Tag Archives: understudy

Everton coach "punches" goalkeeper Danielle Hill at Christmas party – EXCLUSIVE

EXCLUSIVE: Christmas bash! Everton coach is accused of punching woman keeper at party

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UPDATED:

22:05 GMT, 21 December 2012

An Everton academy coach has been suspended while Merseyside Police investigate complaints he punched the club's women's team goalkeeper in the face at the staff Christmas party.

The shocking incident involving Mick O'Brien, who looks after Everton's nine to 11 year olds, and second-choice keeper Danielle Hill took place around midnight last Sunday outside the Blue Bar on Liverpool's Albert Dock as the function was breaking up.

Hill, 24-year-old niece of former England striker Mark Hateley, reported the alleged attack to Merseyside police and went to hospital for a check-up on minor facial injuries.

MICK O'BRIEN

Danielle Hill

Claim: It is alleged that O'Brien (right) punched Everton stopper Danielle Hill

Police are making enquiries and Everton are holding an extensive internal investigation.

The club have suspended Hill, understudy to Team GB keeper Rachel Brown, along with former Torquay midfielder O'Brien, 33, while the two probes continue over the Christmas period.

There are understood to be conflicting reports as to who threw the first punch in a fight that is the talk of a club viewing the clash with the utmost seriousness.

Probe: Hill and O'Brien have both been suspended by Everton

Probe: Hill and O'Brien have both been suspended by Everton

But whatever the outcome of the inquiries, the fracas is another unseemly chapter in the history of wild behaviour at football clubs' Christmas parties.

The Everton bash was attended by administrative staff, academy and community coaches as well as the women's team.

Neither manager David Moyes nor his first-team squad were present.

A police statement said: 'Merseyside Police can confirm an investigation is underway following the assault of a 24-year-old woman in Liverpool city centre on Sunday, December 16.

'The incident occurred near to the entrance of the Blue Bar in the Albert Dock at about midnight. The 24-year-old was punched in the face during the incident.

An investigation into the full circumstances of the incident is ongoing.'

Everton made no comment.

Manchester City want Rafael Cabral as Joe Hart understudy

Man City eye Brazil international goalkeeper Cabral as understudy to Hart

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UPDATED:

23:22 GMT, 7 December 2012

Manchester City are interested in Santos goalkeeper Rafael Cabral.

The Barclays Premier League champions are looking to provide extra competition for Joe Hart and Brazil international Cabral, 22, is available for around 5million.

Target: Cabral

Target: Cabral

Tottenham have also made enquiries as they prepare to offload Brad Friedel, 41, to Blackburn in January and their own Brazilian Heurelho Gomes, 31, who would consider a move back to South America.

Cabral was due to play for Brazil in their ill-fated Olympics campaign but was injured just before the tournament started.

Chelsea set to offload Ashley Cole in January as PSG plot 23m swoop

Chelsea could offload Cole in January as PSG plot 23m swoop on contract rebel

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UPDATED:

07:53 GMT, 16 October 2012

Paris Saint-Germain will attempt to see off competition from both Manchester clubs and Real Madrid by offering Ashley Cole a 150,000-a-week three-year deal.

The super-rich French club hope to tempt the 31-year-old after Sportsmail revealed the England defender is ready to walk out at the end of the season after failing to agree terms on a new contract.

In demand: Ashley Cole could leave on a free at the end of the season

In demand: Ashley Cole could leave on a free at the end of the season

Chelsea could offload Cole when the transfer window re-opens in January if his understudy Ryan Bertrand, called up to the England squad for this week's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland, continues his remarkable rise.

Cole is a victim of Chelsea's new policy for players over the age of
30.

If Cole, 31, and Frank Lampard, 34, who is
also out of contract next summer, quit Stamford Bridge, it will be
confirmation that Roman Abramovich is breaking up his Champions
League-winning team.

The
Russian told the players they were directly responsible for the sacking
of Andre Villas-Boas last March and warned them their futures were on
the line before they went on to win the FA Cup and European Cup.

