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The Sports Matrix: Friday 28 December 2012

Farce as rookie coach is set to take key role at Rovers

Judan Ali, a little-known non-League coach, is set to be handed a key role at Blackburn Rovers.

Ali – who was involved in a Bollywood football movie and was assistant manager of a London Sunday league side two years ago – will be appointed in a dual coaching role along with the former Aston Villa assistant manager Kevin McDonald.

Any manager will have to work with the pair, who will help take training this week. The Rovers hierarchy are in no hurry to replace Henning Berg, who was sacked yesterday after just 57 days as manager, in which he won only one game.

Berg, above, said: "It goes without saying that I am bitterly disappointed to have been relieved of my managerial duties at Ewood Park after just 57 days since my appointment.

"At this stage I would just like to thank the Blackburn Rovers fans for their incredible support during my time in charge. I have always enjoyed a fantastic relationship with them dating back to my playing days, where we shared some great memories." MORE

Ferguson escapes punishment

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will not face punishment for confronting referee Mike Dean at Old Trafford during United's win on Boxing Day, the Football Association announced yesterday, because Dean failed to mention the incident in his report. MORE

Chelsea consider move for Baines

Chelsea have joined Manchester United and Paris St-Germain as the leading clubs who are considering a move for the Everton and England left-back Leighton Baines, who is valued at around £15m. Baines has two years left on his existing deal at Everton after this season. MORE

Pardew calls Ba's bluff on transfer

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has warned Demba Ba that unless he signs a new deal he will be sold in the summer. "I won't let it run until the summer. I'll do something about it," Pardew said of the forward, who has a £7.5m release clause in his contract. MORE

Murray defeated by Tipsarevic

Andy Murray was yesterday defeated in straight sets by Janko Tipsarevic in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi. The world No 3 was left wanting as he fell to a 6-3, 6-4 beating by Tipsarevic on the opening day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. MORE

Clarke eclipses Ponting's record

Australia captain Michael Clarke surpassed Ricky Ponting as his country's most prolific Test runscorer in a calendar year by hitting 106 yesterday. The century, on day two of the second Test against Sri Lanka, was Clarke's fifth this year. MORE

McLeish appointed Forest manager

Alex McLeish was appointed Nottingham Forest's new manager last night. McLeish replaces Sean O'Driscoll only a day after his sacking, despite his team having beaten Leeds 4-2 just hours earlier, leaving Forest a point off the play-offs. MORE

Gibson and Cole reds rescinded

Everton and West Ham have both succeeded in their appeals against red cards given to Darron Gibson and Carlton Cole in last Saturday's league game at Upton Park. Cole is available for West Ham's game against Reading on Saturday. MORE

Beckham taking time to choose club

David Beckham is in no hurry to find a new team, as the former England captain mulls over "a number of serious proposals". A spokesman for Beckham said yesterday offers are "on the table from a host of clubs across the world". MORE

Tremlett aims to rise for Ashes

Chris Tremlett is recovering from successful surgery on his back and hopes to play a part in next summer's Ashes series. Tremlett said: "If I can get myself fit then I can give them another grilling." MORE

Cipriani's chance

Can Danny Cipriani, the former England fly-half, use this latest chance to rebuild his career? He has returned to Sale's XV tonight for the visit of Worcester to the City of Salford Stadium. MORE

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