Tag Archives: season

Stoke fans refuse to back Tony Pulis

'Staying up' but Stoke fans still not potty about Pulis despite QPR win

By
Simon Cass

PUBLISHED:

22:00 GMT, 21 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:01 GMT, 22 April 2013

The chants of ‘We are staying up’ rang out from Stoke City’s fans after the club was rescued from the drop at QPR’s expense.

But there were no songs of support for manager Tony Pulis, despite Stoke almost certainly assuring Barclays Premier League football for a sixth season.

Pulis’s relationship with Stoke fans is suffering because his side scores under a goal a game.

Taken for granted Tony Pulis has established Stoke in the Premier League

Taken for granted Tony Pulis has established Stoke in the Premier League

So something has to give, whether that be a change of manager or a change in their manager’s approach if next season is not to be a carbon copy of this one.

Swansea 0 Southampton 0 match report: With nothing to play for Swans and Saints play out draw

Swansea 0 Southampton 0: With nothing to play for Swans and Saints play out draw

PUBLISHED:

15:52 GMT, 20 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:08 GMT, 20 April 2013

Southampton edged closer to Premier League survival as they ground out a goalless draw in a lacklustre encounter at Swansea.

The Saints may feel aggrieved they did not leave south Wales with all three points after Adam Lallana had an effort ruled out for handball after an error by Michel Vorm just before half-time.

Nathan Dyer went closest for the hosts as Maya Yoshida cleared his effort off the line, but in truth neither side showed sufficient quality in the final third to craft a winner in what was, for large parts, a tepid game.

Chalked off: Adam Lallana (right) sees his goal disallowed for a foul on Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm

Chalked off: Adam Lallana (right) sees his goal disallowed for a foul on Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm

MATCH FACTS

Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies, Britton, de Guzman, Hernandez (Ki 61), Michu, Dyer, Moore (Routledge 46).

Subs Not Used: Tremmel, Taylor, Monk, Shechter, Tiendalli.

Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Fox, Schneiderlin, Cork, Steven Davis, Lallana (Puncheon 77), Rodriguez (Mayuka 88), Lambert (Ramirez 63).

Subs Not Used: Kelvin Davis, Fonte, Ward-Prowse, Shaw.

Att: 20,561

Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

Latest Premier League table and results

Not that Southampton will mind too much.

Mauricio Pochettino's side are now eight points clear of the drop zone, and are well-placed to secure survival having been written off in some quarters at the start of the season.

Swansea can also look forward to another top-flight season, but Michael Laudrup will be concerned that their campaign is tailing off as they equalled their previous longest winless run in the Premier League of five games.

Swansea had made a promising start, with their movement causing the visitors problems without creating any clear-cut opportunities.

The best early chance fell to Jonathan de Guzman. Pablo Hernandez's pull-back fell behind Michu to the Dutch international, but several Southampton defenders were out quickly to block.

Doing the splits: Swansea's Chico Flores (right) tackles Southampton captain Lallana

Doing the splits: Swansea's Chico Flores (right) tackles Southampton captain Lallana

Racing away: Nathaniel Clyne takes on Swansea full back Ben Davies

Racing away: Nathaniel Clyne takes on Swansea full back Ben Davies

Luke Moore then narrowly failed to get on the end of Dyer's cross as Saints struggled for a foothold in the early going.

But Pochettino's men grew into the game, with the industrious Jack Cork forcing Vorm into the game's first save with a hopeful effort from the edge of the box.

Vorm made an excellent stop to deny Jay Rodriguez after 25 minutes, getting down low to hold the volley after Rickie Lambert had teed up his colleague.

I'll have that: Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc (centre) claims the ball ahead of Luke Moore

I'll have that: Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc (centre) claims the ball ahead of Luke Moore

Vorm continued to be the busier
goalkeeper and had to be at full stretch to deny Lambert his 15th goal
of the season, the Dutchman tipping over a free-kick that was arrowing
into the top corner.

But the keeper blotted his copybook
seconds later, failing to hold a simple Rodriguez cross for Lallana to
bundle in, only for the whistle to go for handball against the Saints
midfielder.

Laudrup removed Moore at the break and introduced Wayne Routledge in a bid to find some inspiration.

Why Lallana asks the linesman why his goal was disallowed

Why Lallana asks the linesman why his goal was disallowed

PREMIER LEAGUE – AS IT STANDS

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The change almost paid dividends just two
minutes after the resumption, but Michu could not keep his header down
from the winger's cross.

