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The Sports Matrix: Thursday 10 May 2012

James Lawton

This question of whether Rio Ferdinand will deign to play with John Terry is an absurdity. What you do is get on with the job. Soldiers, firemen, surgeons, nurses, factory workers all do it. It is called professionalism. MORE

England seek Springbok effect

England’s upcoming tour to South Africa bears comparisons with that of the travelling party in 2000. As was the case so successfully back then, this year’s touring pack will attempt to lay solid foundations for an assault on the world title three years hence. MORE

Phelps plan sunder threat from Lochte

Michael Phelps’s attempts to become the most decorated Olympian of all time could be thwarted by compatriot Ryan Lochte. The 27-year-old outperformed Phelps at last year’s World Championships and is confident going into the US trials. MORE

Fantastic Falcao seals Atletico win

Atletico Madrid won the battle of Spain last night, easing to a 3-0 success over Athletic Bilbao in Bucharest to win the trophy for a second time in three years. Radamel Falcao struck twice in the first half before Diego sealed the win with a late third. MORE

British pair seek to make history

Luke Donald and Lee Westwood tee off together at the Players Championship today, each hoping to become the first Englishman to win the event in its 38-year history. The world’s Nos 2 and 3 are joined by American Bill Haas to make up their trio. MORE

Scudamore praises Man City owners

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has praised Manchester City’s owners for the way they run the club. “They bring quality,” he said. “They don’t leave a stone unturned and that has improved everybody; it means everyone ups their game.” MORE

Nadal adds voice to clay concerns

Rafa Nadal has echoed negative comments made by Novak Djokovic over the blue clay being used at the Madrid Masters. “The court is difficult; it’s very slippery,” the Spaniard said of the surface,  labelled “Smurf clay” by another rebellious player. MORE

Kean defends wife as Rovers implode

Blackburn manager Steve Kean has defended his wife’s relationship withVenky’s owner Anuradha Desai as the club’s season continues to unravel. Deputy chief executive Paul Hunt has seemingly been dismissed after the leaking of an email. MORE

West Indies remain under-strength

The West Indies remain short of a full squad, with just a week to go before the opening Test against England. Marlon Samuels joined from the Indian Premier League on Monday while Assad Fudadin made it yesterday, following a week of visa delays. MORE

Blackpool hang on to setup Wembley final with Hammers

Play-off specialists Blackpool moved to within 90 minutes of a return to the Premier League, holding off a spirited Birmingham City comeback to secure a 2-2 draw and a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Blackpool extended their aggregate lead on their stroke of half-time, Stephen Dobbie, squeezing under Colin Doyle. A fine Matt Phillips turn and finish further cemented Blackpool’s advantage shortly after the break, giving Chris Hughton’s side a mountain to climb.

Nikola Zigic slotted in to reduce the arrears with half an hour left and, when Curtis Davies headed in  on 73 minutes, the Blues sensed a chance of parity. But Ian Holloway’s side held on, securing their place in the final on 19 May, when they will take on West Ham, and a return to Wembley, where they won promotion two years ago.

Both sides were relegated from the top flight just 12 months ago. West Ham won both regular season meetings, winning 4-0 at Upton Park and 4-1 at Bloomfield Road. MORE

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