Sam Allardyce has been an “easy target” for the West Ham board, but will provide the attacking football to save his Upton Park future, according to Robert Green. Press Association “You look at Bolton when he was there, my old man’s a Bolton fan, and he would go and watch Jay Jay Okocha play, Youri Djorkaeff, Nicolas Anelka. “He gets these guys and he can get them to play: that’s what he can do. “Sam Allardyce will get the required job done at the time it’s required. “And I think his record speaks for itself. “I think because of the character he is, the larger than life person he is, and the manner in which he does things, with his confidence and demeanour, I think he’s an easy target in that respect.” QPR will chase just their second win of the season at West Ham as they continue their fight for a Premier League foothold. Green said the Loftus Road club boasts “a very different feel” from when he arrived from West Ham in 2012, only for boss Mark Hughes to sign Brazil stopper Julio Cesar just weeks later. The 12-cap England keeper admitted relishing his new duel with summer recruit Alex McCarthy, the England Under-21s cap who arrived from Reading. “It’s a very different feel and a very different scenario,” said Green. “It wasn’t Julio’s fault he signed, he came with the best intentions. “Nothing against him personally, but it was a difficult situation. Holding a grudge against someone doesn’t help though. “It’s different with Alex as he’s 10 years my junior. He has great talent, potential and current ability. “He’s a threat to my position and he’s keeping me on my mettle. “I want to play obviously, but I have to be on it and play well every week to keep my place. “I can understand the club having a goalkeeper at 34 and one at 24, there’s an obvious progression and change. “But having two goalkeepers, Julio was born in September and I was born in January, both internationals exactly the same age, that was a bit of a head-scratcher. “So it’s different in that respect.” West Ham’s board ordered the appointment of attack coach Teddy Sheringham and a raft of new recruits designed to expand the club’s on-field blueprint. Green believes Allardyce has been wrongly pigeon-holed as a long-ball specialist, and can spark the craved attacking revival in east London. “Their new players have gelled very well and very quickly,” said Green. “The manager is very confident is his own abilities, and he’s said, ‘if you want more attacking football, go and get me more attacking players’ and so it’s proved, they’ve shown what they can do. “It’s a difficult one for the owners: they want to appease the fans as everyone does. “Sometimes the club’s so big with such expectations that to do it on all fronts as well as get results can be a double-edged sword. “He’ll reel off the stats better than I will: never been relegated, always left a club in the top half of the division, I’ve heard them all as well! “You give him the players of the ilk they’ve had and they can play the attractive football that the owners desire, I’m sure. Former England goalkeeper Green will return to his old stomping ground when QPR take on West Ham at Upton Park on Sunday. The 34-year-old believes Allardyce has all the credentials to shrug off summer criticism from owners David Sullivan and David Gold and secure a fruitful tenure in east London.
“The Sunderland defender was dismissed in the game against Manchester United on Saturday 28 February 2015 for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity. Therefore, his one-match suspension has been withdrawn with immediate effect.” Poyet was understandably delighted to see common sense prevail ahead of a game which could have a major say in how the remainder of the club’s season pans out. He said: “I am very, very pleased. It’s the way that we all like to live, by the rules. Sometimes the rules are not very clear, but we try to understand the rules, like anyone else. “But this one was very clear, so I am pleased that everything finished well, so thanks to everybody, especially the club. They did a very good job in those hours over the weekend when you are supposed to be relaxing. “It’s good news as well. In a very important game tomorrow, we need Wes.” Sunderland head for Humberside without a win in four attempts in the Barclays Premier League and sitting uncomfortably just three points clear of the drop zone in 16th place. Poyet, who guided the Black Cats to a remarkable escape last season, has no intention of having to repeat those heroics this time around, and has challenged his players to make the most of the clash with the Tigers and the home game against struggling Aston Villa which follows it on March 14. He said: “It’s up to us. The next two games will mark what is going to happen at the end of the season, and it’s up to us to go and win both of them and then put some space between us and the bottom three. “You can’t always rely on the other results going for you. That’s not the way to look forward.” Press Association Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet fears video technology would make football “boring” despite seeing defender Wes Brown cleared of a red card offence. However, Poyet is not in favour of the introduction of replays in games, which