• Macclesfield expelled from National League

    The Silkmen were wound up by the High Court earlier this month.

    29 Sep 2020, 16:36 CEST

    Macclesfield have been expelled from the National League 13 days after being wound up by the High Court. The National League announced its board has passed a resolution to expel the Silkmen with effect from October 12. The club has been suspended from the league, with all scheduled fixtures before the expulsion date postponed. On September 16 the Insolvency and Companies Court wound up the club over unpaid debts of more than GBP 500,000. Players and staff had been made redundant in the wake of the ruling. Macclesfield were due to open the season at home to Bromley on Saturday before trips to Boreham Wood and Aldershot. They were relegated from League Two when the EFL successfully appealed against a points deduction they said was too lenient in August. The club had initially been docked two points and fined in relation to the non-payment of wages, but an independent arbitration panel added a further penalty, effectively relegating Macclesfield and handing a reprieve to Stevenage. It was the third time the club had been punished for issues relating to salary payments and their failure to fulfil League Two fixtures against Plymouth and Crewe when players had gone on strike over non-payment of wages.

  • Steve Bruce says he can handle criticism as he aims to get Magpies flying

    The Magpies head for Newport with a Carabao Cup quarter-final place at stake.

    29 Sep 2020, 16:29 CEST

    Steve Bruce says he can take the criticism as he attempts to build a Newcastle team which plays attractive, winning football. The 59-year-old has found himself in the firing line once again since Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw at Tottenham, in which Callum Wilson's controversially-awarded stoppage-time penalty was the Magpies' first shot on target a week after a dispiriting 3-0 home defeat by Brighton. Bruce was far from a universally popular appointment as Rafael Benitez's successor and while he guided the club to a 13th-place finish last season, he knows as he prepares for Wednesday night's Carabao Cup fourth round trip to League Two Newport that his every move invites added scrutiny as a result.

    He said: "What I understand now – and this is the most difficult part of all here – is that everything I do is analysed, if I make a substitution, how we play, formation, everything. "I understand one thing: our performances against Brighton and against Tottenham were nowhere near what we are capable of. "I accept I get criticism for that, but it's the constant, 'He doesn't know what he is doing, why has he picked this team, this is the way forward, we should be playing like this', blah blah blah. That's the difficulty. "If you play like we did against Spurs and particularly against Brighton at home, then you're going to come in for criticism and you have to accept that. "It's a big club, with big expectations and the criticism falls upon you. I have to be big enough to accept it and we didn't play well enough. The analysis of everything you do, that's the difficulty."

    Newcastle shook off the Brighton loss by winning 7-0 at League Two Morecambe three days later and while Bruce may hope for an equally smooth passage to the quarter-finals at Rodney Parade, he knows that is unlikely. He said: "No disrespect to Morecambe, but they (Newport) are a far better side. They've had joy in the cup, they're doing well in the league. It's a difficult place to go and play, as many people have found." A place in the last eight, albeit via a friendly series of draws, would provide a welcome boost on Tyneside, but that would not be enough for Geordie Bruce. He said: "I don't really look at that as an achievement. I think an achievement would be getting to a final and then ultimately if you win it, then maybe that's an achievement."

  • Defender Darnell Johnson joins Wigan on loan from Leicester

    The 22-year-old was part of the England U19 squad which won the UEFA U19 European Championships in 2017.

    29 Sep 2020, 16:23 CEST

    Wigan have signed defender Darnell Johnson on loan from Leicester until January. The 22-year-old was part of the England U19 squad which won the UEFA U19 European Championships in 2017 and is the godson of former Latics striker Emile Heskey. Johnson told Latics TV: "I'm very pleased to be here. I jumped at the opportunity because I know Wigan is a good club. "If I work hard with the team here, it can be the right platform for me to progress and extend my career. "It's a good set of lads here, everyone was very welcoming and everyone's in good spirits after the result at the weekend – I'm happy to join in with that and see how far we can climb the table. "I'm a quick player, nice and aggressive, good at communicating and adaptable – whatever style we need to play, or whatever the situation is in a game, I feel like I can always adapt."

  • James Tarkowski a doubt with toe injury for Burnley

    James Tarkowski is edging towards fitness ahead of the Carabao Cup clash.

    29 Sep 2020, 16:21 CEST

    Burnley are still without a host of first-team stars for the Carabao Cup visit of Manchester City. James Tarkowski remains touch and go with a toe injury but did manage to train with the squad on Tuesday after missing the Clarets' opening four games of the season. Ben Mee (thigh), Robbie Brady (ribs), Jay Rodriguez (ankle), Johann Berg Gudmundsson (knee), Jack Cork (ankle) and Ashley Barnes all remain out although some have returned to light training. Centre-back Bobby Thomas and midfielder Josh Benson both started at Millwall in the last round and could earn places again as boss Sean Dyche looks to manage his squad. Manchester City are again likely to turn to their youngsters because of a lengthy list of absentees.

    Liam Delap – who scored against Bournemouth in the previous round last week – Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Tommy Doyle, Cole Palmer and Felix Nmecha could get chances but Adrian Bernabe (knee) is out. American Zack Steffen is again set to play in goal while Aymeric Laporte and Oleksandr Zinchenko, both unused substitutes at the the weekend, could get some game time to help build up fitness. John Stones is doubtful while senior players unavailable include the injured Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva. Ilkay Gundogan is in isolation after contracting coronavirus.

  • Premier League pays for Covid-19 tests for lower league players before Cup ties

    Discussions between the leagues occurred after Leyton Orient’s tie with Tottenham had to be cancelled.

    29 Sep 2020, 16:21 CEST

    The Premier League has paid for players and staff at the three English Football League clubs still involved in the Carabao Cup to be tested for coronavirus, the PA news agency understands. Newport, of Sky Bet League Two, will host Newcastle in the fourth round on Wednesday and Exiles boss Michael Flynn revealed ahead of the game they were waiting to discover the results of their tests for Covid-19. "The testing has been covered by the Premier League," Flynn said. "We've all been tested and the results will be back this (Tuesday) morning." It is understood the league's organising body has also paid for Brentford and Stoke to test their players and staff this week, with testing at this stage of the Carabao Cup now mandatory.

    The Bees host Fulham on Thursday in a repeat of the Championship play-off final, while the Potters travel to Aston Villa on the same night. Hong Kong-based company Prenetics is in charge of the testing programme carried out on all players and staff at Premier League clubs on a weekly basis, handling the tests of Newport, Brentford and Stoke in a slight extension to the usual round of tests for the 20 top flight sides. On Monday, it was revealed there were 10 positive coronavirus results in the latest round of Premier League testing, with West Ham boss David Moyes and players Issa Diop and Josh Cullen among that number. Leyton Orient's Carabao Cup third-round tie with Tottenham, scheduled for last Tuesday, was called off after the League Two club had an outbreak of cases.