Hernandez engineered another promising situation on the hour as he skipped past Nathaniel Clyne and put a teasing ball across the six-yard box, but there were no white shirts lurking to tap in.

Swansea went closer still six minutes later.

Lallana let the ball run loose inside his own area and Michu pounced to set up Dyer, but Yoshida got himself in the right place to clear off the line.

Southampton dropped ever deeper and packed midfield as the pressure increased and Daniel Fox survived an ambitious handball appeal as he blocked substitute Ki Sung-yueng's volley.

Artur Boruc then made two excellent saves as he denied De Guzman and Dyer when the pair were in on goal.

And with time running out the visitors almost snatched a winner.

Ki was muscled off the ball by Steven Davis, but Vorm sharply held Emmanuel Mayuka's effort.

Well defended: Flores steers Jay Rodriguez away from danger

Well defended: Flores steers Jay Rodriguez away from danger

Tricky: Former Southampton trainee Nathan Dyer (left) cuts inside of Steven Davis

Tricky: Former Southampton trainee Nathan Dyer (left) cuts inside of Steven Davis

David Beckham tempted to extend PSG stay

Beckham tempted to extend PSG stay as he prepares for glamour tie with Barcelona

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

19:50 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:53 GMT, 30 March 2013

David Beckham has admitted he is tempted to extend his stay with Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain into a second season.

The 37-year-old joined Carlo
Ancelotti's PSG on a five-month deal in January and his brief
contribution has helped the capital club book a Champions League
quarter-final with Barcelona while sustaining their domestic lead over
Lyon.

Scroll down to watch video highlights

Inspiration: David Beckham's (centre) cameo appearance was a key part of PSG extending their lead at the top of Ligue 1

Inspiration: David Beckham's (centre) cameo appearance was a key part of PSG extending their lead at the top of Ligue 1

While Beckham would not publicly commit his future to the Parc des Princes outfit, he revealed he is relishing the opportunity to face Barca in Paris on Tuesday night.

He told Le Parisien: 'We'll see. Who wouldn't want to stay at a place like this

'It's very special but I'm not getting any younger so we'll see how I feel at the end of the season. It's always nice to be wanted.'

Beckham was speaking after a 1-0 victory over reigning French champions Montpellier in which he played 18 minutes as a second-half substitute.

Celebrations: Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kevin Gameiro (background) celebrates his goal

Celebrations: Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kevin Gameiro (background) celebrates his goal

Winner: Beckham challenges Montpellier's John Utaka

Winner: Beckham challenges Montpellier's John Utaka

Sliding in: Beckham wins the ball from Bryan Dabo

Sliding in: Beckham wins the ball from Bryan Dabo

The playmaker could play a bigger
role against the Primera Division leaders given the inside knowledge he
gained from a four-season spell with Real Madrid.

'Now our focus will turn to Barcelona and I think everybody's excited about the game,' he added.

'Whenever I've come up against Barcelona you always get excited about coming up against the best players and teams.

'It's important that we concentrate on our own game and not worry about their game too much.'

VIDEO: David Beckham helps PSG to victory

Luis Suarez could be punished by FIFA for punch on Gonzalo Jara

Suarez waiting to hear from FIFA over potential punishment for punching Jara

By
Dominic King

PUBLISHED:

22:49 GMT, 27 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:32 GMT, 27 March 2013

FIFA will decide whether to punish Luis Suarez once they have received the referee's report from Uruguay's clash with Chile.

The Liverpool striker was caught on television throwing a punch at Chile's Gonzalo Jara but Nestor Pitana, the match official, took no action, having spoken with the pair after they had jostled at a corner.

If found guilty of violent conduct, Suarez would face a suspension but FIFA will not make any decisions until they have received all the necessary paperwork.

Incident: Luis Suarez hit Gonzalo Jara in the face

Incident: Luis Suarez hit Gonzalo Jara in the face

Banned: Suarez will already serve a suspension for accumulated yellow cards

Banned: Suarez will already serve a suspension for accumulated yellow cards

A FIFA spokesman said: 'We are still collecting all the post-match reports, as the referees have 24 hours to file them. Based on the mentioned reports, FIFA will then act accordingly.'

Suarez is already facing an international suspension after he was booked late in the game against Chile for dissent. He will miss Urugay's next qualifier against Venezuela in June, which works in Liverpool's favour as he will be able to have a proper break before pre-season training in July.

