Football in brief: Heskey's groin injury is not 'long term'
Saturday 26 December 2009
Aston Villa: Martin O'Neill has been handed an injury boost after scans revealed that that is no long-term damage to Emile Heskey's groin.
The injury forced the England striker off during Villa's 1-0 win over Stoke on 19 December but O'Neill is now hopeful Heskey will be available for at least one of their two festive games. O'Neill's side face a serious test of their top-four credentials over the next five days with the visit to Arsenal on Sunday followed by Tuesday's home game against Liverpool and the manager knows the importance of player rotation. "It is a big period for us and I am quite sure we will utilise the players in that period," he said. "I am sure it will be difficult for the team to keep going in the manner they have been doing. In any case, I bet one or two things will be enforced on us with injuries and suspensions. It can happen, in fact it will happen.
Then we will see how we cope." O'Neill's comments offer hope to his fringe players with Fabian Delph, Steve Sidwell, Nigel Reo-Coker and John Carew singled out. "They have proved themselves in the past and I am hopeful everyone will step up to the mark," O'Neill said.
Chimbonda prepared to handle festive boos
Blackburn Rovers: Pascal Chimbonda spent his Christmas Day preparing to be the most hated man in the north-west as he gets set to face former club Wigan at the DW Stadium. The French full-back infuriated Wigan by handing in a transfer request on the final day of his first season with the club, stating that he wanted to play for a bigger team. "Everytime I go back to Wigan they boo me. Maybe for them that's normal but for me it's not," he said. "When the opportunity came to go to a club on a different level I couldn't refuse it. The fans may be upset but if you are ambitious and want to play at the highest level you have to take these opportunities." Three years after leaving Wigan, his Rovers side make the trip to the DW Stadium knowing defeat would see Wigan jump above them in the table.
Moyes rallies Toffees to turn season around
Everton: David Moyes has challenged his team to kick-start a season that threatens to turn into a relegation battle should results not improve. Everton go into today's game at Sunderland just two points off the drop zone and Moyes is aware how important the festive period can be "Things can change very quickly over Christmas, with a couple of games in quick succession, and we want to make that happen," he said. "You will get someone making a push at the top. We have to make sure that is us because we are too near the trap-door for comfort at the moment." After a run of three defeats and three draws, now is the time to win. "I am frustrated with the results of late, " said Moyes. "We just need to get three points to go with the better displays."
Latest in Sport
Preston fan who appeared to snatch Jermaine Beckford's shirt from eight-year-old boy identified and says: 'the truth will come out'
England 'favourites' to host 2018 World Cup following Fifa arrests
Premier League 2015/16 kits: Confirmed and rumoured strips from Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others
Manchester United season player ratings: Grading Louis van Gaal's entire squad
Psychic penguins have made their pick for Arsenal vs Aston Villa in the FA Cup final...
- 2 'Don't blame all men for rape' campaign backfires spectacularly
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote