Emmanuel Adebayor believes the club can recover from their Champions League exit at Liverpool and defeat Manchester United this weekend. "Sunday will be another big game for us," the forward said. "It determines whether we still have something to play for or whether we can go on holiday."
Manager Martin O'Neill said that his side will play for fifth place while it is still mathematically possible. "I'm not giving fifth place up," he said. "But for us to finish fifth, we will have to win all of our five [remaining] games." Villa currently lie in seventh place, eight points adrift of fifth-placed Portsmouth.
Alex McLeish remains optimistic that he will be able to pick Olivier Kapo for Saturday's visit of Everton. The midfielder injured his hamstring during the 2-2 draw with Arsenal in February. "He has been training this week," the Blues manager said. "And looks on course to be available."
Defender Christopher Samba has admitted he has struggled to reach his impressive form of last season for Rovers this campaign. "It's my first really poor season," the 24-year-old said. "I have to work on my consistency a little bit more. It's not easy to keep up your performance in every game."
The manager Gary Megson has called upon Trotters supporters to get behind the team for Saturday's visit of West Ham United as Wanderers strive to retain their top-flight status. "The fans always have a big part to play," Megson said. "Sometimes they underestimate the effect they can have on a game."
Andrei Shevchenko is "very likely" to return to former club Milan, according to the Serie A club's president Silvio Berlusconi. The striker has struggled at Stamford Bridge this season, scoring just seven goals. "I want to bring him back to Milan," Berlusconi said. "And it is very likely I'll achieve it. It would be great for us if he came back."
The club have announced a partnership with Dutch side Utrecht. The link will allow coaches to compare set-ups and young players to be loaned between the sides. "There are positives for both clubs," Rams manager Paul Jewell said. "The idea is to exchange ideas. It is an education."
Toffees striker Victor Anichebe said he has benefited from working alongside fellow Nigerian Yakubu at Goodison Park. "Yak has helped me out a lot on the pitch," the 20-year-old said. "I watch the way he plays and I can relate to it. I learn things from him because he's a top striker."
Paul Stalteri maintains the Cottagers must concentrate on their own matches before they worry about the results of teams around them. "We're so far behind now the only thing to get us out of it is winning games," The defender, on loan from Tottenham, said. "Then we can look at other results."
The club have been linked with a move for the Dundee midfielder Kevin McDonald, although Dark Blues manager Alex Rae is reluctant to sell the highly-rated 19-year-old. "I don't think sitting in the reserves somewhere will help him," Rae said. "He's already good enough to play."
Valeri Bojinov could feature for the reserves in tonight's game with Liverpool as he continues his comeback from eight months on the sidelines with a ligament injury. "He will take part," the manager Sven Goran Eriksson confirmed. "I will bring him on for the last 30 minutes."
Gerard Pique's agent has denied reports suggesting the central defender will leave Old Trafford in the summer. The 21-year-old Spaniard has been linked with a return to former side Barcelona. "The rumours are not true," Arturo Canales said. "His focus is on United's next match."
Julio Arca believes team-mate Afonso Alves has a big part to play in the club's future following his first goals for the club against Manchester United last week. "He makes great runs and is so sharp," the Argentine defender said. "He will become a big asset to the team."
Chairman Chris Mort said the Magpies are looking to secure the future of striker Michael Owen. "He has got his contract this year and next year," Mort said. "But it makes sense to secure him for the long term. I know Kevin [Keegan] is fond of Michael so I hope we can sit down and do something."
Glen Johnson has praised his fellow defenders after they kept a 21st clean sheet of the season in the 1-0 win at West Ham on Tuesday. "We all work very well together," the right-back said. "Our back five is definitely up there with the best. When we take the lead we know how to close the game down."
Jimmy Kebe (ankle) could be close to a return to the first team although defender Brynjar Gunnarsson (groin) may be out for the remainder of the season. "Jimmy's in the final stages of his rehab," physio Jon Fearn said. Stephen Hunt is struggling with a minor hamstring injury.
Craig Gordon feels the Stadium of Light crowd could inspire the Black Cats to victory against Manchester City this weekend. "We are getting 45,000 when we are in the bottom half," he said. "The fans certainly won't let us slacken off. With their backing, we get we can make it four [wins] in a row."
Robbie Keane hopes to break his seasonal goal record of 22 against Middlesbrough on Saturday. "There's been a few landmarks this season," he said. "100 goals, 250 games, the Carling Cup win. I've really enjoyed it. I just need one more [goal] to beat last season – hopefully I'll do it."
West Ham United
The Hammers captain Lucas Neill and midfielder Mark Noble are doubts for the trip to Bolton on Saturday. Neill damaged an ankle during the 1-0 defeat to Portsmouth on Wednesday, while Noble remains troubled by a hamstring strain. Defender Matthew Upson (calf) could return after sitting out the last five games.
Manager Steve Bruce has called on his players to maintain their recent home form until the end of the season. "We managed to pick up wins against top 10 teams like Blackburn and West Ham, as well as taking a point from Arsenal," he said. "We are not safe yet. Another two victories at home would see us safely over the finishing line."Reuse content