might have spared his team from having to play the final 25 minutes at Old Trafford with only 10 men. He said: “Football is so nice because there are issues and there are ways of dealing with these situations, and we can comment and we can talk about it. “If football becomes mathematics, like everything is going to be perfection, I think it’s going to be a bit more boring, that’s my opinion. “Even then, there are going to be controversies somehow because I remember the Jozy Altidore penalty at Chelsea last year – I was listening to the television and the two pundits on TV were not agreeing after watching five replays, so how long are you going to delay a game? How many hours is a difficult game going to last? “Is that what we want, really? Me, no. Maybe I am a little bit old-fashioned. Goals are so important that it’s something that’s very nice now with the technology, but the rest, I would leave it like it is. “I know others want technology, but I am sure that if the technology goes against them five times in a row, they are not going to be very happy.” Confirmation of Brown’s successful appeal came from the Football Association minutes before Poyet conducted his pre-match press conference ahead of the vital trip to the KC Stadium. A statement read: “An independent regulatory commission has today upheld a claim of wrongful dismissal in relation to Wes Brown. A review of footage of the incident which saw the 35-year-old sent off for a challenge on striker Radamel Falcao at Manchester United on Saturday prompted an independent regulatory commission to overturn match referee Roger East’s decision on Monday afternoon, leaving Brown free to face Hull on Tuesday evening. Team-mate John O’Shea, whose intervention looked to have felled the United frontman, also escaped punishment.
Biggar’s right boot made it 24-0 and Connacht dug deep to avoid a further concession before the interval, getting their reward with an early second half penalty from Carty. Carty fired over his second penalty in the 49th minute with the Connacht pack finally building some momentum. They pressed from two lineout mauls in the Ospreys’ 22, the second one producing a power packed drive that earned flanker Masterson a well-taken try. Carty’s successful conversion from the left closed the gap to 11 points, the home crowd urging the province on as John Cooney, Robbie Henshaw and Fionn Carr came more into the game. The wind and rain of the final quarter saw the subdued Ospreys struggle for territory and Connacht, with retiring lock Michael Swift now on, kept pressing for scores. At one stage on a dramatic final day, Pat Lam’s charges were down to eighth in the table as Edinburgh edged ahead of Leinster at BT Murrayfield. But Leinster did Connacht a big favour by winning that game and Buckley bundled his way over from close range to give the westerners a further boost ahead of next week’s play-off trip to Kingsholm. The Ospreys missed out on home advantage in the Guinness PRO12 play-offs as they failed to score in the second half of their 24-20 win over Connacht. A bonus point try would have been enough to see the Welsh side finish in second spot above Munster, but they were unable to add to their three-try first half performance at the Sportsground. That means Steve Tandy’s men will have a return trip to Ireland when they visit Munster at Thomond Park in a mouth-watering semi-final next Saturday. Press Association Just as table toppers Glasgow did in Galway three weeks ago, the Ospreys gave Connacht a lesson in creating opportunities and finishing them in the opening 40 minutes as Dan Biggar, Ben John and Rhys Webb all touched down. However, with the wind behind them after the break, Connacht duly ate into their 24-0 deficit with Jack Carty kicking two penalties and Eoghan Masterson scoring a maul try. A last-minute seven-pointer from Denis Buckley earned the Irish province a deserved losing bonus point. Their efforts over the season saw them secure a best-ever finish of seventh which sets up a European Champions Cup qualification play-off away to Gloucester next Sunday. Determined to stay in the Champions Cup hunt, Connacht missed an early chance to break downfield as winger Matt Healy failed to hold onto Bundee Aki’s offload, and the Ospreys gradually took control. The visitors’ scrum set up a monster penalty chance for Biggar and he took it with aplomb, splitting the posts from just inside his half. Playing into the wind, Connacht struggled to make headway and they leaked the first try in the 15th minute when coughing up their own scrum ball. Number 8 Dan Baker’s well-timed pass unleashed the Ospreys midfield and Biggar sent John crashing through before taking the return pass to go in under the posts and convert. John turned try scorer 10 minutes later, Baker taking it up the field before Webb’s flat delivery sent the outside centre through two poor attempted tackles from Buckley and Tom McCartney. Biggar turned it into a seven-pointer. Eli Walker was next to threaten on a kick chase, Carty getting back to rescue the home side, but a classy break involving Dan Evans and Hanno Dirksen then laid on a try for the supporting Webb, who made a late trip to Galway following the birth of his second child yesterday.
