The Sports Matrix: Friday 02 December 2011



Bresnan optimistic after elbow surgery

England seamer Tim Bresnan has undergone surgery on his elbow. The England and Wales Cricket Board believes he will be ready for next month's series with Pakistan, the squad for which is announced next week. MORE

O'Neill to be given first refusal on job at Sunderland

The Sunderland manager's job is to be offered to Martin O'Neill ahead of rival Mark Hughes.

Within a day of sacking Steve Bruce, Sunderland have contacted both O'Neill (right) and Hughes, both of whom are out of work and have made positive noises. The Sunderland owner, Ellis Short, has preferred O'Neill on the advice of his former chairman Niall Quinn. But the Irishman's return to football after 16 months is largely dependent on the level of autonomy he would be granted, his appointing his own coaching staff and the transfer budget.

Carlos Queiroz, the former Manchester United assistant manager has applied for the job while Ronald Koeman is also thought to be interested. MORE

Capello adamant he will not stay

Reports that Fabio Capello is reconsidering plans to leave England after next summer's European Championship have been rebuffed by sources close to the Italian, despite Sir Trevor Brooking's suggestions to the contrary yesterday. MORE

Villas-Boas happy with job prospects

Andre Villas-Boas remains confident he will hang on to his job at Chelsea, despite five defeats in nine games and a tricky week in prospect. "I will keep my job," the manager said. "I am very confident. I was brought in for a three-year project." MORE

Westwood shares lead in Sun City

Lee Westwood and Charl Schwartzel share the lead after the opening round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa's Sun City, both hitting four-underpar 68s. "I played lovely," said Westwood. Luke Donald is on two-under par.

Nadal thrilled at Seville return

Rafael Nadal is excited at returning to Seville's Olympic Stadium this weekend for the Davis Cup final. "The 2004 final was one of the victories that I will always remember in my life," he said. "It was the most important victory of my career up until then." MORE

Northampton join Championship 1

Northampton, a traditional union-playing town, have been accepted into the semi-professional Championship 1 division for 2013. Owned by Northampton Town Football Club, they will use their Sixfields stadium. The league wants to elevate three more clubs. MORE

Fuimaono returns after Twitter ban

Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu will play for Gloucester against Newcastle tonight after a three-week ban for criticising Saracens' Owen Farrell on Twitter. "Eliota is a world-class player," said Gloucester coach Bryan Redpath. "He's keen to do his talking on the pitch." MORE


Fulham felled by late Janko winner

An 89th-minute winner from Marc Janko condemned Fulham to a 1-0 defeat at FC Twente and left them requiring victory at home to Odense in two weeks' time to be sure of qualification. Andy Johnson was dismissed for Martin Jol's side. MORE


Jones sends Stoke through to last 32

Stoke City confirmed their progress to the knock-out round last night thanks to Kenwyne Jones' late header. Stoke were 1-0 down at home to Dynamo Kiev after Matthew Upson's own goal, until Jones headed in Jermaine Pennant's cross. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Sunderland's enthusiasm for Martin O'Neill or Mark Hughes is no surprise. But whatever happened to the possibility of a young coach filled with the conviction that he could change the face of football, as Brian Clough (left) had? MORE