    Spurs were eventually awarded a bye but the incident has resulted in action, with EFL clubs not obliged to conduct mandatory tests on their players and staff for Covid-19 on a weekly basis, unlike the Premier League. Tottenham paid for Orient to test their players and squad before the clash at the Breyer Group Stadium, but following discussions between the EFL and Premier League since that match was cancelled, protocols for the Carabao Cup have been aligned with the top flight. It is now mandatory for the clubs still in the competition to test their players and staff for coronavirus and should Newport, Brentford or Stoke get through to their next round, they will undergo another round of testing. That will not take place until later this year though, with the Carabao Cup – after three consecutive rounds of midweek ties in September – not set to resume until the week commencing December 21.

  • Listed honours for Keats at Cork

    Well-bred colt thrives back at a mile.

    29 Sep 2020, 16:21 CEST

    Aidan O'Brien's Keats proved suited by the drop back to a mile as he took the Listed Navigation Stakes at Cork. By Galileo out of the extremely fast sprinter Airwave, the three-year-old has spent most of this season running over trips around 10 furlongs. He had won twice already in this campaign, though, which has been busy, and both of those were over a mile. Having suggested he was up to winning a race of this level last time out when second to Lady Wannabe at Listowel a week ago, Keats was sent off the 5-2 favourite. Perfectly positioned throughout by Seamie Heffernan, the market leader took a lead into the straight off Jessica Harrington's Free Solo and without coming under too much pressure hit the front. Keats only had to be kept up to his work to beat Free Solo by a length and a quarter, with Fame And Acclaim third. "I thought he was unlucky last week, but he handles all types of grounds and I wasn't surprised he won," said Heffernan "He felt like there was more to come from him and he is still unexposed and still babyish. Listen, he has won a Listed race today and he ran very well a few days ago so he is hardy and is up for it now, so I'm happy."

  • Burnley boss Sean Dyche rules out panic buying

    Burnley host Manchester City in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

    29 Sep 2020, 16:17 CEST

    Burnley boss Sean Dyche will refuse to panic buy if the Clarets miss out on their prime targets. Manager Dyche also believes his squad will transform once a host of injured players return. The club are talking to Liverpool about winger Harry Wilson having signed Dale Stephens from Brighton last week. "It is not just down to him (the chairman) but I can't sign the cheques," said Dyche, ahead of Wednesday's visit of Manchester City in the Carabao Cup. "Would we want a couple more? Ideally, yes, but when everyone who is injured, when they're all fit it looks radically different. "We don't want to sign for the sake of signing but we do want talent and players who fit us and can take us forward. "We're on the lookout but eventually it comes down to someone making those big decisions financially. "In house as well, we have to make sure the players are looked after. We have some very good ones, particularly for a club like Burnley, we have some very talented players."

    Dyche also said nothing had changed in James Tarkowski's situation with Leicester having had a bid worth over GBP 30million rejected last week. He added: "I can't control other clubs, they know where James is and the situation. If anyone offers the chairman and board will deal with it accordingly." Burnley are suffering with injuries to Tarkowski (toe), Ben Mee (thigh), Robbie Brady (ribs), Jay Rodriguez (ankle), Johann Berg Gudmundsson (knee), Jack Cork (ankle) and Ashley Barnes. City are also without Sergio Aguero (knee), Bernardo Silva (thigh), Joao Cancelo (ankle) and Ilkay Gundogan, who is self isolating after contracting coronavirus and Dyche knows what opposite number Pep Guardiola has to contend with. "It's just an understanding, different levels to the market bring different challenges," he said. "His challenge of being manager of Manchester City and having won the league and cups is to keep going and even those guys get challenged when the players are injured. "It's more of an empathy. We are different level of the market, there's an expectation there of wining something every year, if not the league then cups. "Ours is slightly different but it's still a stretch for any manager, we've had seven starters out and for a small squad that's really hard."

  • ‘It’s a different game this season’ – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

    New handball rules and a disrupted pre-season have caused confusion for many including the Manchester United boss.

    29 Sep 2020, 16:00 CEST

    Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes football is a "different game" this season as a mix of controversial rule changes and unprecedented circumstances throw up wild results. A week after a Premier League-record 44 goals were scored across a single weekend, there was more drama as Leicester won 5-2 at Manchester City, Chelsea came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at West Brom, and United were awarded a penalty after the final whistle had sounded to win 3-2 at Brighton. Debate has raged over changes to the handball rule which have seen several penalties awarded but Solskjaer said the effects of an off-season curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic was also being felt as games continue in empty stadiums. "I think football has changed," the United manager said. "There are no fans, it's a different game. Pre-season we were at different stages, the new handball rule… you never know what's going to happen."

    Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho stormed down the tunnel after Newcastle were awarded a stoppage-time penalty for handball on Sunday, 24 hours after Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson fumed over the spot-kick given to Everton in the Toffees' 2-1 win. A week earlier, Palace got a penalty of their own at Old Trafford when another handball decision went against Victor Lindelof, and Solskjaer added his voice to those unhappy with the changes. "You can discuss it all day long but we need some clarity on what's a foul and what's a penalty because now it looks like you can chip the ball up into someone's hand – like what happened to us against Palace for example and Victor got a penalty against him. "And then the header against Tottenham, he's (Eric Dier) got no idea the ball hits him. You see the goals scored against West Brom at the end, is that not handball (by Kai Havertz in the build-up)? We need to get that clarity. It's a whole spectrum of things that aren't normal." United were more than a little fortunate to get their first three-point haul of the season at the weekend, with Brighton hitting the frame of the goal five times, levelling in stoppage time but then conceding a penalty for handball in the very last action of the game. "You can look back at the performance, especially in the last 20-25 minutes when we didn't really get hold of the ball and control the game when we were winning 2-1," Solksjaer said. "But then again it's three points – the reaction after conceding was fantastic and there are some positives. We've got to be happy. I don't think too many teams will have a comfortable ride down there."

    United will be back at the AMEX on Wednesday night for their fourth-round meeting with Brighton in the Carabao Cup, though Saturday's match probably offers few pointers with both sides expected to make a raft of changes. "You can see teams have a cup team and a league team and we'll make changes," Solskjaer said. "It'll be very similar to what happened last week against Luton." Solskjaer made 10 changes for last week's 3-0 win over Luton in the previous round, though two of United's goals came late on from substitutes Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. One player who will not be involved in Andreas Pereira, who is set to join Lazio on loan. The 24-year-old made 40 appearances for United last season but found opportunities limited after the arrival of Bruno Fernandes. The PA news agency understands a deal is close for Pereira to join Lazio for the rest of the season, with the Serie A club to pay his wages for the duration of the loan.