United front: Wayne Ronney and Ashley Cole could be club team-mates next season

United front: Wayne Ronney and Ashley Cole could be club team-mates next season

Despite
their success, Abramovich's threat appears to be real after the club's
failure to match the expectations of Cole and Lampard, during talks.

PSG are confident they have the ambition and resources to win Cole's signature. The defender was called 'the best left-back in the world' by manager Carlo Ancelotti earlier this month when asked about the club's interest in his former player.

PSG have a strong English connection on the backroom staff, where Ancelotti has recruited former Stamford Bridge employees Paul Clement, Claude Makelele and Nick Broad.

Big fan: PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti says Cole is 'best in the world'

Big fan: PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti says Cole is 'best left back in the world'

Vito Mannone wanted by inter Miland and Napoli

Inter Milan and Napoli on alert as Mannone waits to open Arsenal contract talks

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UPDATED:

09:16 GMT, 9 October 2012


No talks: Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone

No talks: Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone

Inter Milan and Napoli are on alert after Vito Mannone admitted he has not discussed a new contract at Arsenal despite his current deal due to expire at the end of the season.

According to reports in Italy, both Serie A giants have been impressed by the once third-choice Italian keeper's start to the season, starting five of their seven Premier League games in the absence of injured No 1 Wojciech Szczesny and understudy Lukasz Fabianksi.

Mannone arrived at the Gunners as a teenager from Atalanta in 2005 and has been at the Emirates for seven years, spending spent loans spells at Barnsley and Hull.

But the 24-year-old insists he is more concerned about keeping his place in the side when Szczesny returns.

'Neither myself nor anyone from my family or friends have spoken about any deal,' he told the club's official website.

'At the moment I am really happy and just focusing on training and playing well.

'I am trying to be the No.1 for this club and win trophies. That is my only concern and I would like to make that clear.

'The boss has given me the chance. I have to keep going and prove myself in every single game.

'This is my best time at Arsenal so I would be crazy to not take the chance to put up a fight for my place.'

Laurent Koscielny praised by Per Mertesacker after Arsenal draw at Manchester City

Mertesacker hails Koscielny after late strike earns Arsenal point at Man City

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UPDATED:

17:49 GMT, 23 September 2012

Per Mertesacker paid tribute to his defensive partner Laurent Koscielny as Arsenal salvaged a late draw against champions Manchester City.

It was home defender Joleon Lescott who headed Roberto Mancini's men into the lead before the break, but France international Koscielny popped up at the other end eight minutes from time to grab a point with a powerful strike.

And Mertesacker was full of praise for Thomas Vermaelen's understudy, who was making his first league start of the season.

Catch me if you can: Koscielny wheels away in celebration after his shot beats Joe Hart

Catch me if you can: Koscielny wheels away in celebration after his shot beats Joe Hart

Laurent Koscielny

The German told Sky Sports 1: 'We had to be strong today, it was a very difficult match for us.

'We have a great squad this year and a lot of great centre-backs at the moment.

'Thomas is at home a little bit ill and Laurent came in and did fantastically. It was a solution.

'We are a strong squad and we have to stick together. We did well today and we have to keep on going.'

City manager Roberto Mancini bemoaned his side's collective lapse in concentration in the closing stages.

'I don't know if we lost our concentration but it's strange,' he said. 'Eight, 10 minutes to go to finish the game, we should have had our concentration 100 per cent.

'We had the game under control. [It was] only for the last 10, 15 minutes… I don't know why we don't continue to play. We were too deep. The problem is we need to close when we have a chance to score.'

Frustrated: Mancini saw his side concede late on for the second time in a week

Frustrated: Mancini saw his side concede late on for the second time in a week

Frustrated: Mancini saw his side concede late on for the second time in a week

The draw moved the champions on to nine points from five games.

Asked to assess his side's start to their title defence, the Italian replied on Sky Sports 1: 'It's difficult. I think we did not start with some players. We had some problems with this. I think we have two points less [than we should], probably.'

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was quick to echo Mertesacker's praise of goalscoring centre-back Koscielny but regretted not being able to take all three points away from the Etihad Stadium.

He said on Sky Sports 1: 'I'm not worried about Koscielny – he is top class.

