Tag Archives: morgan

Castleford Tigers part company with coach Ian Millward

Super League strugglers Castleford part company with coach Millward after seven successive defeats

By
Aidan Mccartney

PUBLISHED:

18:04 GMT, 9 April 2013

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UPDATED:

23:16 GMT, 9 April 2013

Castleford Tigers have parted company with head coach Ian Millward following a miserable run of form that sees them languishing at the bottom of Super League.

The 52-year-old Australian has paid the price for the Tigers poor run which has personally seen him collect only seven victories in his 38 Super League games in charge.

Millward's assistant Stuart Donlan has also left the club and Tigers legend Danny Orr, who joined the coaching staff in the summer, will now take charge for their match against Widnes on Saturday.

Dreadful run: Millward (pictured)has overseen just one victory in the last 18 games at the West Yorkshire side

Dreadful run: Millward (pictured) has overseen just one victory in the last 18 games at the West Yorkshire outfit

Castleford lost 24-44 to Huddersfield Giants on Saturday to leave the club rock bottom of Super League with just one win and one draw from their 11 matches.

Former Wakefield Wildcats coach John Kear, who is currently in charge of Championship side Batley and ex-Hull KR coach Justin Morgan are among the names who have been linked with the role.

Temporary charge: Danny Orr spent seven of his 16 year playing career with the Tigers

Temporary charge: Danny Orr spent seven of his 16 year playing career with the Tigers

A statement on the club's official site said: 'Following a meeting with Ian Millward, both parties agreed that he should relinquish his position as head coach,'

'After a promising start to the 2013 season, recent results have been unacceptable for all concerned, including sponsors and supporters.'

Millward had been appointed in 2011 to succeed Terry Matterson at Wheldon Road but after narrowly avoiding the wooden spoon last year, the club have decided to act after a poor set of results this term.

Although still early in the season, 2013 has been a turbulent one for the West Yorkshire club after Chief Executive Steve Ferres walked out of his job after only seven months due to differences of opinion with the board of directors.

His shock resignation was soon followed by commercial manager Nick Fozzard to leave the Tigers in disarray.

Head of youth development Steve Gill was appointed as CEO to steady the ship on an interim role in March but was given on the position on a permanent basis earlier this week.

His first task will now be to find a successor for Millward as the Tigers look to save their season.

Wojciech Szczesny plays for Arsenal Under 21s at Anfield

Szczesny starts for Arsenal but can't prevent U21s defeat to Liverpool

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

22:19 GMT, 8 April 2013

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UPDATED:

06:03 GMT, 9 April 2013

Wojciech Szczesny started for Arsenal’s Under 21 side but could not prevent the visitors falling to defeat against an impressive crop of Liverpool youngsters at Anfield.

The Poland international has not been given a senior appearance by Arsene Wenger for over a month, with Lukas Fabianski being preferred over his error-prone countryman.

Szczesny's dad recently launched a furious attack at Wenger, accusing the Frenchman of making his son the scapegoat for the Gunners' poor.

Back in the game: Wojciech Szczesny played for the Arsenal Under 21s at Anfield

Back in the game: Wojciech Szczesny played for the Arsenal Under 21s at Anfield

The 22-year-old defended his manager however, claiming his dad was wrong to criticise his boss.

But Wenger did not even name Szczesny on the bench for Arsenal's 2-1 win at West Brom on Saturday.

'I rotate the goalkeepers on the bench because when they are two games on the bench then they work for two games, because when they sit always on the bench they lose fitness,' he said.

Last night at Anfield, Adam Morgan beat the Pole to draw first blood for Liverpool before Chuba Akpom equalised for the Gunners.

Krisztian Adorjan put the Reds back in the lead after half-time, but Serge Gnabry kept his cool to level things up once again.

Struggles: Szczesny was dropped by Arsene Wenger and has had to make do with a seat on the bench

Struggles: Szczesny was dropped by Arsene Wenger and has had to make do with a seat on the bench

Struggles: Szczesny was dropped by Arsene Wenger and has had to make do with a seat on the bench

There was no response, however, after Morgan snatched his second at the Kop End to clinch victory for the hosts.

England
Under 21 international Jonjo Shelvey also turned out for the Liverpool
side, but it was Adjoran and Morgan who ensured the hosts ran out
winners.

Adorjan burst down the right flank before drilling an accurate cross into the area for Morgan.

The 18-year-old made no mistake, knocking the ball past the stranded Szczesny from inside the six-yard box.

