Tag Archives: mackay

Wolves 1 Cardiff 2 – match report: Fraizer Campbell scores both goals for Championship leaders

Wolves 1 Cardiff 2: Campbell bags brace for leaders as Molineux misery continues

By
Neil Moxley

PUBLISHED:

16:10 GMT, 24 February 2013

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UPDATED:

22:06 GMT, 24 February 2013

Frazier Campbell’s headed double ensured Cardiff would have something to crow about this weekend as Dean Saunders’ nightmare start as Wolves manager showed little sign of ending.

Former Manchester United trainee Campbell pounced in each half to extend his side’s advantage over the Championship’s chasing pack to eight points on an afternoon when rivals Swansea grabbed the limelight at Wembley.

Campbell, a 650,000 signing from Sunderland in January, took his tally to five goals in as many games for his new club on a weekend when Cardiff increased their lead at the top of the division following Hull City’s demise at Bolton.

Brace: Fraizer Campbell scored two goals as the Championship leaders won at Molineux

Brace: Fraizer Campbell scored two goals as the Championship leaders won at Molineux

MATCH FACTS

Wolverhampton: Ikeme, Batth (Ebanks-Blake 46), Johnson, Gorkss, Doherty (Foley 78), Doumbia (Doyle 46), Henry, O'Hara, Robinson,
Sako, Sigurdarson.

Subs Not Used: De Vries, Edwards, Ward, Davis.

Booked: Doherty.

Goals: Sako 70.

Cardiff: Marshall, Connolly, Hudson (McNaughton 75), Turner, Taylor, Conway, Whittingham, Cowie (Kim 80), Gunnarsson, Bellamy, Campbell (Helguson 82).

Subs Not Used: Lewis, Noone, Mutch, Mason.

Booked: Whittingham.

Goals: Campbell 20, 67.

Att: 20,930

Ref: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).

Championship table, fixtures and results

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay said he was not surprised by his signing’s impact. ‘Fraizer needed to get football back into his life,’ said Mackay. ‘The quality of the boy I remember scoring goals for Hull City has not diminished. He needed us and we needed him.

‘Did I expect him to hit the ground running Yes, I did.’

Saunders’ use of a five-man defence backfired in the first half, with Cardiff establishing a grip in the 20th minute. Aron Gunnarsson’s long throw was flicked on by Ben Turner and Campbell headed home from inside the six-yard box.

Saunders brought on Kevin Doyle and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake at half-time, but Craig Bellamy’s inswinging cross in the 67th minute left Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme stranded in no man’s land after leaving his line and Campbell finished at the far post.

Bakary Sako’s deflected free-kick three minutes later made a game of it and Ebanks-Blake sidefooted a shot into the ground and over the bar with the goal gaping following Sako’s 70-yard run late on.

Lead: Campbell heads past Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme

Lead: Campbell heads past Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme

Saunders, yet to win in eight games
since arriving at Molineux but hoping to sign Reading striker Simon
Church on loan, said: ‘We made two catastrophic mistakes. We conceded a
goal from a long throw — and I walked them through how to defend it
yesterday. As a manager, it’s the sort of thing that keeps you awake at
night.’

Hope: Bakary Sako scored for Wolves with 20 minutes to play at Molineux

Hope: Bakary Sako scored for Wolves with 20 minutes to play at Molineux

Martin Keown says that teams are taking the FA Cup seriously again

Martin Keown: New trend: taking the FA Cup seriously… apart from Cardiff

By
Martin Keown

PUBLISHED:

23:55 GMT, 6 January 2013

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UPDATED:

00:22 GMT, 7 January 2013

It was nice to see a lot of Premier League teams taking the FA Cup seriously, including the champions Manchester City.

Outside the Premier League, though, Malky Mackay made 11 changes to his Cardiff side and it backfired, with Macclesfield knocking them out. Yet Cardiff might not mind.

The Championship leaders have been top before, only to fade — they want promotion this time. So maybe the sacrifice of going out of the Cup is bearable.

