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Nemanja Vidic back for Manchester United against Sunderland

Vidic boost for Fergie as Man United captain returns after three months on sidelines

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UPDATED:

15:49 GMT, 14 December 2012

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admits question marks will remain over Nemanja Vidic's fitness until the Serbian proves he has fully recovered from two lots of knee surgery.

Vidic has played just 13 times since injuring his calf in the opening Barclays Premier League game of last season at West Brom.

After spending two months on the sidelines, Vidic was only eight games into his comeback when he ruptured his cruciate ligaments during a Champions League game in Basle that ended his entire campaign.

Boost: Nemanja Vidic is back in the Manchester United squad to face Sunderland

Boost: Nemanja Vidic is back in the Manchester United squad to face Sunderland

The 31-year-old resisted the
temptation to rush back earlier than expected so he would be fully
recovered in time for pre-season.

However, just five games in, he reported discomfort in his knee which condemned Vidic to undergo more surgery.

Now the Serbian is back for Saturday's Premier League encounter with Sunderland.

But, recalling the nightmare Gary
Neville had after having his ankle broken against Bolton in 2007,
Ferguson accepts Vidic's fitness cannot be taken for granted just yet.

'Getting an injury is an issue for
players going into their late 20s and early 30s because they start to
wonder how many years they've got left,' said Ferguson.

'For instance, Gary Neville was 32 when he got his injury and he never really recovered from it.

'He had recurring injuries – it was
his calf, then it was his groin, then it was his hamstring, his ankle,
it was just a catalogue of injury after injury simply because at that
age recovery is a bit more difficult.'

Ferguson has yet to decide whether Vidic will start against Sunderland.

However, with the Christmas campaign looming, there are lots of matches for the defender to get involved in.

And Ferguson has no doubt the former Red Star Belgrade man can make a positive contribution.

'We hope we've given him the proper
rehabilitation,' said Ferguson. 'He's not had a lot of football so it is
an issue, but we're hoping he sails through.

Eyes on the prize: Wayne Rooney (centre) looks focused as the United players train at Carrington

Eyes on the prize: Wayne Rooney (centre) looks focused as the United players train at Carrington

'There will be opportunities for him because he brings that great experience, that warrior type of defending he's for.

'I don't know whether I will start
him tomorrow but at least we have him back and given the number of
injuries we've had to defenders over the last two or three years, it's a
bonus for us.'

Meanwhile, Ferguson also confirmed Shinji Kagawa would begin training with the first-team again after a two-month absence.

However, Jonny Evans has been ruled out of the Sunderland match with a hamstring injury.

'I felt it would be a problem for Jonny at the start of the second half last week,' said Ferguson.

Ferguson also confirmed Shinji Kagawa would begin training with the first-team again after a two-month absence.

However, Jonny Evans has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

'I felt it would be a problem for Jonny at the start of the second half last week,' said Ferguson.

Ferguson insists revenge will not be a factor for his side this weekend.

The United camp were irritated at the way Sunderland fans reacted so gleefully when Sergio Aguero scored his injury-time winner at the Etihad Stadium to earn Manchester City the title last term.

After beating Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, the Red Devils players were still on the pitch when Aguero's strike went in.

Fun and games: Forwards Javier Hernandez (left) and Danny Welbeck have a laugh during training on Friday

Fun and games: Forwards Javier Hernandez (left) and Danny Welbeck have a laugh during training on Friday

At the time, Ferguson was unhappy, whilst Wayne Rooney said in his autobiography that Sunderland was a fixture he would be looking out for more keenly than usual this term.

However, it seems that will not be part of the Scot's team talk.

'It was disappointing given the number of players we have given them down the years, but there was no malice in it and there is no element of revenge,' said Ferguson.

'Winning the game is more important for us given what we achieved last week.

'Now we really need to kick on and make sure we retain our lead at the top of the league.'

The hosts will be strongly fancied to beat a Black Cats outfit who have struggled so badly this term.