  • Teenager Will Bapaga signs new three-year deal with Coventry

    The 17-year-old is tied to the club until the summer of 2023.

    29 Sep 2020, 15:59 CEST

    Coventry have agreed a new three-year contract with winger Will Bapaga. The 17-year-old academy graduate has made two senior appearances for the Sky Blues. His new deal runs until the summer of 2023, the Sky Bet Championship club have announced. Bapaga made his senior debut at the age of 16, coming on as a late substitute in a goalless League One draw at Bolton in August 2019. His first start came earlier this month when Mark Robins' men were knocked out of the Carabao Cup on penalties at Gillingham.

  • Brighton boss Graham Potter to make changes for Manchester United clash

    Potter has changed his entire starting XI in the two previous rounds of the Carabao Cup.

    29 Sep 2020, 15:51 CEST

    Brighton boss Graham Potter will once again make wholesale changes in the Carabao Cup when Manchester United visit the Amex Stadium on Wednesday evening. Potter has changed his entire starting XI for victories over Portsmouth and Preston in the two previous rounds. Alexis Mac Allister, who scored against Pompey and North End, is available to feature after recovering from fatigue, while the likes of Dan Burn, Joel Veltman, Pascal Gross and Alireza Jahanbakhsh are likely to be given further opportunities to impress. Seagulls midfielder Yves Bissouma completes a three-match ban following his red card at Newcastle on September 20. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plans to again make several changes himself, saying his side was likely to look similar to the line-up that beat Luton 3-0 a week ago. Solskjaer made 10 changes for that match, bringing in the likes of Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and goalkeeper Dean Henderson, with Harry Maguire the only player to keep his place from the side that had played in the league. One player that will not be involved is Andreas Pereira, who is close to joining Lazio on loan for the rest of the season. Phil Jones is the only player currently sidelined for United.

  • Stephen Kenny challenges his players to do something special in Slovakia

    Either Bosnia and Herzegovina or Northern Ireland await the winners.

    29 Sep 2020, 15:50 CEST

    Stephen Kenny has challenged the Republic of Ireland to target two "extraordinary" results to win a place at the rescheduled Euro 2020 finals. Ireland head for Slovakia next Thursday evening for a one-off semi-final showdown which will pitch the winners into battle with either Bosnia and Herzegovina or Northern Ireland with a golden ticket at stake. The Republic made it to the finals of the tournament in both 2012 and 2016, but new manager Kenny admits it would be a significant achievement to maintain that run. He said: "The possibility of getting to the European Championships is unique, in Ireland in particular. It would be a unique occasion and they really want that. "They know that they will have to have an extraordinary sequence of results. We need two big away wins in order for that to happen, the first one against Slovakia. "I have been very impressed with Slovakia in the qualifying campaign, so we are going to have to do really, really well over there to get a result. "As a nation, we've not won an away game against a significant nation in quite a few years. It's something we have to do, something extraordinary, and rally around each other to produce a big performance in Slovakia."

    Kenny has named a 25-man party for the game in Bratislava, which is followed by Nations League fixtures against Wales in Dublin and Finland in Helsinki. The squad will meet up on Sunday – although 11 players are in action for their clubs that day and will therefore not be able to train fully on Monday, meaning they will have only one session to prepare together before flying to Slovakia. It will be the second time they have come together since Kenny replaced Mick McCarthy at the helm with the new manager keen to stamp his own mark on the team after a 1-1 Nations League draw in Bulgaria and a 1-0 home defeat by the Finns earlier this month. He made several big calls for those games, the most notable of which was to leave McCarthy's skipper Seamus Coleman on the bench as Tottenham new boy Matt Doherty got the nod at right-back, although Kenny insists he considers it a luxury to have such a decision to make.

    He said: "We will do what we feel is right for the game itself. Matt Doherty and Seamus Coleman are huge assets, and that's what we want. What anyone else thinks is irrelevant, that's how I view it. "Seamus has been a great captain for Ireland and a great player and has started the season well; Matt finished the season brilliantly with Wolves, scored quite a number of goals. "In the last games for us, he was in pre-season mode and I thought his best game for Tottenham was last weekend, he really looked back to himself. That bodes well." Kenny will hope his players are significantly sharper than they were earlier this month with the likes of Celtic defender Shane Duffy and Newcastle midfielder Jeff Hendrick in particular having got game-time under their belts after lengthy lay-offs. In addition, midfielder Jack Byrne has been handed a return to the international stage for the triple-header having impressed in Shamrock Rovers' Europa League outing against Italian giants AC Milan. Kenny said: "He is a very, very good player. He is different. He has a range of passes which is very interesting and very effective. He has good vision and is a talented midfielder player."

  • Preston’s Tom Barkhuizen sees ban reduced from three games to one after appeal

    The forward was sent off in the first half of Preston’s home defeat to Stoke on Saturday.

    29 Sep 2020, 15:31 CEST

    Preston forward Tom Barkhuizen has had his three-match suspension reduced to one game following an appeal. Barkhuizen was sent off in the 22nd minute of Preston's 1-0 home defeat to Stoke in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday. The 27-year-old appeared to have slipped as he went for the ball, making it look as though he intentionally went in with two feet on Stoke defender Morgan Fox. "The (Football Association) panel have dismissed the appeal, meaning that the Lilywhites' No.29 will serve a suspension for the tackle on Morgan Fox," read a statement on the Preston website. "However, they decided that the ban was excessive for the incident and have reduced the number of games that the player will miss from three to one, meaning that he will only miss the trip to face Thomas Frank's Brentford this weekend." Barkhuizen will now be available for the home game against Cardiff on October 18 after the international break.

  • Steve Clarke insists Scotland are well aware of importance of clash with Israel

    The national team boss named his 26-man squad for the crunch Euro 2020 play-off semi-final clash.

    29 Sep 2020, 15:21 CEST

    Steve Clarke insists his Scotland players are well aware of what is at stake against Israel on Thursday week. The national team boss named his 26-man squad for the crunch Euro 2020 play-off semi-final clash and the following Nations League matches against Slovakia and Czech Republic. All three games at Hampden Park next month will be played behind closed doors due to on-going Covid-19 crowd restriction but Clarke insists his players are keen to reach the final against either Serbia or Norway next month and then the first major finals since the 1998 World Cup in France. "You have to respect the magnitude of the game," said Clarke, whose side drew 1-1 with Israel at Hampden Park in their Nations League opener earlier in the month. "I spoke to the players before in previous camps, that they have the chance to make a little bit of history for their country.


    "The players are aware of the size of the game and what it means to the country and they are determined to make sure we put on a good show and make sure we are still involved come November. "The last game against them re-emphasised that they are a really good team with good attacking options. "It will come down to what it always comes down to – don't make mistakes and hope that someone can come up with something special for Scotland."