Cardiff's chopping and changing caused their downfall

Knocked out: Cardiff's chopping and changing caused their downfall

Brighton are bright

A look at the quality in Brighton’s line-up means their win over Newcastle should not have been such a surprise. They have Wayne Bridge, Andrea Orlandi, who was at Swansea, and David Lopez, who has played more than 100 games for Athletic Bilbao.

They are talented. The Newcastle players wanted to come in and make a mark. Instead, they have just been part of a disastrous result.

Andrea Orlandi's finish stole the show against Newcastle

Spanish style: Andrea Orlandi's finish stole the show against Newcastle

Dickov kops good news

What a weekend for Paul Dickov. When his backroom staff were put on gardening leave it sent out the message that he would likely be next with the team struggling near the bottom of League One.

But his squad responded by posting one of the most impressive wins of the weekend away at Nottingham Forest. It went slightly unnoticed, but Dickov will now be relishing the visit of Liverpool.

Dickov's Oldham stunned Alex McLeish and his new club Nottingham Forest

what a peformance! Dickov's Oldham stunned Alex McLeish and his new club Nottingham Forest

Ryan passes ever test

Ryan Giggs has been excellent of late and his pass to set up the Manchester United equaliser for Robin van Persie was sublime.

It probably secured him another year at the club. Giggs has been playing back out wide again recently. He doesn’t try to beat people for fun like he used to, he just hits fantastic diagonal balls. He doesn’t expect too much of himself.

Giggs once again proved his worth setting up Robin Van Persie for United's equaliser

Old age no barrier: Giggs once again proved his worth setting up Robin Van Persie for United's equaliser

A right Royals booster

Reading’s win at Crawley could give them the confidence they need to kickstart their Premier League campaign. It could have all gone wrong for Brian McDermott after his side fell behind so early, but they have good spirit at that club and stayed calm.

Going out could have been a major embarrassment and impacted on their chances of survival but they just got on with it and will fancy their chances of reaching the fifth round.

Reading went behind after just two minutes to Crawley but knuckled down to win

Keeping the faith: Reading went behind after just two minutes to Crawley but knuckled down to win

Gibbs proves his class

I hope Kieran Gibbs got home and watched a re-run of his performance against Swansea. If he did, Gibbs would see just how well he played. The left back is such a good player and can be even better if he continues to perform at this level.

He took the game to Swansea, got a deserved goal, and you can see there is so much more to come from him. In the past he has seemed a little apologetic to be in an Arsenal shirt. He shouldn’t feel like that.

Kieran Gibbs put himself back in the mind of Roy Hodgson

England ambitions: Kieran Gibbs put himself back in the mind of Roy Hodgson

Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers sack managers – Michael Walker

'Tis the season to sack managers in desperation

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UPDATED:

23:11 GMT, 27 December 2012

Blackburn Rovers host Nottingham Forest on New Year’s Day. That should make for an interesting pre-match boardroom. The sometimes-present Indian owners of Blackburn (founded 1875) may be at Ewood Park to shake hands with the sometimes-present Kuwaiti owners of Forest (founded 1865).

/12/27/article-2253953-16A8F759000005DC-402_468x286.jpg” width=”468″ height=”286″ alt=”Sacked: Forest dismissed Sean O'Driscoll despite sitting just one point outside the Championship play-offs” class=”blkBorder” />

Sacked: Forest dismissed Sean O'Driscoll despite sitting just one point outside the Championship play-offs

It feels at times in the Championship as if there is a giant game of scramble going on. Leicester City have made eight managerial changes since 2007. They remain a Championship club – one formed in 1884, now Thai-owned.

Malaysian-controlled Cardiff City replaced Dave Jones with Malky Mackay and forced a club called the Bluebirds (formed 1899) to play in red.

For Cardiff it is working. So far. They are five points clear at the top of the Championship and the Premier League are already thinking of them.

Cardiff are one of just six Championship clubs not to have played in the Premier League and, if they go up, would be ‘Club 46’ – meaning half the pyramid would have appeared in the Premier League.