Quick feet: Ashley Young follows Rooney's lead as the United players prepare for the visit of Sunderland

Quick feet: Ashley Young follows Rooney's lead as the United players prepare for the visit of Sunderland

Only a home win over Reading on Tuesday allowed Sunderland to scramble out of the bottom three.

However, Ferguson does not believe manager Martin O'Neill deserves the stick he has been getting.

'There was a question asked of Martin last week about whether he still had self-belief that was absolutely ridiculous,' said Ferguson.

'This is a guy who won three times in Scotland, reached the UEFA Cup final and League Cup final with Leicester.

'It was an insult to ask him a question like that because he is an outstanding manager.'

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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.

Clint Dempsey close to tears over Fulham exit

I was close to tears! Dempsey devastated by Fulham row before exit to Tottenham

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 7 September 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Tottenham new boy Clint Dempsey has revealed how his exit from Fulham left him close to tears.

The American forward fell out with manager Martin Jol during pre-season, resulting in suggestions that the 29-year-old had refused to play for Fulham – claims the forward denies.

Liverpool were expected to complete a move for Dempsey, but instead he joined Tottenham in a 6million deal, registered just minutes before the 11pm deadline eight days ago.

In tears: Clint Dempsey said the row preceding his move to Tottenham was 'tough' to deal with

In tears: Clint Dempsey said the row preceding his move to Tottenham was 'tough' to deal with

'I just remember calling my wife and my mom and almost wanting to break down in tears because it was a tough time,' Dempsey told Sports Illustrated.

'Going into that last day and night there were still a lot of question marks. It wasn't clear cut this was going to happen.

'Some other things came up and you are going through that struggle, which was not fun for anybody. It was difficult for Fulham and for me, not knowing how it was going to end.

'It's about holding on to hope that something was going to happen that both parties would be happy with.

'In the end that was accomplished, but the deal didn't get done until about 9pm and that was when a fee was agreed.

'But then you had to look at all the logistics, trying to get to Tottenham's training ground, trying to make sure all the paperwork was through, doing the medical, signing the contract and having everything sent back before 11pm.'

On the rumours surrounding his exit from Fulham, Dempsey said: 'I did not refuse to play. Some things that were said were not true.'

Demspey was Fulham's top scorer last season with 23 goals but is now looking forward to proving himself across the capital.

'I'll die a happy man in the sense of knowing I was able to see if I could do it (at a higher level) or not,' he said.

Proving it: Dempsey hopes he can show he is capable of playing at the top level

Proving it: Dempsey hopes he can show he is capable of playing at the top level

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London 2012 Olympics: Ben Ainslie shrugs off form doubts

Ainslie shrugs off 'amusing' form doubts after defeat to Scott at Sail For Gold regatta

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UPDATED:

16:23 GMT, 19 June 2012

Three-time Olympic champion Ben Ainslie has laughed off 'amusing' question marks over his form heading into the London 2012 Games this summer.

Ainslie suffered defeat in the recent Sail For Gold regatta as Giles Scott – who missed out on an Olympic place to Ainslie – beat him in the Finn class earlier this month.

That prompted exaggerated concern about his prospects for this summer's showpiece despite the 35-year-old having won the world championships just two weeks before.

Plain sailing: Ainslie remains a favourite heading into London Olympics

Plain sailing: Ainslie remains a favourite heading into London Olympics

But Ainslie, who suffered from illness and a capsized boat as he lost to Scott in Weymouth, has no concerns about his level of performance.

He said: 'For everyone racing in the Olympics, the Sail For Gold was really a warm-up regatta.

'We had the World Championships two weeks previously and then obviously the Olympics coming up, so to peak for three big events was always going to be tough.

'I wasn't really surprised at the result. It's great for Giles, he sailed really well and it's good for him to prove how good he is. For me personally, in the build-up to the Olympics, it's great to have him as a training partner.

'But the result for me really has no significance at all. It was really just a case of an opportunity to be out there racing on the Olympic courses.'

