The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 20 December 2011


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The Independent Online


Kean denies Venky's ultimatum

The two clubs down at the foot of the table meet tonight when Steve Kean's Blackburn Rovers host Owen Coyle's Bolton Wanderers, in a game which could provide the crucial final blow for the losing manager. Both under-pressure managers were surprisingly upbeat yesterday, Kean denying he had received an ultimatum from the club's owners, Venky's, that if he lost tonight he would be sacked. "They are obviously concerned, like we all are," he said. "But I have full backing from the owners and full backing in the transfer window." His opposite number, Coyle, however, also suggested that he has received assurances over his future from his club's owners, despite his team's performances on the pitch. "I have a terrific relationship with them and they know what I am putting in place at this football club," he said. MORE

Arsenal may move Boxing Day game

Arsenal yesterday became the first London club to signal that their home Boxing Day fixture was under threat from proposed industrial action by the Aslef union that will hit Tube services in the capital. The game could be postponed to the next day. MORE

PSG stay clear of Milan's Tevez talks

Paris St-Germain director of football Leonardo says PSG will not interfere with Milan's plans to sign Carlos Tevez from Manchester City: "I will not get in between the Rossoneri's affairs." Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has talks with City on Thursday.

Late Dikgacoi goal enough for Palace

After six Championship games without a victory, Crystal Palace made it two wins in a row last night when beating Birmingham City 1-0. Kagisho Dikgacoi headed in Darren Ambrose's cross for the only goal of the game six minutes from time. MORE

Silva: City united behind the scenes

Manchester City's David Silva has hailed the spirit at the club, despite reports of training ground clashes. "Everyone is going at it 100 per cent in training and stuff can happen," he said. "But we are united, and there is a great team spirit out on the field." MORE

Give Froch the break he deserves

Carl Froch needs a rest – any attempt to push him back in a world title fight against Lucian Bute, who is unbeaten, in Montreal in April in a crack at Bute's IBF super-middleweight title would be  a terrible move. MORE

Kent announce Harmison signing

Kent have signed all-rounder Ben Harmison after he was released from Durham, where he had spent seven years. The 25-year-old, who is the younger brother of former England Test bowler Steve, averages 34.66 with the ball and 26.1 with the bat. MORE

Uihlein to turn pro on European tour

Talented young American golfer Peter Uihlein, 22, yesterday announced that he is to base his career on the European, rather than PGA Tour. The decision was described by the agent of the former US Amateur champion as "a pioneering move". MORE

Hayley returns after Turner prize

Hayley Turner, who in July became the first female jockey to win a Group One prize outright when taking the July Cup on Dream Ahead, makes her return to racing at Kempton today following a broken ankle sustained at Bath in August. MORE

Farah to make Glasgow return

The first sight of Mo Farah in a Great Britain vest in 2012 will come in the International match in Glasgow on 28 January. He will test his speed over 1500m. "I really appreciate coming back to the UK to compete," he said. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

If an increasing number of football judges lean to the possibility that Lionel Messi may just be the best player we have ever seen, there is still a most compelling counter-argument. Could he carry Argentina to a World Cup? MORE