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The Sport Matrix: Tuesday 31 December 2013

Baines unlikely to make United window switch

Manchester United harbour doubts over their chances of signing Everton left-back Leighton Baines in next month’s transfer window. The 29-year-old has been linked with a reunion with former manager David Moyes since the summer, but Everton are unwilling to release their prized asset. Moyes is also doubtful over a move for Southampton’s Luke Shaw.

United host Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow night seeking to extend a run of six successive victories that has rekindled hopes of a successful Premier League title defence. MORE

When I shared the slopes with Schumi

As seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher remains in a serious condition in a French hospital following a skiing accident, i sportswriter Kevin Garside recalls time he spent with the ‘polite and approachable’ German on a Ferrari skiing week in the Dolomites. MORE

Murray happy with surgery recovery

Andy Murray is pleased with his return from back surgery after impressing in a doubles match in Doha yesterday. “Everything has gone well,” the Scot said as he continues his preparations for next month’s Australian Open. “I don’t feel like I’ve lost speed or strength.” MORE

Sunderland make window moves

Gus Poyet has made his first moves of the transfer window with a £2.5m bid for Brighton’s Liam Bridcutt, and has also signed Fiorentina defender Marcos Alonso on loan. Bridcutt, 24, played under Poyet at the Seagulls. Shaun Wright-Phillips, of QPR, could also move north. MORE

Anelka agrees not to repeat salute

West Bromwich striker Nicolas Anelka has agreed not to perform his “quenelle” goal celebration again after his club conceded the gesture caused offence. He denied the salute had anti-Semitic connotations after causing a storm by making it during Saturday’s draw at West Ham. MORE

Halfpenny ‘deal’ fuels Welsh crisis

Political meltdown is approaching in the Welsh game as regional sides hesitate to sign a participation agreement with their governing body. The mood darkened last night with reports that Leigh Halfpenny had agreed to move to Toulon.

Burns is relishing his underdog tag

Ricky Burns, the WBO lightweight champion, has admitted he has a point to prove when he defends his title against Terence Crawford in March. “We’re going to be doing things differently,” he said. “I like being the underdog.”

Flower committed to England role

England coach Andy Flower maintains that he is the right man to lead the side into a new era, despite their dire showing during the Ashes. “I still have confidence in my ability to lead this group in the right direction,” he said. MORE

Kallis signs off with series victory

Jacques Kallis brought down the curtain on his Test career by leading South Africa to a series win over India. “What a way to finish off,” he said after the hosts prevailed by 10 wickets in Durban to win 1-0. “It’s incredible. I couldn’t ask for a better exit.” MORE

Godolphin lose Piping Rock to colic

The Richard Hannon stable’s Classic contender Piping Rock died yesterday following an attack of colic. “We had great hopes. He is a terrible loss,” Simon Crisford, Godolphin’s racing manager, said of the Dubawi colt.

Ian Bell

I was as guilty as anyone for my dismissal in Melbourne. In the last five years I have prided myself on my ability to make runs under pressure, so to let the side down was particularly disappointing. MORE

Career Services

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