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Crystal Palace 0 Barnsley 0: Match Report

Crystal Palace 0 Barnsley 0: Eagles stumble again, while Tykes wear home side's shirts

PUBLISHED:

17:05 GMT, 6 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:02 GMT, 7 April 2013

Crystal Palace continue to stumble in their pursuit of promotion from the npower Championship as they were held to a goalless draw against relegation-threatened Barnsley at Selhurst Park.

The away side, who had to wear Palace's change strip because referee Keith Stroud felt the kits clashed, saw a dogged display rewarded with an important point in their attempts to avoid the drop but never looked like stealing victory as Palace dominated a one-sided encounter.

Glenn Murray and substitute Aaron Wilbraham both missed good opportunities as Ian Holloway's men failed to score for a fourth consecutive game meaning their play-off place is not yet guaranteed.

Who's who Barnsley are forced to wear Palace's away strip (yellow) as the referee felt the kits clashed

Who's who Barnsley are forced to wear Palace's away strip (yellow) as the referee felt the kits clashed

MATCH FACTS

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Ramage, Delaney, Parr, Zaha, Jedinak, Williams, Bolasie (Dobbie 77), Moritz (Phillips 64), Murray (Wilbraham 80).

Subs Not Used: Price, Richards, Marrow, Gabbidon.

Booked: Jedinak, Williams.

Barnsley: Steele, Hassell, Wiseman, Foster, Kennedy, Perkins, Mellis (Cywka 90), Etuhu (O'Brien 62), Dawson, O'Grady, Scotland (Dagnall 68).

Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Harewood, Jones, Rose.

Booked: Dawson, Hassell, Steele, Perkins, O'Brien.

Att: 21,281

Ref: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

The latest Championship table, results and fixtures

On the back of three consecutive league defeats, Holloway made three changes to his starting line-up with Jonathan Williams and Andre Moritz coming in for Stephen Dobbie and Kagisho Dikgacoi, who was ruled out through injury.

Right-back Joel Ward made his first start since December at Ashley Richards' expense but it was the visitors, who were without injured defender Martin Cranie, who started brightest.

Jason Scotland tried his luck with two long-range shots inside the opening three minutes as David Flitcroft's men, wearing Palace's away kit due to a colour clash, began in confident mood.

The Tykes had won three of their past four games ahead of their trip but soon found themselves on the back foot as the hosts began to dictate, Wilfried Zaha's 13th-minute header an early warning signal.

Only goalkeeper Luke Steele's acrobatics denied Brazilian midfielder Moritz's curling free-kick three minutes later before Murray was presented with the clearest opening of the first half.

Frustrated: Wilfried Zaha (right) fails to unlock the Barnsley defence

Frustrated: Wilfried Zaha (right) fails to unlock the Barnsley defence

Faltering: Palace are now without a win in five

Faltering: Palace are now without a win in five

CHAMPIONSHIP – AS IT STANDS

TABLE

Zaha slid in the division's leading goal scorer but Steele stood tall to keep out Murray's clipped effort after 30 minutes.

Yannick Bolasie tested the former
Manchester United youngster once more eight minutes later with a precise
side-footed effort but Flitcroft's side resolutely held on to their
clean sheet going into the interval.

Another Moritz free-kick brought Steele into action in the 53rd minute as the Eagles continued to threaten in front of their biggest home attendance of the season.

Zaha saw his low cross cut out as he tried to pick out Moritz 10 minutes later while Murray failed to head the subsequent corner on target.

Dobbie and Wilbraham then came off the bench as the hosts began to lose momentum and the pair almost engineered a breakthrough with Wilbraham shooting just wide from the edge of the area following Dobbie's through-ball with just nine minutes remaining.

Wilbraham went even closer to clinching three points four minutes later when Jonathan Parr delivered an inviting cross but the former MK Dons striker saw his header flash past the right-hand post.

A perfect cross from Zaha gave Wilbraham a third opportunity to break the deadlock moments later but the final chance of a frustrating game for the home side was blazed over the bar.

