues fourth-bottom in the npower Championship.

Former Sunderland and Newcastle player Lee Clark

Under the spotlight: Lee Clark is feeling the heat after another home defeat

Blues' fifth defeat from 10 games was a second successive setback on home soil in the league for the first time in 19 months, and came after the abject 5-0 rout by Barnsley, the club's biggest home league defeat in 25 years.

Reports of a player revolt were dismissed this week but Clark saw his side put in a disappointing display, especially in the first half, and felt his charges handed the initiative to the visitors from the first whistle due to a lack of competitiveness.

Jermaine Beckford's 25th-minute strike settled matters for high-flying Huddersfield, while substitute Nikola Zigic was sent off 16 minutes from time for a high challenge on Callum Woods.

Clark said: 'It's our home, it's where the majority of our fans are. They come to see us and want to see a performance. Any football fan in the world wants to see a bit of drive.

'Some good tackles are as good as a good shot, they get the crowd lifted, they get them behind the team, they drive you forward.

Jermaine Beckford of Huddersfield Town scores a goal to make the score 0-1

Twisting the knife: Huddersfield's Jermaine Beckford scores to inflict another loss on Lee Clark – this time against his former club

'Football fans are working-class people, they want to see someone having a right good go for their team, in terms of tackling, heading, competing.

'You see the size of me, I'm not a big fella but I competed, I put my head in there, I put my foot in there. Maybe seven times out of 10 the opposition came through me with the ball but I was still putting some sort of challenge in.

'There were four of five players in the first half who never did that. They've got to stand up and be counted.

'Okay, I'm responsible but I can't keep saying that. Can they start taking responsibility

'I'm getting the flak from supporters, no problem I can take that. But I'm not sitting in the dressing room telling them not to tackle, to pussyfoot around, telling them to mis-place passes.

'They can't just hide behind me all the time, they've got to come out fighting.'

Huddersfield boss Simon Grayson backed Clark to turn things around at St Andrew's after watching his side end a run of back-to-back home defeats with a third successive win on the road.

It takes Town – who were impressive here, more so in the first half – up to sixth in the table.

'I think deservedly we got the win, getting any points in the Championship is never easy,' Grayson said.

'We started the game very well, very brightly, pressurised Birmingham when we needed to, played in the right areas with purpose and created some good opportunities. I'm delighted from that point of view.

'The back end of the game when Birmingham had nothing to lose we were resilient and withstood some pressure.

'To come here and get a result is satisfying from my point of view after two tough previous defeats.'

Hat"ll do nicely! Bladerunner Pistorius gets warm reception as he returns to South Africa

Hat'll do nicely! Bladerunner Pistorius gets warm reception as he returns to South Africa

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UPDATED:

12:30 GMT, 11 September 2012

More than a million fans rammed the streets of central London on Monday to salute Britain's Olympic and Paralympic heroes.

And around the world too, athletes are returning home from London's summer celebration of sport to warm receptions.

The South African Bladerunner Oscar Pistorius was all smiles as he was presented with a cheque for 700,000 Rand (just over 53,000) upon his return home to Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Rand reward: Oscar Pistorius is presented with a cheque for R700,000 (about 53,000) by South African Minister of Sports Fikile Mbalula

Rand reward: Oscar Pistorius is presented with a cheque for R700,000 (about 53,000) by South African Minister of Sports Fikile Mbalula

Dozens of fans turned out at the airport to greet the world's most famous disabled athlete, who won two gold medals and one silver at the London Games.

And the precious metal was on display as Pistorius accepted his financial reward for winning the T44 400 metres and the 4 x 100 metre relay from the country's Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula.

Welcome home! Pistorius, his gold and silver medals hanging around his neck, signs autographs as he steps off the plan at O.R Tambo Airport in Johannesburg

Welcome home! Pistorius, his gold and silver medals hanging around his neck, signs autographs as he steps off the plan at O.R Tambo Airport in Johannesburg

Pleased as punch: Dozens of fans turned out at the airport to welcome Pistorius back onto home soil

Pleased as punch: Dozens of fans turned out at the airport to welcome Pistorius back onto home soil

His silver came in the T44 200 metres, where he finished second behind Brazil's Alan Oliveira amid controversy about the length of the winner's blades.

But Pistorius was beaten into fourth in his other race, the 100 metres, which was won by Great Britain's Jonnie Peacock.