That reveals a level of democracy and meritocracy we do not always associate with the 20-year-old breakaway league.

What we, and Championship club owners, think about more often is the wealth of the top flight.

Flying high: Cardiff City are top of the Championship wearing red

Flying high: Cardiff City are top of the Championship wearing red

If there is a logical reason O’Driscoll and Berg have been dismissed from their posts in the past 36 hours it is that: money.

When the term ‘Moneyball’ came into circulation it was meant to convey economic cuteness in sport, the recognising of the under-valued and exploiting it. In Championship reality, Moneyball is a phrase that conveys desperation, a chase, one increasingly fuelled by foreign money, one getting ever more urgent.

Talk to anyone in football and they will say this is a very good season to be promoted to the Premier League and a very bad one to be relegated from it. The explanation is the new TV rights deal, which kicks in next season.

The ballpark figure for a deal, which is around 80 per cent concluded, is that it will be worth 5billion to Premier League clubs over the next three seasons. Five billion.

Before a ball is kicked in August 2013 that means the club finishing 20th in May 2014 are guaranteed to bring in between 50-55million for simply being part of the elite. That is a jump from the 39m Wolves received from television for coming 20th last season.

With guaranteed parachute payments of approximately 34m over four seasons following relegation, it means there is an immediate financial reward of 85-90m for promotion this season.

Paying the price: Berg was only unveiled at Ewood Park on November 1

Paying the price: Berg was only unveiled at Ewood Park on November 1

Add the 10-15m impact of promotion on
season tickets, plus a hike in sponsorship fees and that ‘90m match’
that is the Championship play-off final becomes the ‘100m match’, maybe
even the 110m match. It’s a different form of Moneyball.

At Ewood Park they will know these figures keenly. Blackburn received just over 40m from TV in their relegation in May. They are now half a season into the first of four parachute payments totalling around 34m. These are front-loaded, so in the first two seasons the payments are about 11m, the following two are around 6m.

With their first lump of 11m, Blackburn spent 8m on Huddersfield Town striker Jordan Rhodes.

Rhodes has scored 11 goals in 20 Blackburn appearances but Rovers are 16 points off second-placed Hull City.

More promisingly, Rovers are eight points off the play-offs, which is a statistic to sell to wary managers. But there were only 12,000 people in attendance at Blackburn’s last home game.

Next season three other clubs will have 11m in parachute payments to spend. That will bring increased competition, more pressure and more managers being dropped off the Championship’s fiscal cliff.

Leicester 0 Cardiff 1 – match report

Leicester 0 Cardiff 1: Bellamy goal sends Bluebirds clear at the top after win at Foxes

PUBLISHED:

17:28 GMT, 22 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:33 GMT, 22 December 2012

Cardiff bounced back from their surprise home defeat to Peterborough with a smash-and-grab victory at Leicester to move three points clear at the top of the npower Championship.

Leicester laid siege to the Bluebirds' goal in the first half with chance after chance going begging.

David Marshall made a handful of saves to keep the Foxes at bay and, when he was beaten by Andy King's long-range effort, a post came to his rescue.

Flying high: Craig Bellamy celebrates scoring the only goal of the game

Flying high: Craig Bellamy celebrates scoring the only goal of the game

Match facts

Leicester: Schmeichel, Konchesky, Morgan, Whitbread, De Laet, Dyer (Lingard 68), King, Drinkwater, Knockaert (Marshall 68), Nugent,Vardy (Waghorn 51).

Subs not used: Logan, James, Moore, Futacs.

Cardiff: Marshall, Taylor, Hudson, Turner, Connolly, Kim (Cowie 55), Whittingham, Mutch (Gunnarsson 76), Conway, Bellamy, Helguson (Gestede 51).

Subs not used: Lewis, McNaughton, Noone, Mason.

Booked: Turner, Connolly, Whittingham.

Goal: Bellamy 25.

Attendance: 25,055

Referee: Graham Salisbury

Latest Championship results, fixtures and table

Craig Bellamy looked a threat on the counter-attack throughout and it was he who grabbed the only goal of the game against the run of play after 25 minutes.