Padraig Harrington will miss the US Open for the second successive year after a bogey on the 36th hole saw him fall out of a play-off in qualifying at Walton Heath. “At the end of last year I went from 50th on the Challenge Tour to having a win, a second place, and being on The European Tour and now this. I’m having an incredible time. I love the game of golf and at the moment it is being good to me. “I doubt there have been many one handed chippers at the US Open before. The rough might be a bit too deep to play one-handed, so I’ll have to assess it when I get there, but it is a problem I’m looking forward to have.” India’s Shiv Kapur, Swede Alex Noren, Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard and German Marcel Siem were the other qualifiers with Shane Lowry, Matteo Manassero and Nicolas Colsaerts among those to miss out. Meanwhile, Wen-Chong Liang, Masahiro Kawamura, Hiroyuki Fujita, Kurt Barnes and Baek Seuk-hyun all progressed from the qualifying tournament in Japan. Press Association A run of four birdies from the 13th to the 16th in the afternoon on the Old Course had put the three-time major winner five under and in position to enter a six-man play-off for the final four spots available. But he recorded a bogey five to miss out as South Africans Garth Mulroy, Thomas Aiken, Tjaart van der Walt and Australian Marcus Fraser qualified from the extra holes with Welshman Oliver Farr missing out. “It was disappointing to bogey the last,” Harrington said. “I nearly walked off after four holes this morning so I was surprised to have a chance at all. “It was nice to get a run going on the back nine. It’s one too many, so it is disappointing, especially after making a few birdies and getting inside the mark.” Two-time European Tour winner Alexander Levy will make his US Open debut at Chambers Bay next month after finishing top of the leaderboard at 11 under following a 66 on the Old Course and a 67 in the afternoon. “I’m really happy. I played really good golf for the two 18 holes,” he said. “I was positive and had a good attitude. “It’s nice to play the US Open. I was a little upset to slip out of the top 60 before Wentworth so it’s great to now get in. “It will be my first time in the US Open. I missed the Masters, so it will be great to play in another major.” Englishmen John Parry and Jason Palmer also qualified with the latter likely to get attention in the United States due to his unusual one-handed chipping style. “The chipping is incredibly unique but it has saved my career, because there is no way I’d be competing as a professional if I didn’t find the one-handed method,” he said.
The New Zealand defender only penned a new deal with the Upton Park club in March having long been linked with a move away. Former Hammers boss Sam Allardyce even went as far as to suggest Reid had been tapped up by another Premier League club but the 27-year-old is still at West Ham and will likely start Thursday’s Europa League second qualifying round tie against Birkirkara in Malta. Slaven Bilic’s side hold a slender 1-0 lead after James Tomkins scored a late winner in the first leg and, even though the Hammers face another two rounds just to reach the group stages if they can see off Birkirkara, Reid is enjoying playing in European competition. “Playing in Europe was one of the things I wanted to do and I felt I could achieve it with this club,” he said. “These first few rounds are tough games against teams we are not really used to, but we want to progress and reach the group stage, obviously. “I think we have shown by our dedication and training that we aim to do that and I am sure, come Thursday night, we will go out there and put in a professional performance.” With Bilic and his players away in Malta, West Ham completed the loan signing of Argentina youth international Manuel Lanzini and the former Besiktas coach revealed his seventh summer acquisition is someone he has been aware of for some time. “He’s a good player and we are happy that he joined us,” he said. “I watched him two years ago and I wanted to take him to Besiktas. But then it was very difficult. We were close but now the chance came that we could get him and of course he’s going to help us a lot. He’s going to add even more creativity in the crucial parts of the pitch. “I am confident and I’m hopeful that he can adapt. We’re going to see. He’s not very strong but he rides challenges, he doesn’t go down. So I hope he could be bingo for us. I am really hopeful and I think I have a feeling that he’s going to help us a lot.” The Croatian will be hoping to use Lanzini in later European fixtures but Birkirkara coach Giovanni Tedesco is planning to give the Hammers a stern test. “This is an easy match to prepare for because we are playing against a very good team and the motivation is high,” he said. “We are going to give it our best shot and the rest will take care of itself. We know we have to score a goal but it is not something we can just say and will happen on the pitch. This is something completely different.” Winston Reid insists he always knew he could play in Europe and remain a West Ham player. Press Association