PALACE'S REMAINING FIXTURES

Ipswich (a), 16 April

Leicester (h), 20 April

Blackburn (a), 27 April

Millwall (a), 30 April

Peterborough (h), 4 May

BARNSLEY'S REMAINING FIXTURES

Cardiff (a), 9 April

Charlton (h), 13 April

Derby (h), 16 April

Nottingham Forest (a), 20 April

Hull (h), 27 April

Huddersfield (a), 4 May

Stoke, Norwich and Newcastle must hold their nerve to stay in the Premier League – Martin Keown

The bootroom: Survival It's all about nerve now… and Stoke, Norwich and Newcastle must keep theirs

By
Martin Keown

PUBLISHED:

21:30 GMT, 5 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:57 GMT, 5 April 2013

Taking it easy: Jocky Wilson relaxes away from the pressures of the oche

Taking it easy: Jocky Wilson relaxes away from the pressures of the oche

The late, great darts legend Jocky Wilson used to recount how pressure could reach out and grab him by the throat. Once that happened, he could do nothing.

Stoke, Norwich and Newcastle must make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to them this weekend.

They are the teams in 13th, 14th and 15th places in the Barclays Premier League, just a few points above the drop zone and all with very winnable home games this weekend.

Stoke, with one win in 12, are at home to Aston Villa. Norwich have won one in 14 and face out-of-sorts Swansea. Newcastle, after returning from Lisbon, hope a fourth successive home win — against Fulham — can pull them clear of danger.

It’s easy to look at those sides and say they’ll be fine but why should they be The bottom of the table is as close as I can remember and if you are one of those teams, you will be nervous.

All these teams are probably a win away from safety. If you can put daylight between you and the bottom three quickly, it’s fine. If you don’t, that win you need becomes harder to come by.

This weekend, Stoke manager Tony Pulis, Chris Hughton at Norwich and Alan Pardew at Newcastle will have pencilled in must-win matches. Of their respective opponents, Villa are deep in trouble, Swansea have lost three in a row while Fulham are safe and have little to play for.

Where it went wrong

Such is Villa’s and Wigan’s fighting spirit that they are pulling the teams above them into the relegation battle. They worried Sunderland so much that they sacked Martin O’Neill. But all the teams up to and including Southampton will be a bit nervous.

Stoke, more than anyone, might have the outcome of the relegation battle in their hands. After Villa, they play Norwich, QPR, Sunderland and Southampton before the end of the season. Last week against Everton they were poor, Peter Crouch and Cameron Jerome especially.

Out of sorts: Stoke lost at Everton last weekend (above), while Newcastle were thumped by Manchester City (below left) and Norwich were beaten by Wigan (below right)

Out of sorts: Stoke lost at Everton last weekend (above), while Newcastle were thumped by Manchester City (below left) and Norwich were beaten by Wigan (below right)

Out of sorts: Stoke lost at Everton last weekend (above), while Newcastle were thumped by Manchester City (below left) and Norwich were beaten by Wigan (below right)

Out of sorts: Stoke lost at Everton last weekend (above), while Newcastle were thumped by Manchester City (below left) and Norwich were beaten by Wigan (below right)

It doesn’t look like Stoke’s players are responding to Pulis as much as they used to and they have failed to evolve as a team. Their passing and style should be better after so many years in the Premier League. And there is the added uncertainty over Pulis’s future, which cannot be helping the players. I didn’t like hearing him talk this week about how many points will be needed to stay up. The focus should be on improving the team, not counting the points and fixtures.

We did that when I was relegated with Aston Villa and it cost us. You must not become obsessed with each and every scenario.

But Pulis is a fighter and has done remarkably well at that club overall. I’m confident he’ll keep them up, even if they have regressed this season.

Score

Norwich hardly concede but they hardly score either. And after losing at Wigan last weekend, the pressure is on a little bit. When you lose to a team below you, it can give you the impression that they are better than you. It will not have inspired confidence. Three wins on the trot against Swansea will give them some belief that they can claim three vital points.