'We have three top-class central defenders.

'We were in danger a few times on the counter-attack but overall we were solid.

Case for the defence: Mertesacker (above) and Koscielny performed well in the absence of Thomas Vermaelen

Case for the defence: Mertesacker (above) and Koscielny performed well in the absence of Thomas Vermaelen

Case for the defence: Mertesacker (above) and Koscielny performed well in the absence of Thomas Vermaelen

'We are a bit frustrated because we feel we had the chances early on and late in the game. But you can see that we are a team and we are a strong team.

'Manchester City score a lot from set pieces and they did it again today.'

The Frenchman remains optimistic over Arsenal's chances of winning a first league title since 2004.

'It's down to consistency and what happened today should strengthen our belief,' he added.

'But we are not the perfect team yet and there is still room for improvement.

'I believe we have a chance.'

Fernando Torres form not a worry – Roberto Di Matteo

Don't worry! Di Matteo not afraid about Torres form… but pledges Sturridge more minutes

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UPDATED:

22:34 GMT, 16 September 2012

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo insisted he had no fear whatsoever of Fernando Torres suffering another nightmare run at the Blues after the striker went missing in their goalless draw at QPR.

But the Blues boss also promised Daniel Sturridge more opportunities up front after Torres' understudy came off the bench and almost helped snatch victory in Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash.

Torres declared just over two weeks ago that he had finally exorcised his demons at Stamford Bridge following an impressive start to the season.

Frustrated: Fernando Torres had a poor game against QPR

Frustrated: Fernando Torres had a poor game against QPR

He has since produced two miserable performances, something which it would be unfair to read to much into under normal circumstances.

But by storming down the tunnel upon being substituted for Sturridge after a display of ever-diminishing returns, Torres himself suggested he could easily regress to the dark place he found himself in for 18 months following his 50million move from Liverpool.

Di Matteo dimissed this out of hand, saying: 'No, no, absolutely not. We can't put too much pressure on one player.

'We are a team and everybody has responsibility. We're looking for other players to score goals as well.'

Di Matteo repeatedly refused to be drawn on QPR boss Mark Hughes' claim that Ryan Nelsen 'dominated' Torres, whose display of petulance at least showed he cares.

At the third time of asking, the Chelsea boss replied: 'I think it's a team sport. I wouldn't individually go player by player.

'I thought, as a team, we played well, our centre-forward worked very hard, he had a chance in the first half to score as well, a half-decent chance in the second half.'

It was Torres' lack of effort as the game progressed that was truly worrying and Di Matteo finally took decisive action nine minutes from time.

Contrast: Daniel Sturridge worked hard when coming on as a sub

Contrast: Daniel Sturridge worked hard when coming on as a sub

The difference in his two strikers' workrates was staggering and begged the question what might have happened had Sturridge come on sooner.

It also begged the question about whether the England forward deserved a recall ahead of Torres, who has started every match this season.

'We've only played four in the league now,' said Di Matteo, whose attention now shifts to Wednesday's Champions League clash with Juventus.

'We're going to have seven games – including this – in 21 days. So there is time for everybody to play.'

Allow it: Roberto Di Matteo will give Sturridge more match time

Allow it: Roberto Di Matteo will give Sturridge more match time

He added of Sturridge: 'He can maybe play more minutes, for sure.

'As long as he keeps training well and, when he has the opportunities, shows his qualities, that's the way forward, and he will get chances to play as well.'

Di Matteo promised that meant more opportunities 'in the middle' for the England forward, who has become increasingly frustrated with being played out wide and reportedly came close to being allowed to leave on loan before the transfer window closed.

Euro 2012 diary: Football makes way for AC/DC, Placebo and Scorpions

Ian Ladyman's Euro diary: Football makes way for AC/DC and Co at Olympic Stadium

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UPDATED:

21:31 GMT, 29 June 2012

The delicate football at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday may be the last subtlety experienced there for a while. Upcoming events at the stadium in Kiev include rock concerts by rockers AC/DC, Placebo and the Scorpions. Pass the ear plugs

Part of the team

Who would want to be Pepe Reina, permanent understudy to Spain's faultless goalkeeper Iker Casillas Reina is a perfect team man, though, and is regularly seen facing up to Spain's penalty-takers in training so that Casillas minimises the risk of injury.