Speaking on Sunday afternoon, McCullagh’s father, trainer Michael, said: ” They took the tube out of his lung yesterday, and he may get out (of hospital) on Tuesday. “He has 10 broken ribs, not seven, and a broken collarbone as well as the collapsed lung, but he’s able to walk around and is very much on the mend.” Press Association Niall McCullagh could leave hospital this week as he continues to recover from serious injuries suffered in a fall on the gallops. McCullagh, who won the Irish St Leger on Royal Diamond in 2012, suffered a collapsed lung with bruising, fractured ribs and a fractured collarbone when riding out for Frank Dunne. He is in Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, in Dublin
That followed the Dutchman’s angst after a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s in the first leg where Steven Caulker saw a goal ruled out for a foul in the build-up. Koeman said he was left disappointed by the officials, whom he felt missed ‘easy’ decisions across the tie and focused on them rather than criticising his own players. But his captain did not toe the party line and Fonte, who saw an early diving header cleared off the line, was quick to hold his hands up when asked for his reaction to Southampton’s exit. “We weren’t at our best and we weren’t good enough,” he said. “Credit to them, they stuck to their game plan and executed it well. We have ourselves to blame. We need to show our face, accept the mistakes and understand that there is another day tomorrow. “I feel sorry for the fans, but no-one is more disappointed than us. We worked hard last season to be in the Europa League and to be playing European football, but it didn’t happen. “I thought that we had more quality than them – and on a couple of different nights we could have easily beaten them, but the fact is that we didn’t so we can only blame ourselves for that.” Southampton will now refocus on their stuttering domestic form having taken two points from their opening three Premier League fixtures. Newly-promoted Norwich are the visitors to the south coast on Sunday and Fonte knows the Canaries will be hoping to take advantage of any European hangover and urged the fans to stay with the team. “We have a big challenge ahead on Sunday in the league,” he added. “The Premier League is hard and we need to move on. That’s our focus now. “We need to pick ourselves up. Obviously it’s hard, with this disappointment, to move on, but there’s no alternative. “When we go back to the training ground, it’s time to focus completely on getting the three points against Norwich. I just want to ask the supporters to be behind us like they always are because we need them more than ever. “We’re lacking a little bit of confidence so we need a little bit of a boost on Sunday from the St Mary’s crowd to make it a fortress like it was last year.” One positive for Koeman ahead of the visit of Norwich is the hope that both Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane will be fit to play some part after both missed the tie in Denmark. A 1-0 defeat to FC Midtjylland in Denmark on Thursday night was enough to send Saints packing out of the Europa League at the play-off stage, with former Celtic striker Morten Rasmussen scoring the only goal of the game. Southampton had a number of chances in the early stages but could not get an all-important away goal, with Koeman infuriated after the game as he felt his side were denied a clear second-half penalty. Jose Fonte insists Southampton’s players must accept responsibility for their European exit – even if manager Ronald Koeman preferred to point the finger at the officials. Press Association
Vincent Kompany seems set to return to action for Manchester City this weekend after playing close to an hour for Belgium on Tuesday. He played 58 minutes without apparent setback as Belgium won 3-1 to secure top spot in Group B and a seeding for next summer’s finals in France. Kompany then delivered a positive update on his condition ahead of City’s Barclays Premier League clash with Bournemouth on Saturday. He told Sky Sports News: “I feel great and I am glad I got to do it. I needed to be part of this. At the same time it’s going again now and I am just looking forward to the next games. “I play for my country and I am proud to do it. There are no small games. I have given everything I have, always, for City. I will carry on doing this and I will do the same for my country.” Kompany’s return, despite the previous reservations of Pellegrini, gives City some positive news after a difficult international break. Sergio Aguero, who scored five against Newcastle on his last City appearance, could be out for a month after suffering a hamstring injury playing for Argentina while David