However, this didn't seem to bother him as he sported a fetching hat in the South African national colours as he received his cheque.

Before leaving London last night, Pistorius spoke about the 2012 Paralympics in glowing terms.

Hard hat area: Pistorius is presented with some headgear as he accepts a reward from the South African Government

Hard hat area: Pistorius is presented with some headgear as he accepts a reward from the South African Government

Brilliant Bladerunner: Pistorius celebrates a dominant win in the T44 400 metres final

Brilliant Bladerunner: Pistorius celebrates a dominant win in the T44 400 metres final

He said: 'The summer has been a dream come true. Lord Coe and his team at Locog have done the most amazing job.

'Their attention to detail has made this the most phenomenal and successful Olympic and Paralympic Games.

'I think the world has finally seen that Paralympic sport is truly elite. It has performances that are really worth supporting and worth getting to know the athletes for.

'It's been a humbling blessing to be here.'

Roberto Di Matteo close becoming Chelsea"s next manager

Di Matteo close to landing Chelsea job as Guardiola pursuit seems to have failed

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UPDATED:

21:54 GMT, 6 June 2012

Chelsea have told Roberto Di Matteo they would like him to remain as manager, with sources at Stamford Bridge increasingly confident the Italian will still be in charge at the start of the new season.

Roman Abramovich is now understood to view Di Matteo as a serious replacement for Andre Villas-Boas after trying, and seemingly failing, to persuade Pep Guardiola to cut short his sabbatical after leaving Barcelona to move to Stamford Bridge.

Nearly: Roberto Di Matteo is edging closer to the Chelsea job

Nearly: Roberto Di Matteo is edging closer to the Chelsea job

Nothing has been agreed yet, and last
night it remained unclear as to how long a contract is being discussed
for the man who guided the club to a stunning Champions League and FA
Cup double last month.

Di Matteo may also still have issues.

It will concern him that he could be keeping the managerial seat warm while the club wait for Guardiola. He also has options in Italy.

Relaxing: The Champions League winning boss has been taking it easy during the summer

Relaxing: The Champions League winning boss has been taking it easy during the summer

The Chelsea players would welcome Di Matteo continuing. They told Abramovich as much in Munich after lifting the European Cup.

Pep Guardiola insists he"ll manage again

Pep takes a break after quitting Barcelona… but insists he'll boss again

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UPDATED:

21:01 GMT, 27 April 2012

Pep Guardiola admitted last night that he needed to get away from it all but stopped short of saying if that journey would take him to the Barclays Premier League next season.

Confirming that he was leaving Barcelona at the end of the season, he gave an emotional goodbye speech and refused to commit over his future.

He was asked about a story appearing in the Spanish press that claimed he had met with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich on February 29 in Paris and said: 'No, that would be a lack of respect to the club.'

Feeling the strain: Guardiola says he needs to get away

Feeling the strain: Guardiola says he needs to get away

But he also said he would coach again 'sooner or later'.

THE NOU MAN
Nou man: Tito Vilanova

Tito Vilanova (right) has been Pep Guardiola's right-hand man since 2007, when they ran Barcelona's B side.

Vilanova, 42, has been involved in all Barca's triumphs since he became first-team assistant coach in 2008.

Watched by eight members of his first-team squad, Guardiola said: 'Four years as head coach here is an eternity. Time takes its toll, I am empty and I need to refuel. It would have been bad for me and for the squad if I had continued.

'I need to put distance between myself and the club. Sooner or later I will manage again, I don't know when. Right now I am interested in other things; life will take me where it takes me. There are other things aside from football.'

Club captains Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez, as well as Gerard Pique, Victor Valdes, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Pedro were all present at the Ricard Maxenchs room at the Nou Camp to hear their coach admit that he and the club had known for five months that he would not be continuing.

Stunned: Carles Puyol, Xavi, Victor Valdes and Andres Iniesta listen to their coach

Stunned: Carles Puyol, Xavi, Victor Valdes and Andres Iniesta listen to their coach

Lionel Messi appeared to have taken his coach's decision worse than his team-mates and was not present.

He later said on his Facebook page: 'I want to thank Pep from the bottom of my heart for all he has given me. I prefer not to be there with him because of the strong emotions that I feel. I know the press will be looking for sad faces and that is something that I have decided not to show.'

Guardiola added: 'I am the coach with the third highest number of games in charge. That shows how difficult it is to coach this club.'