Best foot forward: Ainslie was one of the lucky few to carry the Olympic torch

Best foot forward: Ainslie was one of the lucky few to carry the Olympic torch

Much was made of the failure to win the Sail For Gold regatta but Ainslie is happy to ignore the furore.

The four-time Olympian, who collected his London 2012 kit in Loughborough today, said: 'It's always quite amusing.

'I mean, two weeks previously I won the World Championships and everybody said it was easy. Then Giles won the Sail For Gold regatta and suddenly, in two weeks, I'm in everyone else's eyes under-performing.

'I think it's just something you have to deal with if you're towards the top of any sport. The pressure for the Olympics will be greater than ever and as I say, that's just something you have to deal with.

'You notice those expectation levels a lot more because we're at home. Previously we've been abroad and you don't quite get the feeling of anticipation and expectation but we are experiencing it now, being at home which is fantastic.

'But at the same time we have to rise to that level of expectation and get a result.'

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Stuart Broad injury doubt for England second Test in Sri Lanka

England facing fresh blow with Broad an injury doubt for second Test in Sri Lanka

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UPDATED:

10:21 GMT, 29 March 2012

Stuart Broad is a doubt for England's second Test against Sri Lanka.

Broad appeared uncomfortable when he came out to bat on day four of England's 75-run defeat in the first match in Galle.

The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed he sustained an injury in his right calf and, with just five days before the next match in Colombo he faces a fight to be fit.

Day to forget: Stuart Broad (right) trudges off after England's first Test defeat

Day to forget: Stuart Broad (right) trudges off after England's first Test defeat

There were question marks over Broad's fitness earlier in the tour too, after he tripped over a boundary rope and sprained his ankle before the first tour match.

Not pretty viewing: Andrew Strauss saw England lose the first Test in Galle

Not pretty viewing: Andrew Strauss saw England lose the first Test in Galle

He was passed fit to play in a two-man seam attack for the first Test, but England would be loathe to risk him again if there is a chance of aggravating his calf problem.

Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn are the replacement seamers in England's squad and both would come into contention if Broad was ruled out.

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Wolves 0 Manchester United 5: Fergie pulls clear of City with Molineux rout

Wolves 0 Manchester United 5: Fergie pulls clear of City with Molineux rout

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UPDATED:

15:43 GMT, 18 March 2012

Manchester United went goal crazy as they extended their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League to four points and pushed woeful 10-man Wolves into bottom spot at Molineux.

Jonny Evans' first United goal broke the deadlock and then Wolves had defender Ronald Zubar sent off before Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck also struck before half-time.

Javier Hernandez's brace then completed United's nap hand.

Didn't they do Wel! United trounced Wolves to move clear at the top of the table

Didn't they do Wel! United trounced Wolves to move clear at the top of the table

Match facts

Wolverhampton: Hennessey, Zubar, Stearman, Bassong, Ward, Foley, Edwards, Davis, Jarvis, Doyle, Fletcher.

Subs: De Vries, Kightly, Ebanks-Blake, Hunt, Johnson, Berra, Jonsson.

Sent off: Zubar.

Man United: De Gea, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Welbeck, Hernandez, Rooney.

Subs: Amos, Giggs, Smalling, Park, Young, Fabio Da Silva, Pogba.

Booked: Welbeck.

Goals: Evans 21; Valencia 41; Welbeck 43; Hernandez 56, 61.

Attendance: 27,494

Referee: Anthony Taylor

It was a fifth successive league win
for Sir Alex Ferguson's side, who dominated from start to finish against
their ailing opponents.

They were able to cut through a makeshift Wolves midfield and jittery back four almost at will.

United could even afford the luxury of a rare blank day goal-wise from Wayne Rooney, who was a constant threat.

In contrast, Wolves have now leaked 19
goals in their last five games and 14 in four under care-taker boss
Terry Connor which means they have replaced Wigan in 20th position.

On this evidence they are doomed to
relegation after three seasons in the top flight and there must be
question marks over whether Connor can survive.

The home side, without a win in front of their own fans since early December, began promisingly.