    Clarke was happy to see Sheffield United striker Oli McBurnie and Dundee United attacker Lawrence Shankland return from injuries, although disappointed to see Celtic's James Forrest miss out with an ankle complaint. Ryan Fraser was left out of Clarke's last squad due to the fact he was without a club at the time but returns having signed for Newcastle, while Hibernian defender Ryan Porteous is also included for the second time in the full squad as reward for an impressive start to the season at Easter Road. Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack was expected to miss this month's internationals with a calf injury sustained against Dundee United a fortnight ago but with Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard confirming he will return to training this week, he has also been handed a call-up.

    Clarke said: "It is good to have Lawrence back available, he came into the squad at the end of last year and did well for us. "He got his first goal against San Marino and I am sure he is looking forward to adding to that tally. "Ryan (Porteous) was in the squad in November and I thought he trained well with us. "He didn't get the chance to play but he comes into the squad this time on the back of a really good start for his club and I look forward to working with him again. "Obviously if he (Ryan Jack) is not fit to play for Rangers in the next two games it will be more difficult to come with the Scottish national team but I will give him every chance to be fit and available." The original play-off semi-final was scheduled for March in front of a packed Hampden only for it to fall foul of the coronavirus. Clarke said: "I don't think there is too much point going on and on about the crowds. "We just have to accept that and make sure that no matter who is in the stadium, the supporters will be somewhere safe, socially distancing and we can give them something to smile about at the end of the night. "For the original tie in March, we sold 50,000 tickets, there was going to be a big interest and we knew they would be there to help us. They won't be there in body but they will be there in spirit."

  • Gosden full of hope ahead of Enable’s date with destiny

    Superstar mare ‘ready to put in a big, bold effort’ in Arc.

    29 Sep 2020, 15:11 CEST

    John Gosden is confident Enable is "ready to put in a big, bold effort" as she bids again for a historic third Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp. The brilliant mare suffered just the second of only three career defeats in 18 starts 12 months ago when she was agonisingly caught deep in the final furlong by Waldgeist on rain-softened ground, as she sought an unprecedented hat-trick in the great race. After owner Khalid Abdullah chose to keep her in training as a six-year-old for another shot at the Arc, Gosden has been clear throughout that this Sunday is the date that matters above all for her and jockey Frankie Dettori. He is mindful of tough opposition, headed by Aidan O'Brien's dual Classic-winning filly Love and including his own three-time Ascot Gold Cup hero Stradivarius, in a field of 15 following Tuesday's forfeit stage – with the possibility of supplementary entries on Wednesday. Gosden is satisfied, however, that he has Enable in the right shape – having begun her campaign by finishing second to Ghaiyyath in the Eclipse at Sandown and then winning Ascot's King George and the September Stakes at Kempton, as she did en route to Paris two years ago. Assessing her season so far, he said on Paddy Power's podcast From The Horse's Mouth: "I think she's found it more difficult – she's older and bigger and heavier, and getting to race fitness. "I went gently at it – it was a struggle, though, and when I ran her in the Eclipse, I was very clear with everyone beforehand that the race would put her right. "She went there at 80 per cent, and the race did put her right – she went and won the King George. "She's been in good form since – she had a nice breeze round in the September Stakes, nothing too taxing for her because the Arc has been the target all year." Unlike two years ago, there have been no hitches since then. Gosden added: "She's happy and well in herself – Frankie breezed her on the round gallop on the Limekilns on Saturday and he was very pleased with her. "It's still a few days to go – and she's ready to put in a big, bold effort. "We're perfectly aware how tough the race is, and we're perfectly aware how tough the opposition is." With age, Gosden acknowledges, the task facing Enable is a different one. "I think she was overwhelmingly the best as a three-year-old, getting the weight in her first Arc," he said. "The second Arc, she struggled, had an injury, came back (and) won in the September Stakes, then got sick and then went to the Arc. "She'd missed some work but she hung in there – and last year she ran a blinder. "I think we all went a stride (too) quick and all moved a little bit soon for the conditions – let's hope we can go one better this year. "But we're totally aware that (with) the favourite (Love, who has drifted to second-favourite behind Enable) getting all the weight, it's a mighty task giving that weight. "Having said that, we benefited from it when we were a three-year-old winning the Arc, so we can't exactly complain now!" Gosden's unbeaten 2019 St Leger winner Logician has been taken out of the Arc, and will instead head to Ascot's Group Two Cumberland Lodge Stakes on Saturday. Super stayer Stradivarius remains on course to test himself against Europe's best middle-distance horses, though, having pleased his trainer when runner-up in the Prix Foy. Encouraged by that performance, Gosden said: "I thought for a horse who's a Gold Cup winner, he showed great acceleration in the straight – going down by half a neck to Anthony Van Dyck, who seems to have found his form again. "I thought it was a very good trial from both of them – and the horses behind, the French horses, could never get to them." Stradivarius has since been in fine form at home, and Gosden is no longer concerned about the prospect of soft ground. "I'm very happy with him – he worked well on Saturday, with Rab Havlin on board, and he's all ready to go," he said. "We've always thought of him as a top-of-the-ground horse, but he did somewhat surprise us in the Ascot Gold Cup this year. "So we slightly revised our viewpoint – it seems that he handles most ground." Conditions have counted against a European adventure for Logician at this stage, however. Gosden said: "I think the way the ground's gone, at the moment I don't want to put him through that kind of test right now, so he will run in the Cumberland Lodge at Ascot on Saturday."

  • ‘It can’t be that difficult’ – Graham Potter wants handball law refined swiftly

    Spot-kicks were awarded against Albion, Crystal Palace and Tottenham during a weekend of controversy in the Premier League.

    29 Sep 2020, 15:01 CEST

    Brighton boss Graham Potter has called for the handball rules to be refined as he feels football is in danger of becoming unrecognisable following a succession of contentious decisions. Debatable spot-kicks were awarded against the Seagulls, Crystal Palace and Tottenham during a weekend of controversy in the Premier League. Albion suffered an agonising 3-2 defeat to Manchester United after Neal Maupay was penalised for brushing the ball with an outstretched arm, allowing Bruno Fernandes to score the winner with the last kick of the game 10 minutes into added time.

    While Potter had no complaints about the decision against his team, he felt Palace defender Joel Ward and Spurs' Eric Dier were harshly treated and is baffled by the current interpretation of the laws. "We've been playing football since the mid-19th century and we're still trying to get to terms with a rule of handball in the box," Potter said. "In fairness, Neal's is a handball. I think the other ones are slightly different. "It can't be that difficult to get the game so that people recognise it. And the sooner that it is, the better. "We've seen incidents over the weekend where everybody can see it's not anything deliberate, it's completely innocuous and it's strange as a football person to see. "We need to think about that and refine it."