The Wales international showed great technique after collecting Craig Conway's pass to find the bottom left-hand corner of the net from 12 yards out.

That seemed to knock the stuffing out of Leicester, who created very little afterward.
The Foxes were unchanged from the side that started last weekend's defeat at Millwall, although striker Martyn Waghorn was fit enough for a place on the bench following surgery to remove his appendix.

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay made three changes after seeing his side's 100 per cent home record ended by struggling Peterborough.

Mark Hudson returned to skipper the side after suspension, which saw Matt Connolly revert to right-back and Kevin McNaughton drop to the bench.

Kim Bo-kyung was also restored to the starting line up in place of Craig Noone, while Jordon Mutch took the place of Don Cowie.

Leicester started brightly with Danny Drinkwater firing over early on.

David Nugent became the first home player of the afternoon to be frustrated by Marshall when the Scot parried his effort from the edge of the area.

Smash and grab: Craig Bellamy scores the only goal of the game

Smash and grab: Craig Bellamy scores the only goal of the game

King struck a post after 13 minutes when the ball broke to him outside the area after Marshall had kept out Wes Morgan's header.

Marshall then twice denied Anthony Knockaert when the Frenchman let fly from long range before Bellamy delivered the killer blow for the Foxes.

Jamie Vardy might have done better than head over the crossbar before half-time in what turned out to be Leicester's final real chance.

Pearson's side tried to push for an equalising goal in the second half, but were always wary of the threat caused by Bellamy's pace, perhaps preventing them from committing as many players forward as they would have liked.

Nugent and substitute Ben Marshall fired in shots from outside the box but never worried the Cardiff keeper.

Back-to-back defeats are a blow to Leicester's automatic promotion aspirations, which will come under intense scrutiny again on Boxing Day when they travel to Pearson's former club Hull.

The victory gives Cardiff a slight cushion ahead of their home game against title rivals Crystal Palace in four day's time.

Fernando Torres should score for Chelsea: Michael Walker Something for the Weekend

Something for the weekend: Why struggling Torres should be spot on at Sunderland

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UPDATED:

12:11 GMT, 7 December 2012

Every Friday, Michael Walker will pick out 10 things to look forward to over the footballing weekend.

This week, he explains why it is written in the stars that Fernando Torres will score his first Premier League goal in two months, while casting his eye over the struggling clubs in the Football League.

1. Friday night, Ewood Park, the weekend starts here. How do
Blackburn Rovers fans feel now about their club Steve Kean is gone, Henning
Berg is in and Rovers have one win in their last seven games – at Peterborough.

They have lost the last two at home. Championship leaders Cardiff City are the
visitors. They too have foreign ownership issues, on the subject of which
Cardiff manager Malky Mackay said: 'It's the way it is, the way it's going and
it's how you manage that.'

Plenty to ponder: Henning Berg has made a stuttering start as Blackburn Rovers manager

Plenty to ponder: Henning Berg has made a stuttering start as Blackburn Rovers manager

2. Giving hope to Championship clubs, and South Wales, is
that two years ago Swansea City-Norwich was a Championship game. Tomorrow it’s
mid-table Premier League, prosperous and confident. Two years ago Fabio Borini
opened the scoring for Swansea. Whatever happened to him

3. Giving hope to East Anglia is Mick McCarthy. Ipswich Town
host Millwall tomorrow. McCarthy became player-manager at Millwall in season
1991-92. It takes a good memory (or a book) to recall that Mark Falco scored
four goals for Millwall that season.

4. Crystal Palace v Blackpool. Can’t imagine Ian Holloway
will be worked up for that one.

Raring to go: Ian Holloway (left) welcomes his former club Blackpool to Selhurst Park tomorrow

Raring to go: Ian Holloway (left) welcomes his former club Blackpool to Selhurst Park tomorrow

5. At the 16th attempt QPR seek a first league win of the
season, at Wigan. Just to revisit Celtic’s economics, QPR spent 6.8m on
agents’ fees in the latest figures while Celtic’s annual TV income is around
2m.

