Today in the Premier League

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The defender Armand Traoré hopes a change in position, from left-back to left-wing, increases his chances of breaking into the Gunners first team as he struggles to displace Gaël Clichy. "The positioning is similar," Traoré, 18, said of the potential new role. "And I'll get to attack more."

Aston Villa

Curtis Davies is pleased with the progress of his recovery from an achilles operation. The defender, 23, hopes to get back to full fitness for next season. "Things are going well," he said. "I'm getting more of a range of movement in my foot. I'm stepping up progress with the bike and weights."

Birmingham City

Blues manager Alex McLeish is confident midfielder Sebastian Larsson will recover from a medial ligament injury in time for Sunday's derby match at Aston Villa. "We're hoping the extra day will help him recover," McLeish said. "If the pain isn't restricting him he'll be all right to play."

Blackburn Rovers

Chairman John Williams has maintained that Jason Robers will not leave Ewood Park in the summer. The 30-year-old Grenadian forward has attracted interest from Bolton and Derby. "As far as I'm concerned, he will be with us at the start of next season," Williams said. "He's not for sale."

Bolton Wanderers

Manager Gary Megson said his players were "full of belief" ahead of Saturday's crucial visit to Middlesbrough. "The hard work and endeavour has been evident," Megson said. "There's a good feeling about the place and everyone's up for it." Megson could be boosted by the return of Danny Guthrie and Heidar Helguson for the match.


Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard will both miss tonight's trip to Everton. Drogba continues to struggle with a knee injury while Frank Lampard misses out with family concerns. Petr Cech [face] will feature as he continues his recovery from injury.

Probable team (4-4-2): Cech; Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, A Cole; Essien, Makelele, Ballack; J Cole, Anelka, Kalou.

Derby County

The Rams have signed the Australian midfielder Ruben Zadkovich on a two-year contract, following a successful trial after the 21-year-old left Sydney FC. "A number of clubs have been interested in him," manager Paul Jewell said. "We wanted to make sure we didn't miss out on a fantastic talent."


Midfielder Mikel Arteta may miss tonight's visit of Chelsea as he continues to recover from a groin injury. Leon Osman [ankle] is also struggling so Tony Hibbert and Manuel Fernandes could come in.

Probable team (4-4-2): Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines; Neville, Carsley, Fernandes, Pienaar; Yakubu, Johnson.


The midfielder Jimmy Bullard has called on his team-mates to maintain their focus ahead of Saturday's visit by Liverpool. "We can't get carried away with beating Reading," the 29-year-old said of last weekend's 2-0 victory. "Because we've now got to do the same thing against Liverpool."


Former Reds defender Mark Lawrenson feels the boardroom problems at the club may force manager Rafael Benitez to leave. "If they don't sort the mess out I'd have to think he would not be [in charge next year]," he said. "The problems could give him an excuse to leave."

Manchester City

Kasper Schmeichel admits his future may lie away from Eastlands. "I spoke to Sven [Goran Eriksson, the manager] last week and explained that I want to play first-team football," Schmeichel said. "He can't promise me that, so my future might not be at City."

manchester United

The Real Madrid sporting director, Predrag Mijatovic, believes the La Liga club's chances of signing the Old Trafford midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo are "impossible". "We need to be realistic," Mijatovic said of the in-form Portuguese international. "His would be a very difficult signing."


Former Boro' defender Colin Cooper said he has not been surprised at the progression of David Wheater this year. "His personna is very relaxed," Cooper said. "Something clicked in the last 18 months – he's grown up as a player and as a person and we're seeing the benefits."

Newcastle United

Kevin Keegan has praised the recent performances of Habib Beye and Obafemi Martins. "Habib has been outstanding in recent weeks and his energy and enthusiasm is unbelievable," the manager said. "Then we've got Oba, who is a total one-off and gives us something no one else does."


Richard Hughes feels the club's defensive record has been complemented by the arrival of Jermain Defoe. "If we keep clean sheets we'll give ourselves a chance of finishing fifth, because we've got goalscorers," he said. "Jermain is the best scorer I've played with; given chances, he's going to score."


Defender Nicky Shorey said he will delay contract talks until the end of the season while he looks to help the Royals preserve their top-flight status. "We'll talk about my future in the summer," the England international said. "We just have to concentrate on the next four games."


Manager Roy Keane admits he shies away from a "hands-on" approach with his players. "We've done it once or twice," he said. "But I'm not one for having one-to-ones in my office and nice little cuddles. I'm sure I'll continue to do that. I'm not a great one for sitting down and having long chats."

Tottenham Hotspur

Robbie Keane feels captain Ledley King will benefit from sitting out the remainder of the season as he rests a knee injury. "The time is right for Ledley to take a step back," the Republic of Ireland intenational said, "to make sure he is leading us out on a regular basis next season."

West Ham United

The midfielder Hayden Mullins has insisted that the Hammers have everything to play for over the remaining four games of the campaign. "We don't want the season to peter out," the 29-year-old said. "We don't want Tottenham to go above us and nor do the supporters, we know what is at stake."

Wigan Athletic

Latics chairman Dave Whelan has pledged financial backing to manager Steve Bruce after the 1-1 draw at Chelsea this week looked to have secured the club's safety. "He is going to get the squad how he wants it," Whelan said. "I think there will be a big shake up. We will need more in the middle of the field and we need another striker."