    Each of the three penalties, which were awarded following VAR intervention, impacted the final results, with Palace losing 2-1 to Everton and Tottenham being held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle. Potter is the latest figure within the game to question the situation, joining the likes of Eagles boss Roy Hodgson, Magpies manager Steve Bruce and pundits Gary Lineker and Jamie Carragher. He is preparing for a swift rematch against United, who return to the Amex Stadium in the last 16 of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening.

    Potter once again plans to make wholesale changes after altering his entire starting XI for the two previous rounds. He want his players to swiftly forget about Saturday's heartbreaking defeat but admits progressing to the cup quarter-finals at the expense of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side would be scant consolation for the disappointment. "I'm not sure about that. It was one of those experiences that I'm not sure I want to have too many of," he said. "It's gone now. It is what it is. We have to move forward. "We want to try and progress, we want to try and do well in the game. But we know we're playing against a good opponent so it's going to be tough but we'll try. "It's one of the biggest clubs in the world, they've got a very deep squad, full of international top players and they will be fighting to play, whoever they select. "We have to understand that and take the challenge on."

  • Newport striker Padraig Among hoping for recall against Newcastle

    The Irishman has scored against Leicester, Manchester City, Middlesbrough and Tottenham in recent seasons.

    29 Sep 2020, 14:56 CEST

    Newport striker Padraig Among is hoping for a recall in the Carabao Cup fourth-round clash against Newcastle at Rodney Parade. Amond has made a habit of scoring vital cup goals in recent seasons with strikes against Leicester, Manchester City, Middlesbrough and Tottenham. The Irishman scored for the first time this season during the third-round victory over Watford last week, but he was dropped to the bench for Saturday's Sky Bet League Two win at Bolton. Amond could partner five-goal Tristan Abrahams in attack, as Exiles boss Michael Flynn considers a return for the versatile Scot Bennett. Newcastle midfielder Matt Ritchie will miss the game as he prepares to undergo surgery on his injured shoulder.

    The 31-year-old suffered a dislocation during Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw at Tottenham and is expected to be sidelined for several months. Head coach Steve Bruce is likely to use the depth of his squad once again having made 10 changes for the 1-0 second-round win over Blackburn and nine for last week's 7-0 demolition of Morecambe. Allan Saint-Maximin (ankle) and Fabian Schar (shoulder) are back in training, while fellow defender Paul Dummett (tendon) is closing in on a return, but keeper Martin Dubravka (ankle), defender Ciaran Clark (thigh), midfielder Matty Longstaff (also thigh) and striker Dwight Gayle (knee) are still out.

  • AFC Wimbledon pencil in Plough Lane return for November 3

    The original Wimbledon club played at the ground for 80 years.

    29 Sep 2020, 14:38 CEST

    AFC Wimbledon have announced plans to make their long-awaited move to Plough Lane for the visit of Doncaster on November 3. The Dons have made returning to the site, where the original Wimbledon club spent 80 years, a goal since their foundation in 2002, with the finish line now in sight. In a statement on the club's website, chief executive Joe Palmer said: "If all goes to plan, the Doncaster game will mark a real milestone. Not only will we be opening the doors on our brand new home, we will also be witnessing the start of a brand new era for our club."

    The club left their former home at Kingsmeadow at the end of last season, and have been using QPR's Loftus Road so far this campaign while the finishing touches are put to the new Plough Lane stadium. The November 3 date is subject to the stadium receiving a safety certificate after hosting a test event. Both that test event and the Doncaster match itself are to be held behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic. Palmer added: "While all this is fantastic news and November 3 promises to be a momentous occasion for everyone, it looks highly likely there will be one major ingredient missing when Glyn (Hodges) leads his team out for that first game. "If anybody deserves to be there that night it is, of course, you. We had hoped that at least some – if not all – fans would be allowed back into stadiums by October but, as you know by now, the government has currently abandoned those plans. "There have even been dark murmurings that we might not see fans at football until next March, although I can assure you there is a lot of activity going on behind the scenes. "Pressure is being continuously applied on behalf of Football League and National League clubs, with local MPs up and down the country lobbying the Government to ease Covid regulations. "While everyone's number one priority is safety, there is a powerful argument for a more pragmatic approach to live, open-air sport – and a real push to see fans back before Christmas."

  • Wycombe sign Andre Burley, Andron Georgiou, Malachi Linton and Anis Mehmeti

    The Chairboys have launched a ‘B Team’ programme.

    29 Sep 2020, 14:35 CEST

    Wycombe have signed four "potential hidden gems" and expect that the quartet will push for first-team places in the future. Andre Burley, Andron Georgiou, Malachi Linton and Anis Mehmeti have joined the Chairboys following the launch of the Sky Bet Championship club's 'B Team' programme. "It's a big step for the club, bringing in these potential hidden gems who have not quite worked out elsewhere but we believe have what it takes to kick on and provide real competition for places in the first team further down the track," manager Gareth Ainsworth told Wycombe's website. "Expanding the squad by bringing in these four lads is a testament to how far the club has some in the past few years, and also the vision and support of (owner) Rob Couhig who has backed us to continue to take things in the right direction and develop more young players who will hopefully go on to achieve success for themselves and for the club." Defender or midfielder Burley, 21, was previously with Reading and winger Georgiou, 20, made a handful of senior appearances for Stevenage. Former Ipswich youngster Linton, 19, arrives from Lowestoft and Albania Under-19 international Mehmeti left Norwich's academy last season.

  • Egan all set for Mishriff’s Champion Stakes mission

    Young jockey set to be back on board at Ascot.

    29 Sep 2020, 14:34 CEST

    David Egan is looking forward to renewing his partnership with Mishriff in next month's Qipco Champion Stakes – after missing the colt's two big wins in France this year. Egan, 21, had to sit out the French Derby because of travel restrictions brought on by Covid-19, and then picked up an untimely suspension before John Gosden's colt followed up in the Prix Guillaume D'Ornano at Deauville. The Champion Stakes is the highlight of what will be the 10th Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot, and Egan is just thrilled to be involved as he seeks a first Group One. "I'm retained by Prince Faisal (owner), and so I want his horses to do as well as they can, whether I'm the one riding them or not," he said, reflecting on Mishriff's French adventures without him. "I was over the moon watching Mishriff win the French Derby, thinking I'd be able to ride him next time, and then it was just unfortunate I couldn't get back on him at Deauville. But I've had some good days on him, and hopefully there will be many more." Egan was the third jockey to ride Mishriff in public, but the first to do so to victory. He added: "I rode Mishriff for the first time when he won by 10 lengths at Nottingham last year, and then I was on him again when he was a good second in the Saudi Derby – when he made up a lot of ground in the straight after being a bit slow out of the gates. "When we went to Newmarket in June most people seemed to be expecting his stable-mate Waldkonig to win, but Mishriff showed he was still improving by winning really well. "He's gone on improving since, and it's been great to see. It's a privilege to ride him. "He's so straightforward and he really tries for you. He's got a very low head carriage and he just eats up the ground. He's gone on good going, he's gone on bottomless ground and he's gone on dirt, so he's very genuine and versatile."