For Stoke and Norwich, staying up is their main aim. Anything after that is a bonus. For Newcastle it is slightly different, although people are realising now just how much they overachieved last season.
The Europa League has not helped them but they haven’t won a trophy for 44 years so they need to take it seriously. It’s just vital that their league form doesn’t dip any more or the situation will snowball.

Table

Boot room

Boot room

Montrose 0 Rangers 0 – match report: Ally McCoist"s men crowned Irn-Bru Scottish Third Division champions

Montrose 0 Rangers 0: McCoist's men crowned champions despite goalless draw

By
Lisa Gray, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

15:22 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:00 GMT, 31 March 2013

Rangers clinched the Irn-Bru Third Division title on Saturday to complete stage one of their journey back to the top of Scottish Football.

The Light Blues were held to a goalless draw at Montrose in a noon kick-off but were confirmed as champions three hours later when a Stuart Leslie penalty secured victory for Elgin over Queen's Park.

The result at Hampden means nearest rivals Queen's cannot catch the Ibrox outfit in the title race, as Ally McCoist secured his first piece of silverware as Rangers manager.

Get the party started: Rangers players pose after winning the Third Division

Get the party started: Rangers players pose after winning the Third Division

Goaless: Rangers' Kane Hemmings tussles for the ball with Cammy MacDonald

Goaless: Rangers' Kane Hemmings tussles for the ball with Cammy MacDonald

His side have looked unconvincing at
times this term but have done enough to force themselves over the
finishing line with several games to spare, following their demotion to
the bottom tier of Scottish football after being consigned to
liquidation in the summer and losing their top-flight status.

Rangers made two changes following last week's drab stalemate against Stirling at Ibrox for the clash at Montrose.

David Templeton and Ian Black returned
from injury and suspension respectively to start, with Barrie McKay and
Fraser Aird dropping to the bench.

Rangers were handed a tough match the last time they visited Links Park in December, leaving with a hard-fought 4-2 win.

Chalked off: Montrose's Martin Boyle has finds the net only to have his goal ruled out

Chalked off: Montrose's Martin Boyle finds the net only to have his goal ruled out

This time around, they started sharply
with efforts from Robbie Crawford and Lee McCulloch blocked in quick
succession, before Kyle Hutton eventually rifled wide.

Templeton tested the goalkeeper when
he collected a Kane Hemmings header before unleashing an impressive half
volley that stung the palms of John Gibson.

The winger was threatening again when
he cut inside from the left before having another crack at goal but
Stephen McNally blocked for a corner.

Templeton then turned provider for Lee
Wallace and his effort was touched onto the bar by the keeper, as
Rangers kept up the pressure.

At the other end, a Paul Watson strike from distance took a massive deflection and spun just past the upright.

Champions elect Ally McCoist side could still become champions if Queens Park slip up against Elgin City

A matter of time: Ally McCoist side could still become champions if Queens Park slip up against Elgin City

Bolstered by the chance, the home side carved out another couple of decent opportunities.

David Gray – who has netted home and
away against Gers this season – forced a save from Neil Alexander,
before Alan Campbell glanced a header inches wide.

Montrose should have taken the lead
through Martin Boyle but his back post header was off target when he
should have had the net bulging.

The home side picked up where they
left off in the second half when Gray pounced on a poor clearance from
Emilson Cribari and lashed narrowly over the crossbar a minute after the
restart.

Crunch: Ian Black takes a tough challenge from Montrose's Terry Masson

Crunch: Ian Black takes a tough challenge from Montrose's Terry Masson

Rangers had a good chance of their own when Wallace's cut-back found Hemmings and his shot forced a decent save from Gibson.

Montrose thought they had taken the lead when they had the ball in the net after 65 minutes.

Alexander fumbled an awkward cross
that fell for Terry Masson. His shot was saved but the keeper could not
hold that ball, which was turned into the empty net by Boyle.

But the goal was disallowed by referee Kevin Clancy for a foul on Alexander.

It looked to be a controversial
decision and a let off for Rangers, whose celebrations came later in the
day as they made the trip back to Ibrox and took a major step in their
road to recovery.