Meanwhile, Jamie Carragher has underlined the importance of Liverpool's final nine games in the Barclays Premier League when he said the club 'needs' European football to preserve their reputation.

We need this: Jamie Carragher (right) says Liverpool must regain European football

We need this: Jamie Carragher (right) says Liverpool must regain European football

Carragher, who is fit for Sunday's trip to Aston Villa after missing the 3-1 defeat at Southampton with a calf problem, said: 'Liverpool is synonymous with European football. We are a big name in European football and we always need to be there.

'The manager (Brendan Rodgers) will have been brooding since the defeat at Southampton and this game at Villa is very important.'

Premier League dog football fans – Final 12 announced

One fan and his dog: Battle to be Britain's most devoted football fido hots up

By
Oliver Harbord

PUBLISHED:

15:38 GMT, 25 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:00 GMT, 25 March 2013

They say a dog is a man’s best friend, and he most certainly will be when one of the remaining 12 dogs in this competition manages to win their owner a season ticket to their favourite club.

Oh and it gets better for the modelling pooches, as they get the chance to grab a season ticket for themselves too!

In the UK’s first ever canine football supporter contest, sports website TVbet.co.uk launched a search to find the most devoted doggie in British football.

Hound Hammer: Miss Bear is a West Ham fan

Hound Hammer: Miss Bear is a West Ham fan

Well wrapped up: Lucy supports Norwich City

Well wrapped up: Lucy supports Norwich City

Loyal supporter: Jaeger is a fan of Bournemouth

Loyal supporter: Jaeger is a fan of Bournemouth

Great headgear: Louis, a Celtic fan

Great headgear: Louis, a Celtic fan

Loyal: Leo wears a Newcastle shirt

Loyal: Leo wears a Newcastle shirt

After hundreds of applicants, the competition has been whittled down to these 12 mutts, with the top prize being a season ticket for the winning dog and his owner.

A spokesman for Tvbet.co.uk said: 'We’ve been amazed at the number of entries. It seems that Britain’s dogs are all barking mad about football.'

Armchair fan: Lenny the Arsenal supporter

Armchair fan: Lenny the Arsenal supporter

If the shirt fits... Jeter supports Chelsea

If the shirt fits… Jeter supports Chelsea

Rover(s): Sasha follows Blackburn

Rover(s): Sasha follows Blackburn

Royal rover: Cassie supports Reading

Royal rover: Cassie supports Reading

Following up from Sportsmail’s article earlier this month, the contest has got tongues and tails wagging with some on social media channels suggesting that one of the dogs – Chelsea fan Max the mongrel – could have a shot at becoming Rafa Benitez’s replacement.

Others have also poked fun at their respective clubs, claiming that the dogs would be better on the pitch than their players.

Devoted: Max the mongrel is a Chelsea fan

Devoted: Max the mongrel is a Chelsea fan

Gooner: Ginny the Arsenal-supporting dog

Gooner: Ginny the Arsenal-supporting dog

No1 fan: Villa following Luna

No1 fan: Villa following Luna

With the decision on Britain’s favourite football pooch imminent and the competition into the knockout stages, the contestants will be chomping at the bit to get their paws on the prize.

Australian Grand Prix: Kimi Raikkonen storms to victory

Raikkonen delivers for Lotus as he storms to victory in Melbourne curtain raiser while Hamilton finishes fifth in Mercedes debut

PUBLISHED:

07:36 GMT, 17 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:18 GMT, 17 March 2013

Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen stormed to victory in the Australian Grand Prix in his best race on the Melbourne circuit for six years.

Fernando Alonso came in second while Lewis Hamilton finished fifth in his first race for Mercedes.

Jenson Button finished a disappointing ninth for McLaren, while Sebastian Vettel came third for Red Bull.

Scroll down for leaderboard

Triumphant: Kimi Raikkonen celebrates after winning the first race of the season

Triumphant: Kimi Raikkonen celebrates after winning the first race of the season

1-2-3: Raikkonen (centre) celebrates with second-placed Fernando Alonso (left) and third-placed Sebastian Vettel

1-2-3: Raikkonen (centre) celebrates with second-placed Fernando Alonso (left) and third-placed Sebastian Vettel

Party time: The long wait for F1 fans was over at last as the season kicked off in style

Party time: The long wait for F1 fans was over at last as the season kicked off in style

Cruising: Raikkonen drives through the pit lane after driving the fastest lap of the race and securing victory

Cruising: Raikkonen drives through the pit lane after driving the fastest lap of the race and securing victory

Finnish driver Raikkonen took the lead for good on lap 43 of 58 in a race which had seven different leaders.