  • Meade looks to Cornwallis outing for Method after Newmarket disappointment

    Slipped saddle meant previously-unbeaten two-year-old lost all chance in Middle Park.

    29 Sep 2020, 13:59 CEST

    Method could run in the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes on October 9, having lost all chance in the Middle Park last weekend when his saddle slipped. Unbeaten in the first two runs of his career, Method was strongly fancied to figure prominently in the Juddmonte-sponsored Group One on the Rowley Mile. However, his race was over almost as soon as the stalls opened when Frankie Dettori's saddle slipped forwards meaning he had very little control from on top. "What can you say?" said Meade. "Frankie wanted to take him down early and then get him in the stalls early with the aim of them dropping him in, but he jumped sharply and the saddle slipped. There's not much more we can say about it. I was extremely disappointed. "We'd thought of taking him to France, but it would mean using a different jockey so we might go to the Cornwallis over five furlongs. "Obviously that's not what he's been running over, but I'll look at his sectionals – not from the Middle Park, obviously! "It was a bad day all round. We'd missed everything else purposefully for the Middle Park and then that happens. "I don't think five is his ideal trip, but he wouldn't have a penalty and he needs to run somewhere."

  • Shamrock midfielder Jack Byrne handed Republic call-up for Slovakia play-off

    Ireland face the Slovakians in Bratislava on October 8.

    29 Sep 2020, 13:42 CEST

    Shamrock Rovers midfielder Jack Byrne has been called into the Republic of Ireland squad for next month' Euro 2020 play-off semi-final in Slovakia. The Rovers playmaker and Blackburn defender Derrick Williams have been added to the party which contested this month's Nations League fixtures against Bulgaria and Finland. Striker Troy Parrott, who is on loan at Millwall, missed those games with a thigh problem and has not been included this time around as he battles an ankle injury suffered during his debut for the Lions. Burnley midfielder Robbie Brady and Bristol City counterpart Callum O'Dowda are also included in Stephen Kenny's 25-man party despite sitting out games for their clubs in recent weeks.

    Ireland face the Slovakians in Bratislava on October 8 knowing only victory there will keep their Euro 2020 finals hopes alive with the winners of the tie between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Northern Ireland awaiting the victors. Kenny's men then return to Dublin for a Nations League clash with Wales on October 11 before meeting the Finns once again in Helsinki three days later. The Republic currently sit in third place in League B 4 after Shane Duffy's last gasp equaliser snatched a 1-1 draw in Bulgaria before a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Finland earlier this month.

    Squad: Darren Randolph (West Ham), Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Mark Travers (Bournemouth), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Tottenham), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Darragh Lenihan (Blackburn), Shane Duffy (Celtic, on loan from Brighton), John Egan (Sheffield United), Derrick Williams (Blackburn), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), James McCarthy (Crystal Palace), Harry Arter (Nottingham Forest), Jeff Hendrick (Newcastle), Alan Browne (Preston), Jayson Molumby (Brighton), Jack Byrne (Shamrock Rovers), Robbie Brady (Burnley), Callum Robinson (West Brom), Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City), James McClean (Stoke), Aaron Connolly (Brighton), David McGoldrick (Sheffield United), Adam Idah (Norwich), Shane Long (Southampton).

  • Scott Parker disappointed after owner Tony Khan apologises for performance

    Owner Khan took to twitter straight after the full-time whistle to apologise for the team’s display.

    29 Sep 2020, 13:41 CEST

    Fulham manager Scott Parker was "disappointed" owner Tony Khan had apologised for his side's performance in a tweet following Monday's 3-0 home defeat to Aston Villa. Owner Khan took to twitter straight after the full-time whistle to apologise for the team's display and also promised to bring in reinforcements before the transfer window comes to a close on October 5.

    Parker said: "I think obviously I said it last night. People have the platform. You own a football club, you can decide how you want to communicate or send a message out. "It's not something I agree with, it's not helpful from that sense but like I said that's down to the owner and how he sees it. "There's one thing that I'm disappointed with and that's how he's actually apologising for the performance and that is something that I don't agree with and he shouldn't have. "The performance last night was a good performance which was a group of players who have done everything they can, worked tirelessly from the first minute to the 95. "At 3-0 down they were still trying work as much as they can to try and get us back in the game and for that I don't agree with him. "I'll be the first to have an issue with my squad and my team and my players if I felt that that was something which needed to be criticised. So I have an issue with that and obviously that's something which I don't agree with. "The other bits, it is what it is and I think we understand our challenges this year and the rest is noise."

    Parker admitted following the game his side needed to address their shortcomings, but said he did not know whether any players would be joining in the coming days. "Honestly I don't know," the Cottagers manager said. "It's got to the point where I just want to focus on the team really. "The transfer window as been open for some time and I can't control that. I can't control who we're going to get and who we're not going to get. I can give an opinion. "We've now only a few days left of it and we are where we are. So I don't want to lose sight of what I have to do with the team and lose energy elsewhere. We're in the market of course we are, but we was in the market a few days after Wembley when we went into this league. "The people in those areas are trying their hardest and hopefully we can get some help."

  • Tottenham goalkeeping coach Nuno Santos receives one-match ban after sending off

    The Portuguese was shown a red card after overzealous protests following Newcastle’s controversial penalty equaliser.

    29 Sep 2020, 13:41 CEST

    Tottenham goalkeeping coach Nuno Santos has been hit with a one-match ban and an GBP 8,000 fine for confronting referee Peter Bankes after Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw with Newcastle. Santos was sent off for his overzealous protests following Newcastle's controversial penalty equaliser at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Portuguese accepted the charge of using abusive or insulting language towards a match official, the Football Association has announced. "Tottenham Hotspur FC's goalkeeper coach, Nuno Santos, has been suspended from the touchline for one match and fined GBP 8,000 after admitting a charge for a breach of FA Rule E3 and accepting a standard penalty," read an FA statement. "At full-time of the Premier League fixture against Newcastle United FC on Sunday he used abusive and/or insulting language towards a match official on the field of play and/or his behaviour amounted to improper conduct."