Lauren Davis stung on the backside by wasp at Sony Open

Sting in the tail: Tennis teen Davis suffers wasp attack on the backside at Sony Open… and accidentally recreates iconic poster

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

10:54 GMT, 25 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:04 GMT, 25 March 2013

This is not a recreation of Martin Elliott’s iconic tennis poster from 1976 but something altogether more painful.

When 19-year-old Lauren Davis lost her third-round match at the Sony Open, it was not just the defeat that stung.

During the gruelling defeat by world No 36 Alize Cornet under the Florida sun, the American was stung by a wasp on her backside.

Lauren Davis of the USA reacts after being stung by a wasp

Lauren Davis of the USA reacts after being stung by a wasp

Wasp attack: Lauren Davis was stung on the backside while playing Alize Cornet (or should that be hornet)

Lauren Davis of the USA reacts after being stung by a wasp

Lauren Davis of the USA reacts after being stung by a wasp

She was in obvious pain and battled on to lose 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 but she refused to blame her defeat on the wasp's sting.

The pictures of Davis resembled the iconic poster taken by photographer Elliott of a female tennis player, his girlfriend at the time, that sold more than two million copies.

Heat stroke: Cornet collapses in the Florida heat during the match

Heat stroke: Cornet collapses in the Florida heat during the match

Escape route: Cornet is escorted from the court in a wheelchair, as was her stung rival

Escape route: Cornet is escorted from the court in a wheelchair, as was her stung rival

Temperatures on court soared to well over
32C and both Davis and Cornet were left so physically exhausted by such
a long match in the humidity that both players left the court in
wheelchairs.

Martin Elliot's original image

Sharapova

Iconic: The image shot by Martin Elliot (left) has been recreated before – unintentionally by Maria Sharapova

Other posers…

Kylie Minogue (see below)

Keith Lemon

Courtney Stoddon

Laura Robson passed up the chance to become British No 1 on Friday night, beaten in three sets in the second round defeat by Cornet.

The 19-year-old started well but, in a match which lasted two hours 36 minutes but was stretched over seven hours due to rain delays and power cuts in Miami, the 32nd-seeded Frenchwoman emerged a 5-7, 7-5, 6-1 winner.

Old times: Fiona Walker, at 53, poses with a picture of herself as the 18-year-old 'Athena tennis poster girl'

Old times: Fiona Walker, at 53, poses with a picture of herself as the 18-year-old 'Athena tennis poster girl'

And who could forget…

Another version: Pop star Kylie Minogue posed for magazine GQ back in 2000

Derby 2 Leicester 1 – Match report: Chris Martin seals crucial victory for County

Derby 2 Leicester 1: Martin seals crucial victory for County to heap more misery on Pearson

PUBLISHED:

19:44 GMT, 16 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:56 GMT, 16 March 2013

First-half headers from captain Richard Keogh and on-loan striker Chris Martin saw Derby end their Leicester hoodoo with victory at Pride Park.

After five successive npower Championship defeats against the Foxes, Nigel Clough's side broke the sequence with a vital three points to move them clear of the relegation zone.

Substitute Jeff Schlupp pulled a goal back for the visitors just after the hour mark but Leicester could not rescue anything from the game as their winless league run reached five matches.

Rush of blood to the head: Chris Martin celebrates his goal to put County 2-0 up

Rush of blood to the head: Chris Martin celebrates his goal to put County 2-0 up

Frank Fielding returned in goal for Derby in one of four changes made by Rams boss Clough.

Fielding replaced Adam Legzdins to make his first appearance since losing his place through injury at the start of October.

With Gareth Roberts out with a knock
sustained in training this week, on-loan Watford midfielder Craig
Forsyth filled in at left-back.

Leading scorer Jamie Ward, midfielder
Craig Bryson and right-back Kieron Freeman all returned from injury as
Ben Davies and Valentin Gjokaj dropped to the bench.

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson made
one change to his side, recalling fit-again left-back Paul Konchesky in
place of striker Schlupp.