Speaking on the podium, he said: ‘I was pretty
confident before the race. I thought it should be easy to do it.

‘I got a good start and it worked well. I had doubts because
it is the first race and I didn't do any long runs in the winter. But you have
to get through the first laps and go from there.

‘Fernando was catching me at some point so I just wanted to
make sure if the rain comes we have a big gap.

On song: Finnish driver Raikkonen of Lotus led the way in the Melbourne Grand Prix

On song: Finnish driver Raikkonen of Lotus led the way in the Melbourne Grand Prix

No cigar: Fernando Alonso ran Raikkonen close but could not beat his rival

No cigar: Fernando Alonso ran Raikkonen close but could not beat his rival

Down the rankings: Lewis Hamilton finished fifth in his first race for Mercedes

Down the rankings: Lewis Hamilton finished fifth in his first race for Mercedes

Hamilton

‘I was still taking it pretty easy. It was a pretty nice
race. Not too difficult.’

Lotus suggested during winter testing they had taken a step forward from last season, and they underlined that around Melbourne's Albert Park as Raikkonen took the chequered flag for the 20th time in his F1 career.

More to follow.

Holy smokes: Cars lock up their brakes as they approach the first corner of the Albert Park circuit

Holy smokes: Cars lock up their brakes as they approach the first corner of the Albert Park circuit

Frustration: Jenson Button drives in front of Mark Webber but neither driver will be happy with their finish

Frustration: Jenson Button drives in front of Mark Webber but neither driver will be happy with their finish

The gang's all here: The drivers pose for a group shot before the race

The gang's all here: The drivers pose for a group shot before the race

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Luka Modric wants to join Manchester United from Real Madrid

Exclusive: Modric eyes move to Manchester United… just days after sending them packing in the Champions League

By
Ian Ladyman

PUBLISHED:

23:00 GMT, 11 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:01 GMT, 12 March 2013

Manchester United’s Champions League heartbreaker Luka Modric still has his heart set on a move to Old Trafford.

Real Madrid star Modric smashed in a wonder goal to help the Spanish champions beat United on a controversial night of European drama in Manchester a week ago.

Now it has emerged that the 27-year-old Croatian midfielder still harbours dreams of a move back to the Barclays Premier League with United.

Heartbreaker: Luka Modric's goal sent Real Madrid through at the expense of Manchester United

Heartbreaker: Luka Modric's goal sent Real Madrid through at the expense of Manchester United

Modric was high on the wishlist of United boss Sir Alex Ferguson two summers ago as he tried to replace Paul Scholes. But United were put off by the prospect of another summer of haggling with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, with whom they clashed over the purchase of Dimitar Berbatov in 2008.

Modric eventually left White Hart Lane for Real in a 33m deal last summer but has not been a guaranteed starter in Jose Mourinho’s team and his goal at Old Trafford last week was only his second of a difficult season. The diminutive midfielder is not in a rush to quit Real but did let it be known when in Manchester last week that he would be very keen on a future switch to Old Trafford.

Since missing out on Modric first time round, United have of course bought Japanese international Shinji Kagawa.

Exposed Modric has found first-team football difficult to secure at Real, where Mesut Ozil is a rival for his place

Exposed Modric has found first-team football difficult to secure at Real, where Mesut Ozil is a rival for his place

Nevertheless, Scholes is expected to retire this summer, Ryan Giggs has perhaps just a season left and Wayne Rooney will attract strong interest from PSG and Bayern Munich at the end of the season.

Still only 27, Modric is young enough to tempt Ferguson, who has been a huge admirer since he first arrived in England from Dynamo Zagreb in 2008.

United, meanwhile, are still waiting to find out if defender Rio Ferdinand will be punished by the FA for an off-the-ball clash with Fernando Torres during Sunday’s 2-2 FA Cup draw with Chelsea.

Controversial: Rio Ferdinand is waiting to hear if he'll be punished by the FA

Controversial: Rio Ferdinand is waiting to hear if he'll be punished by the FA

The FA are likely to make a decision this morning while Ferdinand himself has warned that United cannot let their Champions League setback affect the rest of the season.