    A Video Assistant Referee (VAR) intervention awarded Newcastle a last-gasp penalty in north London on Sunday, owing to a heavily-questioned handball decision against Eric Dier. Spurs had been heading for victory thanks to Lucas Moura's first Premier League goal since December, but Callum Wilson buried the spot-kick to level the match. Santos was among a clutch of players to vociferously protest the decision, that proved just the latest in a spate of controversial handball calls following the recent rule changes. Spurs boss Jose Mourinho refused to criticise the officials or the new handball interpretations in light of the draw, determined not to receive any personal fine. International Football Association Board (IFAB) rule amendments mean that if the ball hits the hand of a player who has made their body "unnaturally bigger" then a foul will be awarded. The switch has led to a swathe of disputed penalties at the start of the new Premier League campaign, with Manchester United claiming a similar spot-kick at Brighton and Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson left infuriated too. Speaking after Sunday's match, Mourinho said: "I don't want to comment, I just don't want to. My team played a fantastic match, I cannot ask more from the players."

  • Newcastle midfielder Matt Ritchie set for lengthy spell on the sidelines

    The 31-year-old was injured at Tottenham on Sunday.

    29 Sep 2020, 13:12 CEST

    Newcastle midfielder Matt Ritchie is facing up to months on the sidelines as he prepares to undergo surgery on a dislocated shoulder. Ritchie, 31, was hurt during the second half of Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw at Tottenham, and tests have revealed the damage is similar to that suffered by defender Fabian Schar against the same opponents in July, an injury which has kept him out ever since.

    Bruce said: "He will probably have an operation today – I know he's seeing the surgeon today – or certainly in the next 24, 48 hours. "It's a very similar injury to Fab Schar, disruption of the joint, so how unfortunate are we? To have one is bad enough, but to have two in a matter of weeks is incredible. "It looks as if he'll need an operation and it will be performed very shortly." Given Schar's lengthy recovery period – he is back in training after nine weeks – Ritchie is likely to sit out a significant number of games. Asked how long he could be missing, Bruce added: "Fabian is ahead of schedule and he's doing well, but obviously we've just got to be a bit careful. "The kid wants to join in and play, but we're obviously governed by doctors on that and we'll see how he is. But yes, we're looking at a lengthy lay-off. "We know how valuable he is around the training ground and what he is. He's got that little bit of leadership about him and with any good player, it's a miss."

    News of Ritchie's misfortune was confirmed on the eve of the Magpies' Carabao Cup fourth-round trip to League Two Newport. Bruce is again likely to field a much-changed side having done so against Blackburn in the second round and at Morecambe, where his under-studies romped to a 7-0 win, in the last. However, he is expecting a sterner test this time around with the Welshmen having beaten Leicester and drawn with Premier League counterparts Tottenham and embarrassed Sky Bet Championship sides Leeds, Middlesbrough, Swansea and Watford in the domestic cup competitions in recent seasons. Bruce said: "Over the last few years, they have been the team in the lower divisions who have produced the shock, whether it's in the FA Cup or the Carabao Cup. "I've watched their performance at the weekend and the one before when they beat Watford – they're a good side."

  • Liverpool 3 - 1 Arsenal - Match Report

    Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and Diogo Jota all scored for the hosts.

    29 Sep 2020, 13:11 CEST

    Liverpool ended Arsenal’s 100 per cent start to the season while extending their own with a 3-1 victory at Anfield.

    Having lost their last two matches to Mikel Arteta’s side – one on penalties in the Community Shield – there was barely a time over the 90 minutes when the defending champions looked like allowing it to happen a third time.

    Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and Diogo Jota, on his home debut, all scored after Alexandre Lacazette had been gifted the opener after a Robertson error.

    Match Highlights

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    If the France international’s finish from Arsenal’s first shot on target in the 25th minute was not that convincing his performance in two second-half one-on-ones – one latterly flagged offside – with Alisson Becker was less so and he rightly covered his face with his shirt when taking his seat on the bench after being substituted 15 minutes from time.

    Had he been sharper Liverpool may have had more of a problem but they dominated for long periods – having 21 shots to their opponents four – and with better finishing of their own would have been comfortable long before Jota made the game safe in the 88th minute.

    The last eight Anfield meetings in all competitions had produced 44 goals so there was an expectation there would be plenty of entertainment for the viewing public at home.

    Arsenal, with David Luiz restored to a back three and two holding midfielders in Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka, seemed in no mood to take the game to their hosts as Premier League newcomers Leeds had so thrillingly done on the opening weekend of the season.

    Instead they sat back, rarely engaging as Liverpool played out from the defence, in the hope of hitting on the break.

    It was a misguided ploy, especially to afford so much time and space to Trent Alexander-Arnold, who when on his game is seemingly guaranteed to provide a goal such is the quality of his crossing.

    One early cross had Luiz nodding Virgil Van Dijk’s goalbound header behind to help out beaten goalkeeper Bernd Leno, who did well to parry Mane’s first-time shot from another Alexander-Arnold delivery.

    Bizarrely Arsenal did not – or could not – stop the England international, who also had a low drive deflected onto the crossbar by Hector Bellerin, and neither did they try to exploit the space he left in behind.

    On the one occasion they did it brought their somewhat fortuitous goal as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cross was over-hit to Robertson but the full-back’s mis-control played the ball back towards his goal and into the path of Lacazette.

    The France international was equally unconvincing with his mis-kicked shot – the Gunners’ first of the game – but he succeeded in bouncing it into the floor and agonisingly over the outstretched arm of Alisson.

    However, if Arteta was hoping to hold on to that lead his plan was dashed after 147 seconds as Leno parried Mohamed Salah’s shot and Mane pounced for the equaliser.

    Seven minutes later Liverpool were ahead as yet another Alexander-Arnold cross found its target in the penalty area, this time his opposite full-back Robertson making amends for his earlier error by controlling on his chest and poking home.

    Arsenal offered a little more threat after the break, while doing slightly better in nullifying Alexander-Arnold, but they were as poor in front of goal as they had been out of possession.

    Either side of Leno saving Van Dijk’s low drive Lacazette was twice clean through, although first time he was eventually offside, but his lack of conviction meant on both occasions he failed to beat Alisson.

    Springing Liverpool’s high line looked Arsenal’s best chance of success – especially when substitutes Eddie Nketiah and Nicolas Pepe arrived – and that provided one or two nervy moments for the hosts when they did.

    But Liverpool’s new signing Jota, also a late substitute, finally put the match to bed two minutes from time when he seized a weak Luiz header, controlling and firing low into the Kop net having earlier wasted a better chance with only Leno to beat.

  • Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba lands UEFA President’s Award

    UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has hailed the former Ivory Coast international as a “pioneer”.