6. At least Hartlepool United can say they have won one
league game. The problem has been the other 19. Hartlepool rose as high as third place in League One last
season and began dreaming of the Championship. Now they are rock-bottom with a
new manager, John Hughes, and declining attendances. But they got their first point for over a month last week
at Walsall. Maybe they’ve bottomed out.

Full house: Rangers have continued to attract big crowds despite being relegated to the Third Division

Full house: Rangers have continued to attract big crowds despite being relegated to the Third Division

7. The biggest domestic crowd of the weekend will be at
Arsenal, who seem to get 60,000 regardless of how many turn up. Bonkers as it
sounds on the weekend of the Manchester derby, the second biggest might be in
the Scottish Third Division, where Rangers play Stirling Albion and are
celebrating the 140th anniversary of the Ibrox club. There’ll be more flags
than a Belfast riot.

8. Fernando Torres has not scored in the league since
October 6th but Chelsea are at Sunderland tomorrow and Torres has reason to smile when he thinks of
the Stadium of Light. It was there that Torres first aroused English interest eleven years ago.
It was in the final of the Under-16 European Championships and Spain defeated France. Torres got the
only goal in front of 31,000. It was a penalty.

Where it all began: Fernando Torres scored for Spain Under 16s at the Stadium of Light

Where it all began: Fernando Torres scored for Spain Under 16s at the Stadium of Light

He scored the only goal in Spain’s 1-1 draw with
Italy in the quarter-final too. It was a penalty, also at the Stadium of Light. There was a
shoot-out. Spain won 4-3 and you’ll be able to guess who scored the winning penalty in it. So if there’s
a Chelsea penalty tomorrow, Juan Mata’ll probably take it.

9. Bets: Chelsea are 16/1 to win the Premier League with
Ladbrokes, which is a dramatic price, though Arsenal are 100/1 in most places, which is even more
striking given it’s early December.

Rather more enticing are Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday. Leverkusen have
won their last four in the Bundesliga to sneak quietly into second place – above heralded
Dortmund.

In form: Leverkusen look a good bet to beat struggling Hannover on Sunday

In form: Leverkusen look a good bet to beat struggling Hannover on Sunday

Leverkusen go to Hannover on Sunday. Hannover have one win in their last four and that was at
home to bottom club Greuther Furth. Leverkusen, jointly managed by Sami Hyypia, are 6/4 and
7/5 against, which could be generous.

10.There will be black armbands worn in the Netherlands’
Eredivisie games today and tomorrow. Richard Nieuwenhuizen was the Dutch linesman beaten to death last
weekend. He was 41 and this time last week he will have been thinking about running the line at a
boys’ game.

Nottingham Forest want Johnny Russell and Gary Mackay-Steven

Forest planning double raid on Dundee United for Russell and Mackay-Steven

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UPDATED:

22:51 GMT, 30 October 2012

Nottingham Forest are keen on Dundee United’s Johnny Russell and Gary Mackay-Steven.

Forest scouts are to watch forward Russell, 22, in Wednesday’s Scottish League Cup quarter-final against Hearts.

Mackay-Steven, also 22, is a winger.

Wanted: Johnny Russell (centre) is target for Nottingham Forest

Wanted: Johnny Russell (centre) is target for Nottingham Forest

Craig Bellamy ruled out of Wales v Scotland

Wales star Bellamy ruled out of World Cup qualifier against Scotland

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UPDATED:

22:19 GMT, 7 October 2012

Craig Bellamy is out of Wales’ crunch World Cup qualifier with Scotland on Friday night.

Wales boss Chris Coleman had left a space available for Cardiff striker Bellamy in the hope he could join up with his 21-man squad. But Bellamy, who missed Cardiff’s 2-1 win at Ipswich on Saturday, will not link up with his country following a knee injury.

A Wales source said on Sunday night: 'Craig is injured.'