Understudy: Liverpool stopper Reina is a perfect team man

Understudy: Liverpool stopper Reina is a perfect team man

Always the last

Stories in Portugal yesterday that Cristiano Ronaldo missed the team plane home from Donetsk because he was buying cake at the airport have been furiously denied by the Portuguese FA. Not the first time this week he has been last, though.

Size isn't everything

If Spain triumph this weekend they will still be the only nation to have lifted the current European Championship trophy. The historic Henri Delaunay Trophy – named after UEFA's first general secretary – was redesigned prior to 2008 and is a pound heavier and seven inches taller than the original.

Thumbs up…

To English referee Howard Webb. After the trauma of the 2010 World Cup final, Webb has once again proved himself among the game's very best out here. Shame that he was overlooked for tomorrow night's match.

Blow my whistle: Webb has proved himself among the game's very best

Blow my whistle: Webb has proved himself among the game's very best

Thumbs down…

To UEFA for their insistence that players are booked for removing their shirts during goal celebrations, as Mario Balotelli was on Thursday. Don't they understand that we like this When you're in your 40s, Balotelli with his shirt off makes you want to head to the gym.

Quote of the day

'I don't celebrate second place… we should have avoided those last five minutes of sufferance.' Italy keeper Gianluigi Buffon sees no reason to relish his side's semi-final victory.

Euro 2012: Gianluigi Buffon in video joke at press conference

Buffon: We'll watch a video tonight… but I don't think it will be about penalties

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UPDATED:

18:37 GMT, 22 June 2012

Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon has laughed off the prospect of a penalty shootout against England in Sunday's European Championship quarter-final.

The potential for this weekend's game to be decided on spot-kicks has been much-discussed in the build-up to the Kiev clash.

England goalkeeper Joe Hart revealed he had already studied videos of penalties taken by Italy's players as part of his preparations for the match.

Goalkeepers' union: Buffon (left) backed Joe Hart to be the No 1 stopper in the world

Goalkeepers' union: Buffon (left) backed Joe Hart to be the No 1 stopper in the world

Euro 2012 email button

But when Buffon was asked at a press conference if he had followed suit, he appeared to insinuate jokingly that he and his fellow keepers might spend this evening watching videos of a very different kind.

'We have not watched any videos,' Buffon said. 'We will watch a video tonight…' Buffon and understudy Salvatore Sirigu then burst out laughing, both struggling to compose themselves before the press conference resumed.

However, Buffon had earlier treated the subject with greater seriousness.

All smiles: Buffon joked that he and his fellow keepers might spend this evening watching videos of a different kind

All smiles: Buffon joked that he and his fellow keepers might spend this evening watching videos of a different kind

'For everyone involved, for the sake of our hearts, it would be better if we get the job done without having to resort to penalties,' he said.

'But if it does then we will just have to deal with it.'

Hart revealed Buffon, who has more than 100 caps, was one of his goalkeeping heroes and the Italian returned the compliment today.

Eye on the ball: Hart has been preparing for penalties ahead of England's showdown with Italy

Eye on the ball: Hart has been preparing for penalties ahead of England's showdown with Italy

'Together with [Manuel] Neuer and Sirigu, he can become the best goalkeeper in the world,' the 34-year-old said.

'The difference between a normal keeper and a great goalkeeper is the attention to detail, not to commit mistakes during one season.

'The maximum number of mistakes a keeper can commit is two or three.'

Hart is not the only player who could crush Italy's Euro 2012 dream on Sunday.

Threat: The Italian goalkeeper said the Azzurri would be wary of Rooney and Co

Threat: The Italian goalkeeper said the Azzurri would be wary of Rooney and Co

Buffon said: 'Wayne Rooney has charisma and is a leader, dragging the team along with him, while John Terry, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole are all players who know how to win.'