Zubar showed his defensive prowess with a superb tackle to halt the run of Hernandez on the edge of the Wolves area.

Red alert: Wolves were down to 10 men in the 40th minute after Zubar was sent off

Red alert: Wolves were down to 10 men in the 40th minute after Zubar was sent off

Kevin Doyle had Wolves' first attempt
on goal but David De Gea dealt with his shot on the turn. Wolves
appealed in vain for a penalty after Rafael Da Silva tangled with Matt
Jarvis inside the box.

The England winger then delivered a teasing cross and 10-goal leading scorer Steven Fletcher glanced his header just wide.

But United gradually assumed control and went ahead after 21 minutes through Evans' first ever goal for the club.

A deep corner from Rooney picked out
the unmarked Michael Carrick who had time to turn the ball back across
goal to Evans, who made no mistake from close range.

Good Evans! The United defender bagged the visitor's first goal of the afternoon

Good Evans! The United defender bagged the visitor's first goal of the afternoon

One of those days: Wolves' goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey let in five

One of those days: Wolves' goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey let in five

Zubar became the first player to be yellow-carded after 27 minutes for a late challenge on Rooney.

Then he was sent off after 39 minutes for a second bookable offence when he clattered into Welbeck close to the touch-line.

Welbeck could have made it 2-0 after being played in by Rooney but he tripped over his own feet.

Wolves midfielder David Davis limped out of the action after 42 minutes and was replaced by skipper Roger Johnson.

Double your money: United screamed upfield on the counter attack and Valencia fired home the second

Double your money: United screamed upfield on the counter attack and Valencia fired home the second

Double your money: United screamed upfield on the counter attack and Valencia fired home the second

Double your money: United screamed upfield on the counter attack and Valencia fired home the second

A minute later Valencia doubled
United's lead. The winger was allowed a free run into the Wolves box
after racing on to Rooney's pass and he drilled his shot past Wayne
Hennessey into the far corner of the net.

On the stroke of half-time Welbeck made it 3-0 with a simple finish after Evans and Valencia had combined.

United were soon back on the offensive after the interval and Hennessey turned Rooney's dipping effort around the post.

Rout: Hernandez bagged two second-half goals to extend United's lead

Rout: Hernandez bagged two second-half goals to extend United's lead

Rout: Hernandez bagged two second-half goals to extend United's lead

It came as no surprise when Hernandez made it 4-0 with a free header from Da Silva's chip into the box.

Then Hernandez completed United's nap
hand after Valencia and Welbeck had combined. De Gea made a rare save
from a Michael Kightly effort before Welbeck was booked for bringing
down the Wolves player.

United looked as if they could score at will and Hennessey did well to deny Welbeck.

Brace yourself: Hernandez scores the first of his goals and celebrates (below)

Brace yourself: Hernandez scores the first of his goals and celebrates (below)

Brace yourself: Hernandez scores the first of his goals and celebrates (below)

Praying for Muamba: Players and fans shared a spell of applause in support of the Bolton defender

Praying for Muamba: Players and fans shared a spell of applause in support of the Bolton defender

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Craig Whyte used 24m season ticket money to pay bank

Money for nothing: Whyte used 24m season ticket deal to pay off bank

Craig Whyte sold off four years of Rangers season tickets — one month before he bought the club.

The embattled owner flogged the seats to London-based Ticketus to fund his entire takeover last April — four weeks before he persuaded Sir David Murray to sell up for just 1.

Sportsmail can reveal Whyte convinced Ticketus to advance him 24.4million on the proviso that he would then buy Rangers. That cash was deposited into a client account with his London-based lawyer Collyer Bristow on April 7.

Question marks: Craig Whyte financial dealings are under scrutiny

Question marks: Craig Whyte financial dealings are under scrutiny

Whyte then showed Murray that balance as evidence he had sufficient funds to give Lloyds Bank the 18m they were owed — one of the key conditions of the sale.

He then bought Murray’s 85.3 per cent shareholding for 1 on May 6, paid off Lloyds and used Rangers employees’ personal tax — which should have been handed over to HMRC — to help run the club. Until it ran out and forced administration eight days ago, that is.