No way through: Lloyd Dyer (centre) finds his path blocked by Derby's Kieron Freeman and Paul Coutts

No way through: Lloyd Dyer (centre) finds his path blocked by Derby's Kieron Freeman and Paul Coutts

Match Facts

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE, FIXTURES AND RESULTS

Andy King headed over the crossbar as the Foxes attacked early on but it was Derby who took the lead after 16 minutes.

Leicester captain Wes Morgan conceded a free-kick wide on the left and Keogh glanced home Ward's delivery from six yards out.

A mistake by Jeff Hendrick midway through the first half almost led to an equalising goal.

The midfielder lost possession to
opposite number Richie Wellens on the edge of his own box but Lloyd Dyer
scuffed his volley after being picked out at the far post by David
Nugent, who was denied by Fielding shortly afterwards when he let fly
from long range.

Derby felt they should have had a
penalty in the 40th minute when Wellens tripped Freeman just inside the
area down the right-hand side.

In the air: Derby's Richard Keogh opened the scoring with this bullet header

In the air: Derby's Richard Keogh opened the scoring with this bullet header

The Rams finished the first half on
top and almost extended their lead when Ward escaped down the left
before setting up Martin, but the man on loan from Norwich saw his shot
saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

Martin would not have to wait long
for a goal, however, as he headed home Forsyth's left-wing cross a
minute before the half-time whistle.

Schlupp, who in Konchesky's absence
had been filling in as a makeshift left-back, was introduced at the
start of the second half with Wellens making way.

And the 20-year-old, who recently
spent a month on trial at Manchester United, got Leicester back into the
game after 62 minutes with an arrowing left-footed strike across
Fielding after being teed up by Nugent's lay-off.

Jumping for joy: Jeff Schlupp of Leicester hit a terrfic strike for the Foxes but they still went down 2-1 to their midlands rivals

Jumping for joy: Jeff Schlupp of Leicester hit a terrfic strike for the Foxes but they still went down 2-1 to their midlands rivals

The German-born Ghana international
continued to make a nuisance of himself and almost returned the favour
for Nugent in the 70th minute, but this time Fielding made the save.

At the other end, substitute Davies
worried Schmeichel with a 25-yard shot but his effort was always rising
and narrowly cleared the crossbar. Martin's deflected strike then looped
kindly into the hands of the Dane.

Leicester pushed for an equaliser but
never really tested Fielding as Derby held on for a first Championship
victory in nine outings to climb into the top half of the table.

Leicester had been pushed down to
sixth with Nottingham Forest's win at Hull earlier in the day and
Pearson's team remain in the final play-off spot.

John McCririck released from hospital

McCririck released from hospital with wife claiming Channel 4 axe caused illness

By
Rod Minchin

PUBLISHED:

12:21 GMT, 15 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:08 GMT, 15 March 2013

Veteran racing pundit John McCririck will have to watch today's Cheltenham Gold Cup race on television after being released from hospital.

McCririck, 72, known for his distinctive sideburns and deerstalker hat, is convalescing at home after being detained in Cheltenham General Hospital.

He complained of feeling unwell during the first day of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

Scroll down for video

Unwell: John McCririck, pictured on day one of the festival, has been released from hospital

Unwell: John McCririck, pictured on day one of the festival, has been released from hospital

The former Channel 4 pundit had said earlier this week that he planned on returning to Prestbury Park to watch the highlight of the four-day National Hunt festival.

But after being released from hospital he has returned home to recover.

Mr McCririck's agent Patsy Martin said today: 'John is resting today.

'He is not going racing today and the next race meeting he will be attending will be Doncaster on Saturday week.'

John McCririck.

Horse Racing - Royal Ascot - 4th Day John McCririck English Horse Racing Pundit at Ascot

Larger than life: But McCririck was taken ill, with wife Jenny blaming the stress of his Channel 4 dismissal

In January Channel 4 dropped McCririck from its racing coverage when it unveiled its new presenting team, headed by Clare Balding.

