Today in the Premier League

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Reports in Italy have suggested that the Italian side Juventus are close to making a bid for midfielder Mathieu Flamini. The 23-year-old is out of contract in the summer and has yet to agree a new deal. "We are thinking about making an offer," Juve sporting director Alessio Secco confirmed.

Aston Villa

Ashley Young feels the club have a chance of finishing in fifth position. Villa currently lie seventh, six points behind Everton, whom they face later this month. "We never said we couldn't do it," the midfielder said. "Over the last two games you can see that everybody is playing with confidence."

Birmingham City

Alex McLeish said he was confident Mikael Forssell will recover from an ankle injury in time for Sunday's derby at Aston Villa. The striker was substituted at half-time during the 1-1 draw with Everton last week. "The physios are optimistic about his recovery," the manager said.

Blackburn Rovers

Striker Roque Santa Cruz believes Saturday's match at home to Manchester United will be like a "cup final" with Rovers currently lying four points from a potential European place. "The next game is very important," the 26-year-old said. "We are in need of points to get closer into Europe."

Bolton Wanderers

The manager Gary Megson remains hopeful of the club retaining their top-flight status. "The fact Fulham have come into the equation is a good thing," he said. "They've got Birmingham to play, which is a huge game. You look at it from a selfish point of view, but we've still got to get our own house in order and keep picking up these points."


The manager Avram Grant has dismissed reports linking striker Andrei Shevchenko with a summer return to Milan. The 31-year-old striker has repeatedly been linked with Milan in recent weeks as he struggles for form at Stamford Bridge. "We want to keep the same squad next year," Grant said. "I think Shevchenko will stay."

Derby County

Rams manager Paul Jewell said he will stand by goalkeeper Roy Carroll following the 6-0 home defeat to Aston Villa last Saturday. "Everything that could go wrong went wrong," Jewell said. "Roy has been terrific since he has been here. Everyone has bad days and everyone makes mistakes."


Goalkeeper Tim Howard said the players are still looking to overhaul Liverpool and finish in fourth place, despite the disappointing 1-1 draw at Birmingham last weekend. "We feel a little deflated," the American said. "[But] until we're mathematically out of the race for fourth, we won't concede it."


Goalkeeper Kasey Keller remains keen to extend his stay at Craven Cottage beyond the end of the season, when his current contract expires. "I've let the club know I would definitely be willing to sit down and talk about next year," the 38-year-old said. "Regardless of the situation that we are in."


Manager Rafael Benitez said his players will look to secure fourth place as soon as possible, starting at Fulham on Saturday. "If we can win we will be nearly there," the Spaniard said. "The Champions League is always a distraction, so I think it is important to win as soon as possible."

Manchester City

Manager Sven Goran Eriksson has praised the influence of Brazilian Elano following the midfielder's impressive performance at Sunderland last Saturday. "Elano's the player with imagination," Eriksson said. "Who can see things, play team-mates in and score goals."

Manchester United

Midfielder Michael Carrick said the club's patience proved crucial in overtaking Arsenal at the top of the league. "When we were behind them in the league we were not looking too far ahead," the England international said. "We were just concentrating on getting a good run of games ourselves."


Gareth Southgate has called on his players to maintain their recent impressive form and finish the season strongly. "We caused Tottenham problems," he said of the 1-1 draw last weekend. "We've got three home games and a humdinger of a derby to come and I want a big finish."

Newcastle United

Manager Kevin Keegan said he may name an unchanged team for the visit of Sunderland this Saturday after the Magpies continued their recent good form with a 0-0 draw at Portsmouth on Saturday. "We'll leave [the team] alone, and let the other players wait for the opportunity," Keegan said.


Fratton Park is to host a charity match tomorrow to raise money for the Rainbow Centre and the Tom Prince Cancer Trust. The game, which kicks off at 6pm, features an ex-pro side against a Denmead Select and will be refereed by Premier League official Rob Styles. Tickets cost £5.


The defender Liam Rosenior has called for "cool heads" as the Royals seek to avoid relegation. "We need to stay positive," the right-back said. "I was in this situation last season at Fulham. You have to stay cool and make the right decisions. If you do that, you'll win games."


Dean Whitehead said he took little pleasure from his goal in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday. "It was a nice finish," he said. "I was pleased with it, but it doesn't mean a lot now. There's still a lot of work to do. We need more points and want to get the job done as soon as possible."

Tottenham Hotspur

Defender Michael Dawson believes playing alongside Jonathan Woodgate can aid his international aspirations. "Woody's a great player and he's been fantastic since he arrived," the 24-year-old said. "I've been hoping to get my first cap for a while. All I can do is put in good performances."

West Ham United

Alan Curbishley said he was "sorry" Jack Collison's full Hammers debut, at Bolton on Saturday, ended after 50 minutes. "I feel sorry for Jack," the manager said. "I brought Jack in to express himself but we never got a chance. As soon as the goal went in, I had to change it. It was disappointing but he will get over it."

Wigan Athletic

The club has been linked with a move for the West Bromwich Albion midfielder Zoltan Gera. The highly-rated Hungarian international has long been rumoured to want a move from the Hawthorns and Latics manager Steve Bruce was said to have watched the 28-year-old during the Baggies 1-1 draw with Watford last weekend.