Ruled out: Bellamy watches Wales Under-16s against Scotland at Pittodrie on Friday night

Ruled out: Bellamy watches Wales Under-16s against Scotland at Pittodrie on Friday night

Only 24 hours earlier, Cardiff manager Malky Mackay confirmed following the victory at Portman Road that Bellamy, 33, had a badly bruised knee. Injury also ruled Bellamy out of Wales’ opening Group A defeats to Belgium and Serbia last month.

Now question marks will remain over his Bellamy’s international future as Coleman had wanted the ex-Liverpool and Manchester City forward to make a decision on his long-term commitment to the Dragons.

Brighton 0 Cardiff 0 – match report

Brighton 0 Cardiff 0: Kuszczak saves Seagulls a point with stunning stops

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UPDATED:

21:15 GMT, 21 August 2012

Goalkeepers Tomasz Kuszczak and David Marshall ensured an entertaining game ended goalless with a series of top-class saves as Brighton registered their first point in the npower Championship this season.

Brighton goalkeeper Kuszczak, a free summer signing from Manchester United, and opposite number Marshall were both in imperious form as their respective sides created a hatful of chances in either half.

The pick of Kuszczak's efforts was a double save in the 77th minute to deny Cardiff substitutes Joe Mason and Etien Velikonja, while Marshall kept out goalbound efforts from Brighton pair Craig Mackail-Smith and Saltor Bruno among others.

Stalemate: Brighton and Cardiff could not be separated at the Amex

Stalemate: Brighton and Cardiff could not be separated at the Amex

MATCH FACTS:

Brighton: Kuszczak, Bruno, Greer, El-Abd, Bridge, Crofts, Dicker (Harley 82), Bridcutt, Barnes (LuaLua 63), Noone (Vicente 82), Mackail-Smith.

Subs Not Used: Ankergren, Dunk, Calderon, Agdestein.

Cardiff: Marshall, McNaughton, Taylor, Hudson, Turner, Whittingham, Cowie, Gunnarsson, Mutch (Mason 46), Helguson (Velikonja 77), Bellamy (Conway 73).

Subs Not Used: Lewis, Kiss, Earnshaw, Blake.

Booked: Mutch.

Attendance: 25,518

Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

Check out all the latest, stats, facts and table from the Championship

Both managers named unchanged sides
at the Amex Stadium, Gus Poyet fielding the same Brighton XI that
started in Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Hull and Malky Mackay keeping faith
with those that had earned a 1-0 win over Huddersfield last Friday.

Bluebirds defender Ben Turner saw his
goalbound header from Peter Whittingham's seventh-minute corner blocked
by Brighton striker Mackail-Smith, while returning hero Craig Bellamy
crashed a 30-yard shot straight into the hands of home goalkeeper
Kuszczak.

Brighton took a little longer to get
going, but Marshall was forced to hold Ashley Barnes' angled drive in
the 12th minute before the visitors threatened again.

Cardiff defender Andrew Taylor swung
over a decent cross, but Bellamy's strike partner Heidar Helguson
steered the ball tamely over the bar.

Mackail-Smith went close to giving
the Seagulls the lead in the 22nd minute. His first shot was deflected
for a corner and when the ball was played back in the Brighton forward
was quickest to react, only to see Marshall parry the ball to safety at
full stretch.

Marshall then kept out Craig Noone's
angled effort from inside the penalty area before the action shifted to
the other end, where Whittingham's excellent free-kick from 25 yards –
after he was fouled by Brighton defender Gary Dicker – brought the best
out of Kuszczak.

Cardiff midfielder Jordon Mutch was
forced out through injury at half-time and replaced by Mason, but it had
little effect on the visitors, who threatened first after the break
through Whittingham's curling effort that flew just wide.

At the other end Brighton went closer
to breaking the deadlock, first through winger Andrew Crofts – whose
shot was blocked by Turner – and then Spanish defender Bruno, whose
effort from the subsequent corner was superbly saved by Marshall.

