The Big Issues: King crowns glory day with hands-off warning


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The Independent Football

There will be two Conference Premier teams in today's FA Cup fourth-round draw with Luton Town being joined by Macclesfield Town, who saw off Cardiff.

Matthew Barnes-Homer, a 26-year-old playing for his 15th club, scored twice in the final five minutes as Macclesfield shocked the leaders of the Championship. Macclesfield manager Steve King then issued a hands-off warning to any club interested in signing the striker, saying: "He is not for sale and we are in the process of a new contract for him because he's earned it."

Elsewhere, on third-round day, League One strugglers Oldham Athletic surprised Nottingham Forest but Hastings United's Cup run came to an end with a 4-1 defeat against Middlesbrough.

No pleasing some people

Fans of League One Crawley Town weren't happy when their side let slip a first-minute lead and lost 3-1 to Premier League Reading. Crawley's manager Richie Barker said: "Expectations are ridiculous. One day when I'm gone, they'll realise how well I've done."

Redknapp's Nelsen fear

Harry Redknapp admits Ryan Nelsen could leave Queens Park Rangers during the January transfer window. Nelsen, 35, has been linked with a coaching role at DC United and Redknapp said: "He has been offered a job in America and I think there is every chance he might want to go."

No Rio complaint

Rio Ferdinand has told police that he does not want to press charges against the Manchester City fan who threw a coin at him at last month. The Manchester United defender received a cut above his left eye after being struck by a coin at the Etihad Stadium. Police are still investigating the matter but have not yet identified the culprit.

January blues

Alan Pardew admits Newcastle United must strengthen in the transfer window to address the injury crisis St James' Park. Newcastle are only two points above the Premier League's relegation zone and, after their FA Cup defeat against Brighton, Pardew said: "We know we need to get some bigger players who can handle the situation of carrying a Newcastle jersey."

Comeback of the day

Tito Vilanova will take charge of Barcelona's La Liga game against Espanyol this evening, just two weeks after undergoing surgery to remove a tumour in his throat.

The 44-year-old returned to take training with the team on Wednesday but he was originally not expected to be back in the dugout until the middle of January.

Drogba to Italy?

Didier Drogba's representatives have denied that the former Chelsea striker is in talks with Juventus and Milan about a move to Italy. Drogba, 34, has been linked with a return to Europe during the January transfer window after reportedly failing to settle at Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua since leaving Stamford Bridge last summer.

Lescott stays

Joleon Lescott has ruled out leaving Manchester City during the January transfer window. Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers have been linked with the England defender, 30, but he says he has no desire to leave the Etihad Stadium. A statement released on Lescott's behalf by the player's spokesman read: "Joleon Lescott has ruled out the possibility of any loan move during the January transfer window. Despite speculation linking him with several Premier League clubs, Joleon has no desire to leave Manchester City.".

Warnock tunes in

Neil Warnock listened to Leeds United's 1-1 draw with Birmingham City on the radio but still had a big influence on his side earning a replay by ordering half-time changes from his sick bed. Warnock is suffering from a virus which has affected the club but kept in touch by phone with assistant Mick Jones and coach Ronnie Jepson.

Greek legend

Giorgios Karagounis earned Fulham a third-round replay with a stunning late equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Blackpool. The Greece captain was signed on a free in the summer and Fulham manager Martin Jol said: "He is not only a legend in his country, but he's a warrior for us. If you have seen him on YouTube, he probably did it eight or nine times before."