No cigar: Jonjo Shelvey tries an effort with his left foot as Arsenal's defenders can only watch

No cigar: Jonjo Shelvey tries an effort with his left foot as Arsenal's defenders can only watch

Tussle: Gedion Zelalem of Arsenal takes on Stephen Sama (left) of Liverpool

Tussle: Gedion Zelalem of Arsenal takes on Stephen Sama (left) of Liverpool

Spotted: Jose Enrique watches form the stands as Liverpool edged out Arsenal at Anfield

Spotted: Jose Enrique watches form the stands as Liverpool edged out Arsenal at Anfield

Rio Ferdinand pulls out of England squad for San Marino and Montenegro

Ferdinand farce! Now defender pulls out of England squad over fitness fears leaving Hodgson with headache for Montenegro

and a few months later was fined 45,000 by the FA for acknowledging a tweet which referred to Ashley Cole – who gave evidence in defence of Terry in his trial after the Chelsea player was accused of racially abusing Ferdinand's brother Anton – as a 'choc ice'.

It's been a while: Ferdinand last played for England in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland June 2011

It's been a while: Ferdinand last played for England in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland June 2011

Selection poser: Roy Hodgson will have to do without Rio Ferdinand for England's World Cup double header

Selection poser: Roy Hodgson will have to do without Rio Ferdinand for England's World Cup double header

Low blow

Mouthy chat show host, former journalist and celebrity Arsenal fan Piers Morgan was quick to have a dig, tweeting: 'Sorry to see you've binned England on medical grounds, Sicknote @rioferdy5 -presumably they'll stop you playing in next few Utd games too'

Ferdinand last played for England in June 2011 in a World Cup qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley.

Meanwhile, left-back Leighton Baines is determined to take maximum points from San Marino and Montenegro.

England's next competitive match after the double header is in September and Everton defender Baines told told FATV 'The first game is one that everyone expects us to win and is a game we must win. And then it's a tougher game after that, one that's going to be really difficult and one that we really need to win.

'We want to finish the season in terms of qualifying on a high and in the best possible position to pick it up at the start of next season.

'The two draws (against Poland and Ukraine) put us under more pressure to win this one and the worst case is that we don't lose the game. Because there are plenty more games to come.'

RIO FERDINAND FACTFILE

1978: Born November 8, Peckham.

1995: Turns professional with West Ham.

1996: May – Makes West Ham debut as substitute in draw with Sheffield Wednesday.

1997: February – Scores first West Ham goal in defeat at Blackburn.

November – Becomes youngest defender to play for England when he makes debut against Cameroon at Wembley.

Debut: Ferdinand made his international bow as a substitute against Cameroon

Debut: Ferdinand made his international bow as a substitute against Cameroon

1998: Named in Glenn Hoddle's England World Cup squad but does not play at tournament in France.

2000: Left out of the England squad for Euro 2000 by Kevin Keegan. Makes British record 18million move to Leeds in November.

2002: Scores first England goal in 3-0 win over Denmark in World Cup second round.

July 21 – Leeds agree to sell Ferdinand to Manchester United for 29.1million, making him the world's most expensive defender.

2003: May – Earns first Premier League winner's medal.

October – Reported to the Football Association for failing to attend a drugs test, and left out of England squad for Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey because of the controversy.

December 18 – Receives eight-month ban and 50,000 fine over missed drugs test.

Big stage: Ferdinand (No 5) scored for England against Denmark at the World Cup in 2002

Big stage: Ferdinand (No 5) scored for England against Denmark at the World Cup in 2002

Big stage: Ferdinand (No 5) scored for England against Denmark at the World Cup in 2002

2004: January 20 – Ferdinand begins his ban, which means he misses Euro 2004.

2005: August 8 – Agrees new four-year deal with United.

2007: November 21 – Absent through injury as England lose 3-2 to Croatia at Wembley and fail to qualify for Euro 2008.

2008: March 26 – Captains England for the first time and wins his 65th cap in 1-0 defeat in France.

May 15 – Signs new five-year United deal.

May 21 – Captains United to a Champions League final victory over Chelsea in a penalty shoot-out in Moscow.

2009: May 16 – United wrap up third successive Premier League title.

May 27 – Part of United team beaten 2-0 by Barcelona in Champions League final.

2010: February 5 – Succeeds John Terry as England skipper after Chelsea defender is stripped of post by manager Fabio Capello following allegations about Terry's private life.

June 4 – Ruled out of World Cup after injuring ligaments in his left knee in training.

