Sky step in to defend Premiership

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The Independent Football

The satellite broadcasters Sky have rallied behind the Premiership following criticism of the rescheduling of ITV's Saturday night highlights programme The Premiership.

Sky have the contract for broadcasting live Premiership matches and have backed the League following ITV's decision to move their highlights programme forward from a prime time 7pm slot on Saturday to 10.30pm.

"It is totally wrong for people to knock Premiership football simply because one programme has failed to work," said Sky Sport's Jonathan Sim.

"Attendances so far this season are up again, and so are the audiences for live games on Sky Sports – a 6.9 per cent improvement on last season.

"Plus, if you look at the total audience for all of ITV's show – two on a Saturday, plus Sundays and Mondays – it all adds up to a much bigger total audience on terrestrial television."

Sim also pointed to low audiences for Nationwide League games on the ITV Sport channel as a separate issue to the flagship programme The Premiership.

"There may be some problems with other competitions, but the interest in the Premiership at this time is as healthy as its ever been," he added.

Preston have completed the signing of the midfielder Eric Skora from the French side Nancy. The 20-year-old has been on trial at Deepdale and played for the reserve side as they defeated West Bromwich last week. Skora's effort has been sufficient to earn him a contract which runs for the rest of the season.

The midfielder has moved from the French Second Division side on a Bosman free transfer, and the Preston manager, David Moyes, believes that Skora has every chance of securing a long-term contract at the end of the season.

Moyes said: "I've been impressed by what he's done in training and in the game, and we are going to give him the chance to prove that he is worth a longer-term contract.

"We are pleased because the lad looks as if he has something about him.

"It may take him a bit of time to settle down and get used to the way we play, but we've been quietly impressed by what we've seen up to now."

Moyes added, "He's has good ability with both feet and is powerful in the air. He's got a lot of the attributes we've been looking for."