The Sport Matrix: Tuesday 10 February 2015


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Lambert asks for more of the same

Paul Lambert has called on his Aston Villa side to maintain their relative form as they travel to Hull tonight. Defeat to Chelsea last weekend came despite a much-improved performance, and the manager urged his players to keep up their efforts: “It’s a massive game. If we can take our form from Saturday into it then we’ll do well. I said to the lads after that they set a standard.”

Ireland’s big names back for France

Four British & Irish Lions may return to boost Ireland’s prospects in this weekend’s Six Nations match with France. Flanker Sean O’Brien is making good progress from a hamstring injury while Jonathan Sexton, Jamie Heaslip and Cian Healy could all come into consideration. Scrum-half Eoin Reddan and wing Dave Kearney are also available for the Dublin encounter.

Blatter and aide blamed by Uefa

A war of words between the sport’s European (Uefa) and world (Fifa) governing bodies escalated yesterday as the former attacked the latter, and its president Sepp Blatter, over allegations of misconduct. German newspaper reports claim an adviser to Blatter suggested lengthy improvements to an independent committee report in an attempt to paint the Swiss in more favourable light.

Cavendish’s Rio ambitions way off track

The British Cycling coach, Shane Sutton, believes time has probably run out for Mark Cavendish to return to the track for the 2016 Olympics.

Cavendish has been considering competing in the omnium in Rio de Janeiro, after focusung largely on road racing since riding in the Madison, now discontinued at Olympic level, in Beijing in 2008.

Changes to the format of the omnium were believed to make that event attractive for a possible track return, but opportunities are running out for the 29-year-old to acquire the necessary qualification points.

Sutton said: “I would say Cav is a no. But unfortunately I think it is the end of the road for Cav. I think he has made his decision not to entertain it. There is no cut-off date. The road ends when he can’t numerically qualify. But if he doesn’t put the points on the board, he can’t qualify.”

Amateur Sutton  in betting inquiry

Amateur John Sutton has been suspended pending the outcome of a hearing into unfamiliar betting patterns. Suspicions were aroused during a match with Jamie Burnett in Barnsley last September. The case will be heard at a formal hearing on a date and venue to be confirmed.