2011: March 19 – Loses England captaincy to Terry, ahead of Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales.

May – Wins another Premier League title with United – his fifth. United lose 3-1 to Barca in Champions League final at Wembley.

Crocked: Ferdinand's 2010 World Cup was over before it had started after he was injured during training

Crocked: Ferdinand's 2010 World Cup was over before it had started after he was injured during training

2012: February – Rules himself out of the running to captain England after Terry is stripped of the duty pending the outcome of a July trial. Terry is due to answer a charge of racially abusing Ferdinand's brother, QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, but is later acquitted.

May 16 – Left out of England's squad for Euro 2012. He later writes on Twitter: “Absolutely loved playing for england… to say I'm gutted is an understatement of the highest order…”

August 17 – Fined 45,000 by the FA for acknowledging a tweet which referred to Ashley Cole – who gave evidence in defence of John Terry in his trial – as a 'choc ice'.

December 9 – Struck by a coin thrown from the crowd at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium as United claim a 3-2 derby victory.

2013: March 5 – Escapes UEFA action after sarcastically applauding Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir at the end of home defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League.

March 10 – Escapes FA sanction for appearing to barge Chelsea striker Fernando Torres to the ground.

March 14 – Recalled to the England squad for World Cup qualifying matches against San Marino and Montenegro.

March 18 – Pulls out of the squad over fitness concerns

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

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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

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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.

Wolves 1 Watford 1: Sako rescues Saunders after fans voice their anger at board

Wolves 1 Watford 1: Sako rescues Saunders after fans voice their anger at board

By
Neil Moxley

PUBLISHED:

21:42 GMT, 1 March 2013

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UPDATED:

23:59 GMT, 1 March 2013

Bakary Sako struck an equaliser three
minutes into added time to wreck Gianfranco Zola’s hopes of an 11th
away victory of the season.

The winger hit a right-foot shot beyond debutant Jonathan Bond after a long throw caused chaos in the visitors’ area.

Bjorn Sigurdarson flicked on the ball and Sako did the rest, claiming his 10th goal of the season.

Late show: Bakary Sako scored last-gasp equaliser for Wolves

Late show: Bakary Sako scored last-gasp equaliser for Wolves

Match facts

Wolverhampton: Ikeme, Doherty, Johnson, Gorkss, Robinson, Hunt (Cassidy 64), Henry (Davis 70), O'Hara, Sako, Sigurdarson, Doyle (Ebanks-Blake 64). Subs Not Used: De Vries, Edwards, Ward, Batth.

Booked: Sigurdarson.

Goals: Sako 90. Watford: Bond, Doyley, Nosworthy, Ekstrand, Cassetti, Abdi, Chalobah (Hogg 82), Battocchio, Anya (Pudil 84), Deeney, Vydra (Forestieri 78). Subs Not Used: Bonham, Yeates, Murray, Geijo.

Booked: Abdi.

Goals: Abdi 41.

Att: 18,571

Ref: Paul Tierney (Lancashire).

But it was not enough to pull Wolves clear of the relegation zone as they had been chasing the game since four minutes before the interval.

Almen Abdi — one of Watford’s controversial Italian loanees — struck a delightful free-kick from the edge of the area as the division’s top scorers looked to put three points between themselves and third-placed Hull City.

Protests had been planned outside the stadium before kick-off to voice concern about Wolves owner Steve Morgan’s stewardship. But the multi-millionaire had eased their anxiety by appearing before a group of supporters in midweek. He admitted making mistakes and apologised. The group which gathered under the statue of Wolves legend Billy Wright was no more than 50-strong and soon dispersed.

The air of relative calm around the stadium would have changed had Matej Vydra’s seventh-minute shot that deflected off Roger Johnson found the net.

Shortly afterwards, Bond, who had been promoted after Manuel Almunia was forced out with a hamstring injury, produced a superb double-stop.

Neat strike: Almen Abdi scores for Watford

Neat strike: Almen Abdi scores for Watford

Watford's Almen Abdi celebrates his goal

Watford's Almen Abdi celebrates his goal

He blocked Kevin Doyle’s fierce drive and then got to his feet quickly, palming Sigurdarson’s follow-up shot over the bar.

The value of that save was seen four minutes before the interval when
Watford took the lead. Karl Henry tried desperately to rob Vydra of the
ball as he advanced to the edge of the penalty area.

But amid a cluster of bodies the Czech fell to the ground and referee
Paul Tierney awarded the free-kick. Midfielder Abdi took responsibility,
curling his shot around the wall and past Carl Ikeme’s outstretched
right hand.