Brighton boss Poyet sent on Kazenga
LuaLua for Barnes in the 63rd minute and, after midfield team-mate Craig
Noone had fired a shot straight at Marshall, opposite number Mackay
responded by withdrawing Bellamy and sending on Craig Conway.

Conway's midfield partner Don Cowie
let fly from 30 yards, but was thwarted by Kuszczak as both sides went
in search of the winner.

Kuszczak came to Brighton's rescue
again with a fine double save to deny Mason and substitute striker
Velikonja, who had replaced Helguson moments earlier, in quick
succession with 15 minutes left.

The goalmouth action dried up in the
closing stages as both sides settled for a point at the end of a
thoroughly entertaining goalless draw.

Cardiff reject 2.5m Peter Whittingham bid from Fulham

Cardiff turn down 2.5m bid from Fulham for star midfielder Whittingham

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UPDATED:

12:11 GMT, 15 July 2012

Fulham have been rebuffed in their attempts to secure the services of Cardiff midfielder Peter Whittingham.

The Cottagers tabled a bid of 2.5million for the 27-year-old, but Bluebirds manager Malky Mackay is keen to keep hold of his star man as he prepares another promotion push.

Wanted man: Whittingham is a transfer target for Fulham

Wanted man: Whittingham is a transfer target for Fulham

Martin Jol wants the former Aston Villa man to replace Danny Murphy as Fulham's creative force in midfield, but as Cardiff are financed by their wealthy Malaysian owners they are in no rush to sell.

Whittingham netted 12 Championship goals from midfield in 2011-12, the third season in a row he has broken double figures.

Celtic want Anthony Stokes to sign new contract

Celtic keen to keep Stokes as Lennon looks to push the boat out on striker

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UPDATED:

22:15 GMT, 12 July 2012

Neil Lennon has revealed that his pre-season priority is to tie down striker Anthony Stokes on a new long-term contract.

The 23-year-old Irishman is going into the final year of his current deal with the Scottish Champions amid the financial uncertainty caused by the Rangers crisis.

But while conceding that every player in his squad now has his price, Lennon intends to push the boat out on his return to Scotland to ensure Stokes remains central to his plans for the best years of his career.

Clock is ticking: Anthony Stokes is entering the final year of his Celtic deal

Clock is ticking: Anthony Stokes is entering the final year of his Celtic deal

‘He’s in the last year of his contract and that’s something we’ll be looking at once we get back and talk things through,’ said the manager, before adding: ‘I’ve not heard a thing about other clubs being interested so far.

He had a great season last year. He’s still young — still only 23 —even though he’s been around the game for what seems a lot longer.

‘There is scope for him to improve. He’s a goalscorer and I wouldn’t be in too big a hurry to let him go.

‘Every player has his price and Anthony would be no different in that regard — but 21 goals last year speaks for itself.’

Meantime, reports in South Korea suggest Queens Park Rangers are closing in on Ki Sung Yueng.

It is understood the London club are prepared to meet Celtic’s 7million asking price as well as the player’s personal terms.

And as one South Korean looks set to leave Celtic, another may be arriving — after the agent of Cerezo Osaka midfielder Kim Bo Kyung yesterday confirmed the Parkhead club were in the running to sign the 22-year-old international.

Future planning: Celtic manager Neil Lennon is desperate to keep his striker

Future planning: Celtic manager Neil Lennon is desperate to keep his striker

It still appears Malky Mackay’s Cardiff City are in the driving seat to grant the player’s wish of British football, but Lee Yeung Joong said: ‘I am currently negotiating with some clubs in UK, Germany and other countries including Cardiff City.

‘Their manager really likes Bo-Kyung, so the negotiations are progressing satisfactorily.

‘I have also had discussions with Celtic through an agent working in Scotland, but have not received any official bid from them yet.

‘I will leave the door open for his transfer and consider every possibility with the clubs who have shown an interest in him.

‘I aim to complete his transfer before the Olympics start to avoid any disruption for the South Korea under-23 national team.’

Meanwhile, Benfica and Everton have joined Celtic in the race for Rosenborg’s Markus Henrikssen.