Terry and Cole helped Chelsea win the Champions League against all odds this season and Buffon drew parallels between the European club champions and England.

'Chelsea have played well in defence against Barcelona and Bayern Munich,' he said.

'Probably, Bayern and Barcelona are the stronger teams but Chelsea won the match.

Sign him up: Buffon is leading Italy at this summer's European Championships

Sign him up: Buffon is leading Italy at this summer's European Championships

'I think, in this way, we can find similarities between England and Chelsea.'

Buffon also acknowledged there were echoes of Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning triumph in their current Euro 2012 campaign.

Just like six years ago, Italian football is currently mired in a match-fixing scandal. Buffon was personally implicated back in 2006 but was ultimately cleared, although his Juventus side were stripped of two Serie A titles.

Italy are also looking to salvage some pride on the field after their 2010 World Cup debacle.

The Azzurri did not even get out of the group and Buffon said: 'There are always some difficulties in Italian football, so we are used to dealing with these difficulties and we want to fight against them.

'It's always hard to have a clear picture without any doubts or problems.

'Our aim before this Euro was to do better than in 2010, and we wanted to surprise people during this competition.

'Our aim was to make our supporters proud of us, here in Poland and Ukraine and in Italy as well.'

England also endured a miserable World Cup and Buffon felt both sides 'want to recapture the prestige that has been lost in recent years'.

He added: 'I only ever faced England in two friendlies and we won both.

'I've never played them in an important match before. I hope there will be more occasions, but I above all hope we win this one.'

Champions League Final 2012: Bayern Munich team guide

Bring on the Germans: Your guide to the Bayern Munich side waiting for Chelsea

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UPDATED:

10:46 GMT, 13 May 2012

GOALKEEPERS

MANUEL NEUER (born 27/03/86): Germany's No 1 has enjoyed an impressive first season at Bayern after joining from Schalke. His signing was not popular with the Bayern fans, because of the club's rivalry with the Royal Blues, but he has won them round by proving a worthy successor to the great Oliver Kahn. He saved twice in the penalty shootout win over Real Madrid.

Safe hands: Manuel Neuer has impressed between the sticks for Bayern

Safe hands: Manuel Neuer has impressed between the sticks for Bayern

HANS-JORG BUTT (born 28/05/74): The veteran penalty-taking keeper is set to hang up his gloves at the end of the season. A reliable understudy, he reached the Champions League final with Bayer Leverkusen in 2002.

AXIMILIAN RIEDMULLER (born 04/01/88): The 24-year-old, signed from Bavarian league side SV Heimstetten in 1998, has yet to make his debut for the Bayern first team.

DEFENDERS

PHILIPP LAHM (born 11/11/83): The Germany captain is one of the finest attacking full-backs in world football. Comfortable on the ball, his overlapping runs down the right can make him one of Bayern's most dangerous players going forward.

JEROME BOATENG (born 03/09/88): The 23-year-old did not settle in his only season at Manchester City, but he has been a regular in the centre of defence at Bayern.

Heads up: Jerome Boateng (right) spent time with Manchester City

Heads up: Jerome Boateng (right) spent time with Manchester City

RAFINHA (born 07/09/85): The Brazilian former Schalke right-back did not feature in either leg of the semi-final against Real Madrid, but should start the final with David Alaba missing through suspension. Hot-headed, he will need to keep his temper in check.

DANIEL VAN BUYTEN (born 07/02/78): Another player who had a brief spell at City, the Belgian is returning to fitness after an extended spell on the sidelines with a fractured metatarsal. A contender to start the final with Holger Badstuber banned.

DIEGO CONTENTO (born 01/05/1990): The young left-back has struggled for starts this season after finishing last term as first choice.

BRENO (born 13/10/1989): The Brazilian has caused many more headlines off the pitch than on it since joining Bayern. He was last month charged with arson after his home in Munich burnt down last September. He has not played a first-team game this season and only an injury crisis will give him a chance of playing against Chelsea.

MIDFIELDERS

FRANCK RIBERY (born 07/04/83): The France international is enjoying perhaps his best season at Bayern, having put his injury problems behind him. The winger, who supports lone frontman Mario Gomez from the left in an attacking Bayern formation, scored the opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final.