McCririck announced he was to sue the broadcaster for 3million, claiming it axed him from its racing coverage because he was too old.

His wife Jenny told the Daily Mirror she believed the stress from a continuing disagreement with his former employer caused his illness.

Mrs McCririck told the newspaper: 'Look at the stress from Channel 4. He was perfectly OK, he had a check-up two weeks ago, but Channel 4 have done this to him.'

Some of John McCririck's memorable moments from Channel 4 Racing

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Andy Murray beats Carlos Berlocq in straight sets to march into Indian Wells quarter-finals

Murray silences Berlocq with straight sets victory to march into Indian Wells last eight

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

02:22 GMT, 14 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

06:07 GMT, 14 March 2013

Andy Murray fought out a niggly battle that did little to enhance relations between Britain and Argentina as he struggled to overcome the grunting Carlos Berlocq to reach the last eight of the BNP Paribas Open.

Amid accusations of deliberate stalling across the net and complaints to the umpire about the South American’s varied volume of lingering growl Murray eventually got the better of him in an ill-tempered affair, winning through 7-6 6-4 in an hour and 55 minutes.

He now meets another Argentinian in his fellow US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, and will be relieved that he does not have to listen the ghastly soundtrack of Berlocq, which he described as ‘the worst I’ve ever heard on the men’s tour.'

On a run: Andy Murray sailed past Carlos Berlocq and into the quarter-finals

On a run: Andy Murray sailed past Carlos Berlocq and into the quarter-finals

Murray was particularly aggrieved that he was being warned about time violations between points while having to put up baritone groan of his muscular opponent.

'I’ve never experienced before when I’ve had to speak to an umpire about it,' he said. 'I’ve never found it to be that off-putting. But if it’s going to be suggested that I’m using gamesmanship by taking too long between points then you can’t be making noises like that on court. He was still making a noise when I was hitting the ball, it’s annoying. There was silence and then it was extremely loud, that’s off-putting.'

You wish other players would speak up against the habit, which is more associated with the women’s tour, but they rarely do.

As Murray admitted afterwards, he will have to play better if he is to progress further. 'It wasn’t the prettiest match and I’ve got to improve on it, but conditions were quite tough,' he said. 'When we went out there it was bright and in the 90s and the ball was bouncing very high, but as it got cooler and the sun went down my timing got better.'

Hot streak: Murray is enjoying his best run of results at Indian Wells

Hot streak: Murray is enjoying his best run of results at Indian Wells

Certainly you would not have expected Berlocq – happiest on clay, ranked 85 and never having been past the second round of a Grand Slam – to mount such a challenge, but he went for broke and hit some glorious winners to discomfort his opponent.

Having had six weeks off after the Australian Open Murray is yet to look entirely into his rhtythm at this tournament, where he has struggled before, although the fact is he is through to the last eight for the loss of just one set.

The only thing that will linger about the match was the bad blood that developed between the players from early in the first set onwards. Murray usually only gets cross with himself and rarely falls out with opponents, but he did not enjoy the way the barrel-chested Berlocq played the game and did not hide his feelings.

Having started in awkward conditions of glaring sun and mixed shadows across the court, he complained to his box – that contained his regular celebrity supporter Kevin Spacey – that 'I can’t see the ball!' as breaks were exchanged.

Outgunned: Argentine Berlocq was swatted aside by the world No 3

Outgunned: Argentine Berlocq was swatted aside by the world No 3

In the tenth game the two players swapped accusations that they were deliberately stalling, umpire Steve Ulrich taking Murray’s side. Playing very conservatively he was broken, but broke back in the next game and gave a huge ‘C’mon!’ and fist pump in Berlocq’s face at the net.

The tiebreak was a tense affair, settled at 6-4 when a scrambling Murray sent up a high lob and the Argentinian blasted an overhead long.

By now the 25 year-old Scot was getting very frustrated with Berlocq’s grunt/growl, as offensive as anything you hear in the women’s game. He complained early in the second set to Ulrich, saying it was ‘outrageous.’