    29 Sep 2020, 13:06 CEST

    Didier Drogba has been selected to receive the 2020 UEFA President's Award. The former Chelsea and Ivory Coast striker was hailed as a "pioneer" by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin. Drogba fired Chelsea's winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League final shoot-out, steering the Blues to four Premier League titles and as many FA Cup triumphs across nine years in two Stamford Bridge spells. The 42-year-old recently failed in a bid for the Ivory Coast presidency, but has a thriving charitable foundation and is now aiming to move into football administration. "Didier is a hero to millions of football fans for his achievements throughout his glittering playing career," said Ceferin. "He is a leader – a pioneer. I will remember him as a player for his skill, strength and intelligence, but above all for his insatiable appetite to succeed – a trait which is just as present in his desire to help others off the field of play. "The UEFA Champions League has become the greatest club competition in the world, partly due to our clubs being able to attract the best players from around the world. "We have been lucky to have seen the likes of George Weah, Samuel Eto'o and Didier Drogba play at the very highest level. They in turn, have blazed a trail for African footballers and have given inspiration to a whole new generation to look to follow in their footsteps."

    Drogba will collect his award at Thursday's Champions League draw in Geneva. He racked up 164 goals in 381 appearances in a trophy-laden Chelsea career, while also helping his country to three World Cup tournaments. "To have won a Champions League, to have played and scored for my country at a World Cup – these are things I could only have dreamed of when I was a child," said Drogba. "There are so many children in the developing world who have the potential to become not only footballers, but also doctors, teachers and engineers. "This is why it is so important to help and support our youngsters to let them fulfil their dreams and aspirations." Balancing his charity work with studying for UEFA's executive master for international players (MIP) programme, Drogba continued: "I had been thinking, 'how can I keep having the same impact without playing, without using my physique, my legs and my heart?' "The best way was to use my brain and think about how to stay in football and go into administration. "That is why I am here – to get all the tools and skills needed to improve not only as a person but as an ambitious man who wants to contribute to the development of football."

  • Oli McBurnie back in Scotland squad after drawing ire for recent withdrawal

    The 24-year-old withdrew for recent clashes against Israel and Czech Republic, only to feature for his club in a pre-season friendly.

    29 Sep 2020, 13:00 CEST

    Oli McBurnie will get the chance to re-assert his commitment to Scotland after being named in Steve Clarke's squad for next month's triple-header. The Sheffield United striker faced criticism from sections of the Tartan Army after withdrawing injured from the group for recent clashes with Israel and the Czech Republic, only to then feature for the Blades in a pre-season friendly. Clarke and the player himself both insisted that he would have turned out for the Scots had he been fully fit and he will hope to now get his chance having been named in the 26-man selection for the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Israel and Nations League clashes against Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Ryan Fraser was left out of Clarke's last squad due to the fact he was without a club at the time but now returns having signed for Newcastle, while Hibernian defender Ryan Porteous is also included for the second time in the full group as reward for an impressive start to the season at Easter Road.

    Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack was expected to miss next month's internationals with a calf injury sustained against Dundee United a fortnight ago but, with Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard confirming he will return to training this week, he has also been handed a call-up alongside Lawrence Shankland, who withdrew last time because of an ankle injury. James Forrest misses out with bone bruising sustained during Celtic's Europa League win over Riga in midweek, while Inter Miami's Lewis Morgan and Sporting Kansas City's Johnny Russell are understood to have been stood down because of complications involved in quarantining on their return from the United States.

  • Denmark call up Pione Sisto for first time in two years ahead of England clash

    The 25-year-old winger recently returned to former club Midtjylland from Celta Vigo.

    29 Sep 2020, 12:48 CEST

    Pione Sisto has earned his first Denmark call-up in two years. The 25-year-old winger recently returned to former club Midtjylland from Celta Vigo, and has now forced his way into new Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand's plans. Denmark will face England at Wembley on Wednesday, October 14 in the Nations League return clash, following the goalless draw in Copenhagen on September 8. Philip Billing could make his senior Denmark debut in the three-match window, with the Bournemouth midfielder one of four potential new caps. "Pione Sisto is back on the team after a two-year break," read a Denmark statement. "Jonas Wind and Andreas Skov Olsen, who normally play for the Under-21s national team, are also among Hjulmand's players for the matches. "In total the squad contains four possible debutants in the form of Jonas Wind, Andreas Skov Olsen, Philip Billing and Jesper Hansen." Denmark will host the Faroe Islands on Wednesday, October 7 before travelling to Iceland four days later. The trip to Wembley will complete a hectic schedule heavily affected by the coronavirus impact.

  • Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti set to make changes for West Ham Carabao Cup tie

    The Toffees have won every game so far this season.

    29 Sep 2020, 12:30 CEST

    Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti is expected to rest several players for his side's home Carabao Cup tie against West Ham. Ancelotti, who has revealed no new injury problems after Saturday's win at Crystal Palace, made six changes for his side's victory at Fleetwood in the previous round. Winger Theo Walcott is hoping to return to the squad after missing out altogether at the weekend and midfielder Fabian Delph could start as he continues his comeback from a succession of muscle injuries. Central defenders Mason Holgate (toe) and Jarrad Branthwaite (ankle) remain unavailable. West Ham will be without Ryan Fredericks for Wednesday's clash at Goodison Park after he sustained a hamstring injury in last weekend's win over Wolves.

    The right-back was forced off towards the end of Sunday's 4-0 victory and the club confirmed on Monday he has a low-grade muscle issue. Defender Issa Diop and midfielder Josh Cullen both remain absent after they tested positive for coronavirus last week along with manager David Moyes. All three are in self-isolation, but Hammers boss Moyes will still pick the team and take charge remotely, with back-up goalkeeper Darren Randolph set to be one of several changes to the XI which started against Wolves.

  • Grounds for concern – but Battaash still on track for Abbaye

    Brilliant sprinter facing testing conditions at ParisLongchamp.

    29 Sep 2020, 12:28 CEST

    Battaash remains an intended runner in the Prix de l'Abbaye as things stand, despite the prospect of very soft ground at ParisLongchamp. Charlie Hills' stable star could finish only 14th behind Glass Slippers in the race 12 months ago, in a defeat many put down to the soft ground. The six-year-old gelding has been imperious this season, winning at Royal Ascot for the first time in the King's Stand, collecting a fourth King George Stakes at Goodwood and claiming a second Nunthorpe at York. His only success on ground described officially as soft came in 2017 – when the Prix de l'Abbaye was run at Chantilly during Longchamp's redevelopment. "We haven't got as far as saying he is 100 per cent a definite runner, but from what I've been told it's going to be very soft," said Angus Gold, owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's racing manager. "Who is that going to suit? I don't know. At the moment he runs, but if it turns into an absolute quagmire I can't tell you – but at the moment he runs. "Everyone has their own theories about it. I don't personally think it was the ground that beat him last year, he was just never at the races so I wouldn't say that. "We know he handles easy ground, it was soft when he won the Abbaye. If it was to get really bad – I can't tell you."