He said: ‘That won’t happen. We will go into training and start working towards the weekend. Cup competitions are different from the league. We know what we have to do.’

Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna set to miss Arsenal game at Bayern Munich through injury

EXCLUSIVE: Wilshere in race to be fit for England after being ruled out of Arsenal's showdown with Bayern

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

22:25 GMT, 11 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:09 GMT, 12 March 2013

Jack Wilshere could miss England’s crucial World Cup qualifying double header against San Marino and Montenegro.

Arsenal’s brilliant midfielder is out of Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Bayern Munich after failing to recover from the ankle injury he collected in the 2-1 defeat by Spurs nine days ago.

He will be left behind when the team flies to Bavaria today, and is not expected to recover in time for Saturday’s vital trip to Swansea.

Injury doubt: Jack Wilshere is in a race to be fit for England's trips to San Marino and Montenegro

Injury doubt: Jack Wilshere is in a race to be fit for England's trips to San Marino and Montenegro

Blow: Jack Wilshere is set to miss Arsenal's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich

Blow: Jack Wilshere is set to miss Arsenal's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich through injury

That puts England boss Roy Hodgson on a collision course with Gunners manager Arsene Wenger yet again over picking the 21-year-old for his country.

Hodgson names his squad on Thursday, and will want Wilshere in his side after his talismanic performance in last month’s friendly against Brazil – especially for the must-win trip to face Group H leaders Montenegro.

But Wenger, who sent the player on a mid-season break to Dubai to aid his recovery, will fear that he could break down on international duty and miss his club’s critical fight to retain their Champions League status for another season.

The Arsenal manager was angry last month that his star player was on the field for the full 90 minutes against Brazil at Wembley, when he believed he had an agreement that he would not play the entire game.

He also clashed with Hodgson in November over his selection for the squad for a friendly against Sweden when he had only just recovered from an injury sustained on Arsenal’s pre-season trip to America.

And England Under 21 coach Stuart Pearce also bowed to pressure from the Gunners to leave him out of his squad for last summer’s tournament.

Wenger has other injury problems as his side got to Munich searching for a way to overturn their 3-1 deficit from the first leg.

Bacary Sagna is out after failing to recover from a knee problem and is also a major doubt for Saturday’s trip to The Liberty Stadium.

Setback: Wilshere could be out for a few weeks

Setback: Wilshere could be out for a few weeks

It will leave the Gunners being forced to rush back Kieran Gibbs who has missed six weeks with a thigh injury.

With Nacho Monreal cup tied, Sagna's injury leaves Wenger short of defensive options for the clash against Jupp Heynckes men.

If the Gunners decide not to risk Gibbs, they are likely to line-up with a back-four of Carl Jenkinson, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen, the club's only available recognised defenders for the clash at the Allianz Arena.

However, the Gunners have been boosted by news that Bayern forward Franck Ribery will miss the second leg with an ankle injury.

Influential midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and defender Jerome Boateng are suspended.

Crisis: Bacary Sagna is set to miss the last-16 clash against Bayern Munich through injury

Crisis: Bacary Sagna is set to miss the last-16 clash after failing to recover from a knee problem

Wayne Rooney set for Manchester United exit with Paris Saint-German and Manchester City lurking

Rooney fights for his United future as 20m bid might tempt fed-up Ferguson to sell

By
Ian Ladyman

PUBLISHED:

22:31 GMT, 6 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:11 GMT, 7 March 2013

Wayne Rooney is facing a desperate fight to save his Manchester United career as manager Sir Alex Ferguson continues to harbour grave doubts about his fitness and attitude.

Ferguson stunned football by dropping the England forward to the bench for Tuesday night's Champions League defeat against Real Madrid at Old Trafford.

The United manager believes Rooney has failed to get on top of the weight and fitness issues that have dogged him since the start of the season and is fed up with waiting for an improvement.

Wayne Rooney

Benched: Wayne Rooney started Tuesday night's game as a substitute after he was axed by Sir Alex Ferguson

Close to the boss Rooney started the match on the bench - sitting just in front of Sir Alex Ferguson

Axed: Rooney's relationship with his manager is said to be tense after a difficult season at Old Trafford

With Rooney, 27, entering the final two years of his contract this summer, Ferguson knows he has a decision to make about his future.

As it stands, the Scot will not rule out selling him at the end of the season if the club can attract a bid of more than 20million.