Twinkle toes: Franck Ribery could be crucial to unlocking the Chelsea defence

Twinkle toes: Franck Ribery could be crucial to unlocking the Chelsea defence

ARJEN ROBBEN (born 23/01/84): The Dutch right-winger this month signed a two-year contract extension to keep him at the club until 2015 and remains an integral part of the Bayern attack. He won two league titles and an FA Cup in three years at Chelsea between 2004 and 2007 and, having knocked out one former club in Madrid, will be out to end the hopes of another.

BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER (born 01/08/84): The tireless all-action midfielder is in his 10th season in the Bayern team. The 90-times capped Germany international may be called on to play more of a holding role against Chelsea with Luiz Gustavo suspended.

TONI KROOS (born 04/01/90): The 22-year-old has developed into a superb all-round midfielder, equally at home in a holding or playmaking role. That he has moved ahead of the impressive Thomas Muller in the pecking order speaks volumes.

Midfield maestro: Toni Kroos (left) has emerged as one to watch

Midfield maestro: Toni Kroos (left) has emerged as one to watch

ANATOLIY TYMOSHCHUK (born 30/03/79): The Ukraine defensive midfielder is a former UEFA Cup winner with Zenit St Petersburg. He has struggled to hold down a starting place in three years at Bayern, but could have a part to play in the final with Gustavo banned.

DANIJEL PRANJIC (born 02/12/81): The Croatian left-sided midfielder has rarely got a look-in this season.

TAKASHI USAMI (born 06/05/92): The Japanese youngster is on loan at Bayern from Gamba Osaka, but has played largely for the reserve side.

FORWARDS

MARIO GOMEZ (born 10/07/85): The Germany striker has more than 40 goals in all competitions this season. He has scored 13 times in the Champions League, second only to Lionel Messi, and has become one of the most feared strikers in Europe.

Man man: Bayern will be looking to Mario Gomez to fire them to glory

Man man: Bayern will be looking to Mario Gomez to fire them to glory

THOMAS MULLER (born 13/09/89): The 2010 World Cup Golden Boot winner had to settle for a place on the bench in both legs of the semi-final, but should start the final. The England players in the Chelsea team will remember the part he played in Germany's 4-1 hammering of England in South Africa.

IVICA OLIC (born 14/09/79): The Croatian has been deployed almost exclusively as a substitute this season and will join Wolfsburg in the summer.

NILS PETERSEN (born 06/12/88): A surprise signing from Energie Cottbus last May, the 23-year-old has featured sparingly in his debut season.

Manchester United ponder Leighton Baines bid

United weigh up 10m Baines bid with Evra's future in doubt after dip in form

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UPDATED:

06:18 GMT, 10 May 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson is pondering a 10million bid for Everton and England defender Leighton Baines.

Manchester United could move for the Everton star amid doubts over long-term left-back Patrice Evra's form this season.

/05/10/article-2142230-125C0F24000005DC-789_468x339.jpg” width=”468″ height=”339″ alt=”Top form: Leighton Baines was voted into the PFA team of the season” class=”blkBorder” />

Top form: Leighton Baines was voted into the PFA team of the season

The German giants have put the pacy full-back at the top of their summer wishlist, meaning Ferguson will have to stump up to land Baines.

Fergie had hoped to shell out 6m for his man, but is now being forced higher, according to the Mirror.

Evra, 31, has excelled for United since joining six years ago but the Frenchman has hit a rocky patch this term.

It is highly unlikely Baines would move to Old Trafford to be Evra's understudy, meaning any capture could end the Frenchman's stint at the club.

Au revoir Patrice Evra has had a poor season by his high standards

Au revoir Patrice Evra has had a poor season by his high standards

Bayern, meanwhile, do not have a specialist left-back – with young Austrian midfielder David Alaba filling in there for most of the season – and manager Jupp Heynckes sees Baines as the ideal man to come in.

The former Wigan player would become the second Lancastrian at the club, with former Tranmere forward Dale Jennings already plying his trade at the Allianz Arena.