Murray, whose forehand never fired and whose serve was more tentative than usual, could not hold on to an early break as Berlocq continued to hit out with massive, heavily spun groundstrokes.

Finally he got ahead with a backhand lob to break for 4-3, and from there just about managed to serve it out, although not before he had to save another break point at 5-3.

No, it was not pretty, but it got the job done.

Martin Skrtel set to depart Liverpool after fall out with Brendan Rodgers

Skrtel looks set for Anfield departure after breakdown in relations with Rodgers

By
Dominic King

PUBLISHED:

14:53 GMT, 25 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:05 GMT, 26 February 2013

Martin Skrtel has paved the way for leaving Liverpool this summer after hinting at problems in his relationship with Brendan Rodgers.

The Liverpool defender has not started a Barclays Premier League game since being dropped following the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United on January 13 and was criticised by Rodgers after an underwhelming performance against Oldham in the FA Cup.

Skrtel is currently sidelined with a knee injury but, even if he was fit, the Slovakia international does not believe he would be in Rodgers’ plans and says his situation will need to be looked at in the summer if he remains out of the side.

Tough times: Martin Skrtel has found his playing time limited at Liverpool

Tough times: Martin Skrtel has found his playing time limited at Liverpool

‘We have (spoken) but it is not
ideal,’ Skrtel told Denik Sport, when asked if he had received an
explanation for being out of the team. ‘He (Rodgers) told me something
on this, gave me some explanation, but it’s hard to tell if it was the
true reason he gave me.

‘I don’t think it was and think there
is something else behind it. Anyway, I’m not the type of player who
would be chasing the coach and be in his office all the time, asking for
explanations why I’m not playing. I have never done this, I’m not doing
it now and I never will be.

‘If the coach wants to tell me
something, he will summon me. The coach has his ideas about the line-up
and the question is if I would be in it if I was fit. I would say it’s
likelier I wouldn’t.’

Fall out: Skrtel is likely to leave Liverpool in the summer after being criticised by manager Brendan Rodgers (below)

Fall out: Skrtel is likely to leave Liverpool in the summer after being criticised by manager Brendan Rodgers (below)

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool are set to be in the market
for at least two central defenders this summer – Rodgers watched
Feyenoord’s Stefan De Vrij on Sunday – given that Jamie Carragher is
retiring and it is likely that Sebastian Coates will be also be allowed
to leave in order to get first team football.

But Skrtel, who only signed a new
contract last summer, could also go and he has been linked with Anzhi
Machachkala and his old Zenit St Petersburg. He has refused to quell the
idea he will move on.

‘For three years at Liverpool I was
playing in almost every match and even in the national team I have
played a lot of games,’ said Skrtel. ‘I have had various thoughts but
certainly I’m not going to make any hot-blooded decision.’

End of an era: Jamie Carragher (right) will retire at the end of the season

End of an era: Jamie Carragher (right) will retire at the end of the season

Hull 1 Blackburn 0 match report: Rovers come back to earth as Gedo blaster keeps Tigers in the hunt

Hull 1 Blackburn 0: Rovers come back to earth as Gedo blaster keeps Tigers in the hunt

By
Richard Gibson

PUBLISHED:

21:59 GMT, 19 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:36 GMT, 19 February 2013

Mohamed Gedo — remember the name. At this rate you’ll be hearing it a great deal more between now and the end of the season.

For the third time in a week, the 28-year-old Egypt international opened the scoring at the KC Stadium to put second-placed Hull on their way.

Following strikes in wins against
Derby and Charlton, Gedo altered the contest against Blackburn,
eliminators of Arsenal from the FA Cup. He ghosted in at the far post to
guide in Stephen Quinn’s dink to the far post.

Get in: Hull striker Gedo (centre) celebrates his third goal in as many games

Get in: Hull striker Gedo (centre) celebrates his third goal in as many games

Match facts

Hull: Stockdale, Chester, Hobbs, Bruce, Elmohamady, Meyler, Evans (Olofinjana 88), Quinn, Brady, Koren (Fathi 90), Gedo (Cairney 89). Subs not used: Jakupovic, Rosenior, Simpson, Proschwitz.
Booked: Evans.