Had Murray refused to sell to him, Whyte would have returned the money to Ticketus — a gamble he was prepared to take.

The latest revelation means that Whyte, who stayed away from the first post-administration game against Kilmarnock on Saturday, effectively bought into the club for nothing before installing himself as the ‘preferred creditor’.

It is widely assumed he will never attend another game at Ibrox and there are now questions marks over that ‘preferred creditor’ status.

Strathclyde Police are examining files pertaining to Whyte’s nine-month tenure, which were handed to them by former chairman Alastair Johnston.
The SFA have also launched a full inquiry into Rangers in a move that was welcomed by manager Ally McCoist at the weekend.

Uncertain future: Rangers fans show their support for their crisis club

Uncertain future: Rangers fans show their support for their crisis club

The ruling body claim to have been hampered in their efforts to establish if Whyte fulfils the ‘fit and proper person’ criteria.

Rangers are now 17 points behind Celtic in the SPL after receiving an automatic 10-point deduction.

The Ibrox club plunged into administration last Monday and, three days later, the administrators revealed they had ‘no visibility’ of the Ticketus money in the football club’s account.

The announcement came despite Whyte previously insisting that ‘every penny’ of the money had gone into the running of the club. Two weeks ago, the embattled owner also claimed to have sunk 33m of his own money into the club.

It emerged that lawyers Collyer Bristow had handed ‘significant information’ which provided ‘some visibility’ on the whereabouts of some of the cash.

An 18m payment was made from the account to Lloyds on May 9 — three days after the takeover went through, but it is still unclear where the remaining 6.4m is.

Exactly how much of the 6m proceeds from the sale of Nikica Jelavic to Everton landed in the club’s account is also unknown.

Last Thursday, joint administrator Paul Clark said: ‘Some of it is deferred. Some of the funds appear to have gone into the club — but we need to go through the detail.’

Tough times: Manager Ally McCoist has backed calls for a full investigation

Tough times: Manager Ally McCoist has backed calls for a full investigation

There is also a question mark over what security Ticketus now hold for their part in the April deal. Were Rangers to be liquidated, the firm would have no obvious means of re-selling the seats they have bought between now and 2015.

Financial experts believe it is inconceivable that they would have agreed to advance such a huge sum without a safety net.

Whyte’s credibility among the Rangers support is at an all-time low. When news of imminent administration broke last Monday, he initially said he had been left with no alternative due to the so-called ‘big tax bill’ which the embattled owner claimed could cost the club 75m.

However, when the application was heard in the Court of Session, that story was exposed as a fallacy. The real reason the club had been forced into administration was down to the fact that 9m in VAT and PAYE had been unpaid. Duff & Phelps believed that this had been used for the day-to-day running of the club.

Just a week before administration, Whyte’s evidence was called ‘wholly unreliable’ by a sheriff after a civil case.

As players and staff at the 140-year-old club brace themselves for job cuts on Tuesday, the whereabouts of the 41-year-old Motherwell-born businessman were last night unknown.

He avoided the Kilmarnock match, claiming he was ‘taking a backwards step’.

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Fulham must pay 6.5m for Maxi Lopez

Catania demand 6.5m for Lopez as Fulham's chase for Argentine continues

Fulham have been ordered to stump up 6.5million for Catania striker Maxi Lopez.

The Premier League club had a loan bid rejected earlier this month for the Argentine, who is also a target for Fiorentina and AC Milan.

Fulham boss Martin Jol is keen to bolster his attacking options with question marks over the future of current forwards Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora.

In demand: Catania forward Maxi Lopez (left) is wanted by Fulham

In demand: Catania forward Maxi Lopez (left) is wanted by Fulham

Catania are prepared to let their star asset leave this month and have received an offer from Fiorentina, according to the Daily Mirror.

The Cottagers must now match that bid if they are to remain in the race for Lopez's signature.

The 27-year-old has scored three goals in 12 appearances this season.