He also admitted that despite months of speculation that the club were desperately trying to persuade him to stay, the decision to leave had been taken last year.

He said: 'Between the end of October and the start of December I told the president that this was the end of my time but I could not make it public, or even tell the players. It would have been a mess if I had. The decision was taken a long time ago.'

Not returning: Guardiola revealed all at a press conference

Not returning: Guardiola revealed all at a press conference

Guardiola's decision to leave has saddened Barcelona supporters but they were lifted yesterday by the news that his right-hand man, Tito Vilanova, will take over next season.

'The players accepted the news with a lot of enthusiasm and that is a great sign. They are in good hands,' Guardiola said.

The 41-year-old added that he was proud of what he had achieved. He took over first-team responsibilities on May 8, 2008, after just one year's experience as Barcelona's B team coach.

He left the B side as Spanish third division champions and was selected ahead of Jose Mourinho to put an end to two years without a trophy.

Relief: Guardiola leaves the press conference with a smile on his face

Relief: Guardiola leaves the press conference with a smile on his face

He lost his first game away to newly-promoted Numancia and could then only draw his first home match against Racing Santander, giving rise to the suggestion that the club had erred giving so much responsibility to such a young and inexperienced manager.

The team then beat Sporting Gijon 6-1 away in their next game and the rest is history – or better put, the most successful period in.

Dorus de Vries says he has no regrets about swapping Swansea for Wolves

No regrets: De Vries says he was right to quit high flying Swans for relegated Wolves

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UPDATED:

13:21 GMT, 27 April 2012

Wolves keeper Dorus de Vries has no regrets about leaving tomorrow's opponents Swansea last summer despite the midlands club being relegated from the Barclays Premier League.

De Vries will make only his second league appearance since his move from the Liberty Stadium against Brendan Rodgers' side in place of the injured Wayne Hennessey.

But the Dutchman is philosophical about how events have mapped out during the past nine months and is looking to establish himself as number one while Hennessey recovers from knee ligament surgery.

It never rains it pours : Dejected Dorus De Vries sees Wolves relegated

It never rains it pours : Dejected Dorus De Vries sees Wolves relegated

De Vries said: “I had some great years at the Liberty Stadium, great memories. Swansea deserve to be where they are at the moment, they've had a great season.

'A lot of the players have been there since League Two and to show their quality at Premier League level, and the way they play, is magnificent.

'I had a great connection with the supporters although it might be a little bit different on the weekend!'

With regard to his move to Molineux, De Vries said: 'It's easy to look later on. I don't have a magic wand and no one can predict the future.

'I always thought Swansea, with their style, would be suited to playing at Premier League level but looking back, at the time I signed for Wolves, I had a good feeling for Wolves.

Relegation confirmed: Sergio Aquero scores the goal past De Vries to send Wolves into The Championship

Relegation confirmed: Sergio Aquero scores the goal past De Vries to send Wolves into The Championship

'There are no 'ifs' because I cannot turn back time and, at the time it felt the right choice. I'm sticking with that.'

De Vries has no doubts that Rodgers will manage one of the top Premier League clubs in the future.

He said: 'It doesn't surprise me at all that Brendan is being tipped for bigger things in his career.

'Tactically, he is really up there, his training methods are really good. He is still a young manager but I see him doing bigger things. I regard him really highly.

The new man: Michel Vorm has been a revelation for Swansea this season

The new man: Michel Vorm has been a revelation for Swansea this season

'I wouldn't be surprised if eventually he ends up at one of the big clubs. I know his character, he is obsessed by the game, has a great vision, and I've got nothing but positive things to say about him.'

De Vries is challenging Wolves to end the season on a high despite going down ahead of plotting for an instant return to the top flight.

He said: 'Although we got relegated, we want to make a positive ending in the last three games for us.

'We owe it to the fans for whom it has been a horrible season as well as for everyone involved with the club.

'In the last three games we want to create a positive feeling going into the summer break, reflect on the season, and then kick on next season.

'From the start you've got to be ready for the Championship.'

Wolves will be without on-loan Tottenham defender Sebastien Bassong at the Liberty Stadium.

Bassong suffered a hamstring injury during Sunday's 2-0 home reversal by Manchester City and will be sidelined for up to a fortnight.

Christophe Berra is poised to replace Bassong as interim manager Terry Connor searches for his first win at the 11th attempt.