Sources in both camps have told Sportsmail that the relationship between the pair has been tense for some time and shows no signs of getting better. Senior players say privately that they can sense it at the training ground on a daily basis.

Rooney acknowledges that he and Ferguson have not been on the best of terms for much of this season but disputes suggestions that he has not looked after himself.

Super-rich Paris Saint-Germain have an interest in Rooney, while United's neighbours Manchester City would take the former Everton star in an instant if they thought their rivals would sell to them.

City tried to buy Rooney in the autumn of 2010, prompting United to raise their wage ceiling to keep him.

His former United and England team-mate Michael Owen told talkSPORT: 'It's got to be a big worry for Rooney. It's the biggest game of the season and the manager has shuffled his pack and not included him.

'A couple of years ago, if Wayne wasn't the first-choice striker, he would have played him in left midfield or in behind the striker. For him not to start is a real kick in the teeth.

Real misery: Rooney could not prevent United crashing out of the Champions League to the Spanish giants

Real misery: Rooney could not prevent United crashing out of the Champions League to the Spanish giants

End of the road Rooney will be weighing up his future at Old Trafford after he was snubbed by Ferguson

End of the road Rooney will be weighing up his future at Old Trafford after he was snubbed by Ferguson

Dip in form: Rooney, cigarette in hand, relaxes on his honeymoon in Las Vegas

Dip in form: Rooney, cigarette in hand, relaxes on his honeymoon in
Las Vegas

'Wayne will either get his head down, try to improve and force his way back into the team, or he'll think, “The manager has not picked me for the biggest game, he obviously doesn't fancy me”, and it might not be the end of the story.'

Meanwhile, UEFA have charged United for failing to fulfil their media obligations after Tuesday night's 2-1 defeat that put them out of the Champions League.

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney

Bidding war: Both Manchester City and PSG would be interested should United choose to sell Rooney

Not only did Ferguson not attend the press conference after the game, United also failed to provide two players for post-match interviews, as mandated under UEFA rules.

Nani, who was sent off by referee Cuneyt Cakir with United leading 1-0, will definitely be banned for one European game at least.

His case, and United's, will be heard by UEFA on March 21. It will not be known if players like United defender Rio Ferdinand will face sanction for their actions after the game until Cakir files his report, probably later today.

Paul Lambert warns Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke against leaving Aston Villa for a bigger club too soon

Do you want to sit in the reserves Lambert warns Weimann and Benteke against move to bigger club too soon

By
Neil Moxley

PUBLISHED:

15:29 GMT, 4 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:29 GMT, 4 March 2013

Paul Lambert has warned his young strike-force that the grass isn't always greener as he tries to persuade both Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke to remain at Villa Park.

Villa face Manchester City tonight with two of the club's old boys, James Milner and Gareth Barry, likely to feature against their former club.

Both England midfielders left Villa when the financial bait from the current champions was set.

Crucial: Christian Benteke has led the line for Villa since joining from Genk last August

Crucial: Christian Benteke has led the line for Villa since joining from Genk last August

Talent: 21-year-old Andreas Weimann has scored 10 goals during his breakthrough season

Talent: 21-year-old Andreas Weimann has scored 10 goals during his breakthrough season

And now Lambert is facing a fight to keep hold of his two forwards.

Benteke has been linked with a move to Spurs and contract talks with Weimann are likely to resume only when the club's fate is known.

However, Lambert said that, given the duo's age and experience, they may be better off playing week in, week out, rather than becoming part of a squad.

'I think if you asked Gareth Barry and James Milner whether they enjoyed their time here, I'm pretty sure, without knowing them, that they would say they loved it.

'It was great for them. We are not necessarily a selling club. If someone gets more money somewhere else, then people will look at it.

'Everyone in this room would do the same.

'With Andy and Christian, you have to get into their heads and let them know what you think.

'The difference is those two are really young lads, I don’t know what age Gareth and James moved on, but those two are young.

'The thing is do they want to go to a side where they are sitting in the reserves and don’t get a shot at it'

Lambert's future plans to avoid drop have not been helped as it seems that Darren Bent will miss the next three weeks with a foot injury.

Bent has not been featuring ahead of Weimann or Benteke even when fit but the inclusion of an established international in Villa's match-day squad would be an obvious advantage.

'Darren is still struggling,' added Lambert. 'It is a little bit of a concern at the moment.'

James Milner

Gareth Barry

Return: James Milner and Gareth Barry both left Villa to join Manchester City