Bond then saved well from Doyle shortly before the hour but at the other
end, Ikechi Anya missed with a side-foot effort from six yards out and
Ikeme pulled off a superb tip-over from Christian Battocchio’s
long-range effort.

Watford may consider this two points dropped, but while the Football
League considers closing the loophole that allowed them to sign a dozen
players on loan from Udinese last summer, Zola’s men are still closing
in on promotion.

Specsavers launch new advert after Eden Hazard ball boy incident

You should have gone to Specsavers, Eden! Opticians poke fun at Chelsea star after ball boy incident

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

11:16 GMT, 25 January 2013

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UPDATED:

12:05 GMT, 25 January 2013

As the fall-out from Eden Hazard's 'kick' at Swansea City ball boy Charlie Morgan continues, clever marketing folk are seeking to take advantage of the scandal with witty advertising campaigns.

Specsavers took out full page adverts in national newspapers today offering the Chelsea player a bit of advice on how to tell the difference between a living, breathing ball boy and an inanimate leather football.

Their slogan 'Should've gone to Specsavers' once again proving apt in a sporting context.

Clever: The Specsavers advert that appeared in a number of national newspapers this morning

Clever: The Specsavers advert that appeared in a number of national newspapers this morning

Controversy: Chelsea's Eden Hazard allegedly booted Swansea ball boy Charlie Morgan (inset) in the closing stages of Wednesday's Capital One Cup semi-final at the Liberty Stadium

Controversy: Chelsea's Eden Hazard allegedly booted Swansea ball boy Charlie Morgan (inset) in the closing stages of Wednesday's Capital One Cup semi-final at the Liberty Stadium

It's not the first time the opticians have got involved in sport, as they sponsor referees, no doubt with tongue firmly in cheek, in the Scottish Premier League.

Their catchphrase is, as we all know, a common lament at football grounds when an official fails to spot the glaringly obvious.

They have also used a sporting theme in some of their previous television commercials…

Specsavers long jumper advert

Specsavers golf advert

Eden Hazard ball boy: Don"t let Charlie Morgan tarnish reputation, says former Arsenal ball boy

Inside the mind of a ball boy: Swansea lad wasn't doing it right… and I should know, it was my job at Arsenal for a season

By
Phil Duncan

PUBLISHED:

10:42 GMT, 24 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:40 GMT, 24 January 2013

'It is a fact,' Glenn Hoddle proclaimed. 'You will tell people who are instructing ball boys that if you're winning the game, don't get the ball back quickly.'

Well, sorry to disappoint you, Glenn. But that's not the case – fact.

I spent one season marshalling the Clock End for Arsenal Football Club and never was I ordered or told to influence play. We were simply under instruction to retrieve the ball and get it back on the pitch as soon as humanly possible.

There were no towels, no multi-ball system – other than games in the Champions League where this was compulsory – and certainly no instruction to treat one team differently from another.

On the ball: That's me on the left celebrating a Robert Pires strike against Charlton in the 2002-03 season

On the ball: That's me on the left celebrating a Robert Pires strike against Charlton in the 2002-03 season

Hoddle, speaking as a pundit on Sky Sports after last night's stunning events, also suggested that all home teams use the multi-ball system to their advantage on European nights.

Not in my experience. The message was clear: 'European officials are watching tonight, and they want you to retrieve and return the ball as quickly as you can. Don't mess it up.' As a 14-year-old representing Arsenal Football Club, I made sure I didn't.

What Eden Hazard did last night was wrong. He shouldn't have kicked out. But the self-proclaimed 'king of ball boys' Charlie Morgan hardly covered himself in glory either.

Before the game he hinted at
deliberately slowing down play under the hashtag 'timewasting'. As such,
there can be little sympathy.

Kick it out: Eden Hazard is ent off (below) after striking ball boy Charlie Morgan in last night's Capital One Cup match

Kick it out: Eden Hazard is sent off (below) after striking ball boy Charlie Morgan in last night's semi-final clash

Eden Hazard sent off

Social media hadn't been invented during my stint as a ball boy back in 2002. A 'hash' was a term which went before a figure, or used to determine the kind of telephone you were using during an automated call. But even in this era obsessed with Twitter and Facebook, I'd still be surprised if you found a current Arsenal ball boy gloating about his or her role. From the boardroom to the ball boys, the same strict rules apply to any employee of the north London club.