Silva injured his ankle on Spain duty. Left-back Aleksandar Kolarov also took a knock while away with Serbia. The full extent of their injuries will become clear after City have carried out assessments. These latest problems add to a number of issues City already had with Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri, Fabian Delph and Gael Clichy having also been sidelined. The influential City captain has missed his club’s last five games with a calf injury and was also declared unfit for international action by his club manager Manuel Pellegrini. But that did not stop him being called up and, after sitting out Saturday’s game in Andorra, the 29-year-old was deemed ready for action in his country’s final Euro 2016 qualifier against Israel in Brussels. Press Association
Shelvey said modestly: “It’s quite an easy pass to make. Daryl makes those forward runs all the time – he’s a very advanced full-back – and if he keeps making those runs, I’ll always try to find him.” Shelvey and Valencia came together off the ball seven minutes before the break with the striker going to ground, but McClaren later dismissed the clash as a bout of “handbags” and is expecting to hear no more about it. What might have been a much more comfortable afternoon took a twist when Chancel Mbemba left a back-pass woefully short to allow substitute Nikica Jelavic to reduce the deficit. Then, after Aleksandar Mitrovic passed up a series of opportunities to extend the lead, Rob Elliot had to produce a fine late save to deny Cheikhou Kouyate an equaliser. It proved to be a disappointing trip north for Hammers boss Slaven Bilic, who was mystified by his team’s first-half no-show. Even star man Dmitri Payet was unable to inspire the visitors on a rare off-day, but Bilic insisted they cannot rely on one man. He said: “Today, we didn’t create a lot, but we have scored many goals in the Premier League so far, we have created many chances in the Premier League. “Okay, like every club, we have one player who stands out in terms of you are expecting something special and it is Dmitri for us. “But it wasn’t the case that he was creating everything for us so far this season.” Saturday’s 2-1 home win over West Ham, which came four days after a hard-fought 3-3 draw with Manchester United at St James’ Park, lifted the Magpies out of the bottom three, for the time being at least, and created a new sense of optimism on Tyneside. That was in part due to the impact made by £12million debutant Shelvey, who injected fresh impetus into a team which had previously struggled going forward. The 23-year-old England international played a part in both his side’s goals, and although he was later involved in an unseemly spat with Hammers striker Enner Valencia, it was a day to remember. Shelvey told nufcTV: “It’s an easy place to come and play football, to be honest with you. The fans are behind you, there are some tremendous players in that dressing room. “It normally takes a little bit of time for players to settle, but I felt right at home. “The players were reading my passes very well and people were getting into position, so it was just easy. I thought it would be a lot harder than it has been this week, but it has been perfect. “It was a massive win. It’s been a great week for the club – it was a great point against Manchester United and we have followed it up with a massive win against West Ham. “It was a perfect performance, I think, in the first half. We started really well, pressed the ball and they rarely played out from the back. We showed real intent and got our two early goals.” It was Shelvey who paved the way for Ayoze Perez’s sixth-minute opener when his pass was expertly laid off by Georginio Wijnaldum for the former Tenerife frontman to curl an inch-perfect shot past keeper Adrian’s outstretched arm. But the raking cross-field ball from which full-back Daryl Janmaat set up Wijnaldum for his ninth goal of the season nine minutes later was even better and left head coach Steve McClaren purring. Jonjo Shelvey ended a “perfect” week on Tyneside with a priceless victory which breathed new life into Newcastle’s Barclays Premier League survival bid. Press Association
A Chicago-bound American Airlines flight from Miami was forced to make an emergency landing in Jacksonville Thursday afternoon due to a situation involving an uncooperative passenger.Flight 2796 left Miami International Airport at 10:45 a.m., only to be diverted to Jacksonville International Airport at 12:30 p.m.Airport authorities in Jacksonville confirmed the plane made an unplanned landing because of an “unruly passenger.”Another passenger told Miami Television station WPLG in an email that the man started yelling “God exists!” and ran towards the cockpit before flight attendants and an off-duty captain stopped him. However, he was able to free himself and began attacking a flight attendant.The FBI is investigating to determine whether charges will be filed.