Goals: Gedo 52, Elmohamady 67.

Blackburn:
Kean, Orr, Dann, Grant Hanley, Martin Olsson, Williamson (Campbell 59),
Lowe, Murphy, Rekik (Bentley 59), Rhodes, Kazim-Richards. Subs not used: Usai, Givet, Pedersen, Markus Olsson, Nuno Gomes.

Booked: Kazim-Richards, Orr, Martin Olsson, Rekik.

Attendance: 15,981.

Referee: Tim Robinson.

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His acquisition, on loan from Al
Ahly, has provided the East Yorkshire club with the firepower they have
lacked since top scorer Sone Aluko was sidelined through injury. Once
ahead there was only going to be one result, and it was no surprise when
another of Hull’s Egyptian trio, Ahmed Elmohamady, arrived to sidefoot
in Robbie Brady’s raking cross from the left.

‘We needed someone to come in and for
him to get three in three has been the icing on the cake for us,’ said
Hull manager Steve Bruce. ‘I know he’ll hit a wall but hopefully with
the sun shining as we get into spring, he will thrive.’

A fortnight ago, Hull trailed both
Cardiff and Leicester but results since have seen them narrow the Welsh
club’s lead to five points and return to the automatic promotion places.

‘It’s quite refreshing for the League
because nobody really fancied Crystal Palace, Watford and ourselves, so
it’s fair play to all three,’ Bruce added.

‘That’s the best we have played this
year. It was a complete performance from start to finish. There was a
hunger and freshness about us from back to front. We have good energy
levels and some of them look as if they can run a million miles.’

Two outstanding saves from young
Blackburn goalkeeper Jake Kean denied David Meyler in either half to
restrict Hull’s winning margin to two.

Crunching: Corry Evans goes in hard on Colin Kazim-Richards

Crunching: Corry Evans goes in hard on Colin Kazim-Richards

In contrast, Blackburn’s attacking
players had a wretched night, particularly DJ Campbell, whose decision
to snub promotion-chasing Hull on transfer-deadline day three weeks ago,
drew boos for his every mistake after coming on as a substitute on the
hour.

Fellow striker Colin Kazim-Richards,
scorer of the winning goal at the Emirates, had the visitors’ solitary
chance but Hull goalkeeper David Stockdale parried his fourth-minute
effort before scooping up the rebound ahead of the predatory Jordan
Rhodes.

‘Obviously after the euphoria of the
weekend there was always a danger the players would not be able to pick
themselves up and repeat that type of performance,’ said Blackburn
manager Michael Appleton.

In fact, Turkey international
Kazim-Richards was fortunate to remain on the field until the interval
after escaping cautions for shoving Alex Bruce in the chest and
wrestling Meyler to the turf either side of receiving a yellow card from
referee Tim Robinson for an aerial challenge on Jack Hobbs.

Mansfield chairman John Radford gives boss Paul Cox an 85,000 Aston Martin as reward for thrashing Barrow

Mansfield chairman gives boss Cox an 85,000 Aston Martin as reward for thrashing Barrow

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

00:48 GMT, 10 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:50 GMT, 10 February 2013

Mansfield Town were motoring when they clocked up an 8-1 win over Barrow — and so impressed was chairman John Radford, he gave his Aston Martin to manager Paul Cox as a reward.

The keys to the 85,000 Vantage Coupe, with the registration MT51 COX, were handed over after a Matt Green hat-trick, helped wrap up a Blue Square Premier win.

Gift: John Radford rewarded his manager handsomely

Gift: John Radford rewarded his manager handsomely

Radford, 56, who is also the club’s owner, had only got to One Call Stadium at half-time after returning from Ireland and was so blown away by the 5-1 scoreline that he told Cox the car was his.

The manager said: ‘I’m not sure if it’s a wind-up. Maybe I’ll get to the car park and find a bike with some stabilisers on it.’