The act of a ball boy may seem like a menial task to most but we were under clear instruction to do our job professionally and properly. I wasn't paid but that wasn't the point. Watching Arsenal from the front row of the Clock End was payment in itself. We actually used to win things back then.

Wearing the Arsenal tracksuit, taking my designated seat for every game of the 2002-03 season – I was given the section nearest the away fans as I was one among the eldest of the group – and walking on to the hallowed Highbury turf to wave the Champions League flag on European nights are memories I will always cherish. As a defender who didn't like tackling or heading (and still doesn't) I knew this was the closest I'd get to playing for my childhood team. It was an honour.

Take your seat: A ball boy at WhTake your seat: A ball boy at White Hart Lane ite Hart Lane

Take your seat: Fans at White Hart Lane share a joke with a ball boy

Twenty of us between the ages of 12 and 16 were trialled and picked for one season, and one season only. There were clear rules. Don't celebrate an Arsenal goal (although, I must confess to ignoring that one). Don't kick the ball, or use your feet. And don't enter the field of play to retrieve the ball.

I remember one instance when Peter Schmeichel, who was playing for Manchester City, berated one of my colleagues for refusing to go on to the pitch to return the ball to him. He was simply obeying instructions. The Clock End responded by chanting 'ball boy give us a wave'. He did.

Speaking this morning, Pat Nevin, a former Chelsea player said, like Hazard, he too would have kicked the ball boy. And I'd have to agree. By smothering the ball, and then appearing to feign injury, the 17-year-old let himself down, he let Swansea down, and he called into question the integrity of ball boys across the country.

Nevin then suggested that ball boys should be banned. Nonsense. Retrieve the ball. Throw it back. Assume your position. Job done. Just do it the right way, the Arsenal way.

Southampton 0 Everton 0 match report

Southampton 0 Everton 0: Pochettino era starts with stalemate as both sides waste chances

PUBLISHED:

21:51 GMT, 21 January 2013

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UPDATED:

22:06 GMT, 21 January 2013

Mauricio Pochettino's first game in charge of Southampton ended in a goalless draw with Everton at St Mary's.

Both sides missed a number of opportunities, with Nikica Jelavic's scuff from close range the most glaring, as Everton failed to close the gap to fourth-placed Tottenham.

More to follow

Stalemate: Leighton Baines and Nikica Jelavic of Everton combine to scramble away a Southampton chance

Stalemate: Leighton Baines and Nikica Jelavic of Everton combine to scramble away a Southampton chance

MATCH FACTS

Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw, Puncheon (De Ridder 87), Cork, Schneiderlin, Ramirez (Steven Davis 71),Lambert, Do Prado (Rodriguez 62).

Subs Not Used: Kelvin Davis, Fox, Richardson, Chaplow.

Booked: Hooiveld,Schneiderlin.

Everton: Howard, Coleman (Anichebe 58), Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Naismith, Neville, Osman, Pienaar, Jelavic (Mirallas 66), Fellaini.

Subs Not Used: Mucha, Heitinga, Oviedo, Hitzlsperger, Duffy.

Booked: Osman.

Att: 28,359

Ref: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire).

Opportunity: Jelavic missed a chance to claim all three points for Everton

Opportunity: Jelavic missed a chance to claim all three points for Everton

New manager: Mauricio Pochettino took charge of Southampton for the first time

New manager: Mauricio Pochettino took charge of Southampton for the first time

New manager: Mauricio Pochettino took charge of Southampton for the first time

A member of the public holds a sign

Mauricio Pochettino

Protest: One fan holds up a sign dedicated to former manager Nigel Adkins


Dribble: Steven Pienaar takes on Jos Hooiveld as Morgan Schneiderlin looks on

Dribble: Steven Pienaar takes on Jos Hooiveld as Morgan Schneiderlin looks on

Arsene Wenger praises Southampton"s youth set-up

Cheers for Theo and Ox! Wenger praises Saints youth set-up ahead of St Mary's trip

|

UPDATED:

10:59 GMT, 31 December 2012

Arsene Wenger has lavished praise on Southampton's youth policy as Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain prepare to make their returns to St Mary's tomorrow.

The Arsenal manager has found the south-coast club a valuable market place in recent seasons, signing Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain from the Saints.

The duo both went on to earn England call-ups within months of their high-profile moves to north London and have since established themselves as important members of Wenger's plans.

Homecoming: Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain were both products of the Southampton youth system

Homecoming: Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain were both products of the Southampton youth system

But the Gunners pair are not the only top Premier League players to have come through the highly-respected Southampton academy.

Gareth Bale, Chris Baird and Wayne Bridge have all gone on to have well-established top-flight careers after being nurturing at Southampton.

And the club's consistency in nurturing young talent has not gone amiss by Wenger, whose side face Nigel Adkins' men tomorrow.

'The question of Southampton's academy set-up is a very good one because they have done a fabulous job,' said the Frenchman, whose side have won four successive Premier League matches.

'Why It is down to the quality of their scouting, the quality of their coaching and education. When you look at what Bale is doing, and Walcott.

'And now they have they players like Morgan Schneiderlin, they have brought some players of top, top quality and they work well. They have fantastic scouting.'

Striker: Walcott scored a hat-trick during Arsenal's 7-3 win over Newcastle

Striker: Walcott scored a hat-trick during Arsenal's 7-3 win over Newcastle

Arsenal will be expected to make it five league wins on the spin down on the south-coast, particularly after the 6-1 mauling of the newly-promoted side earlier in the season.

But after a disastrous start to the campaign, that very nearly cost Adkins his job, Southampton have improved significantly – though they still go into the clash against Arsenal in the bottom three.

And speaking after Saturday's 7-3 trouncing over Newcastle, Wenger has fired a warning to his players, saying: 'They are not comfortable [opponents], Southampton.

'I saw them against Fulham, I will watch them against Stoke (on video), but from what I've heard they played very well.'

The Ox: Oxlade-Chamberlain was also among the Arsenal scorers against the Geordies

The Ox: Oxlade-Chamberlain was also among the Arsenal scorers against the Geordies

He added: 'They are a team that has learned in the Premier League now. Usually you find in February or in January a different team to what you see in August or September.

'We will train on Sunday and Monday and go to Southampton on Monday night to prepare the game. It is another game that is very important over the Christmas period.'

Meanwhile, what is shaping up to be the busiest January transfer window in Wenger's managerial career also kicks off tomorrow.

Thierry Henry, who is currently training with the Gunners, is expected to sign a short-term loan deal – but Wenger insists the clash against Southampton will come too early for the Frenchman.

'He has just come back from holiday and is a bit short to play on Tuesday night,' added Wenger.

Macclesfield allege Ryan Jackson was racially abused by Barrow player

Macclesfield allege defender Jackson was racially abused by Barrow player

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UPDATED:

20:24 GMT, 30 December 2012

Police are to launch an investigation into allegations of racial abuse at the FA Cup second-round replay between Macclesfield and Barrow.

Officers were also called in to stop a post-match punch-up between both sets of players in the tunnel following an afternoon of bitter insult-swapping.

Macclesfield of the Blue Square Bet Premier claim that defender Ryan Jackson was racially abused by an opponent during Saturday’s 4-1 win.

Striker Amari Morgan-Smith tweeted: ‘So, according to the Barrow players it’s alright to call one of the lads a Jaffa cake on the pitch!! #headsgone’.

Stormy: Mathew Barnes-Homer celebrates his goal against Barrow

Stormy: Mathew Barnes-Homer celebrates his goal against Barrow

The Cheshire club confirmed that they had reported their rivals to the referee Phil Gibbs and to the police and want action taken.

Chief executive John Harris said, via the Macclesfield website: ‘The club are aware that the matter has been reported to both the police and the FA and will offer both its fullest support in dealing with the matter.

‘We are very disappointed that this has overshadowed an excellent performance on the pitch, but we remain staunchly opposed to all forms of racism, which we believe has no place in football, or indeed anywhere.’

Feelings have been running high between the two clubs since the original tie on December 19 when Macclesfield manager Steve King alleged that skipper Nat Brown had been called a ‘monkey’ by some Barrow fans.

Claim: Ryan Jackson was allegedly racially abused by a Barrow player

Claim: Ryan Jackson was allegedly racially abused by a Barrow player

The FA are investigating that incident too with Barrow promising to take action if any of their fans were shown to be guilty. At the time chairman Brian Keen said: ‘This is a decent, family community club and there is no place for racism.

‘We will investigate and, if we can identify any culprits, they will be facing as stern a punishment as we can dish out.’

Supporters from Cumbria yesterday flooded their forums with accusations that an English Defence League banner was on display at Moss Rose on Saturday and say that Brown went over to that section of the ground to acknowledge home supporters.

They also complained that the public announcer was being deliberately provocative by hailing former Barrow trialist John Paul Kissock as the ‘non-League Messi’ after he scored.

Macclesfield earned themselves a third-round tie against Championship leaders Cardiff in a match which survived three pitch inspections.