Today in the Premier League

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The defender Havard Nordtveit believes he is ready to step into the Gunners first-team squad during the pre-season. "It's up to me to show them what I have," the 17-year-old Norwegian said. "I will keep trying to do everything in training and if I am picked I will be very pleased. We will see."

Aston Villa

Striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has praised the influence manager Martin O'Neill has had on his game this season. "A big thing Martin gives to the players is self-belief," the 21-year-old striker said. "When we go out now we believe – on our day – that we have the ability to get a result against anyone."

Birmingham City

Midfielder Sebastian Larsson could be available for the visit of Liverpool tomorrow after recovering from the knee injury he sustained against Everton earlier this month. "We are optimistic about his chances of being fit for the game," manager Alex McLeish confirmed.

Blackburn Rovers

Manager Mark Hughes feels his team's display during the 1-1 draw with Manchester United last week "set the standard" for the rest of the season. "We know how hard we have to run and how hard we have to play to get results at this level," he said. "That will help us in the games we have left."

Bolton Wanderers

The manager Gary Megson believes Birmingham should be seen as "favourites" to stay up, despite the Blues sitting below Wanderers in the table. "One of the things they've got is a huge, partisan crowd," he said. "I would say that Birmingham are probably favourites to get out of this because of the two [remaining] home games."


Slobodan Rajkovic and Alcides could remain at PSV Eindhoven next season as the Dutch side look to have their loans from Chelsea extended. The pair have made 34 league appearances between them this campaign as PSV retained the Eredivisie title. "We really want to keep both players," PSV technical manager Stan Valckx said.

Derby County

Chris Hutchings is expected to be announced as the new assistant to manager Paul Jewell today following the departure of Stan Ternent to Huddersfield Town. Hutchings has worked with Jewell at both Bradford and Wigan, taking over at the JJB when Jewell left the club last May.


David Moyes has assured defender Leighton Baines that he has a future at the club. "At times this season, we have struggled with the stature of the team," Moyes said. "It has been unfortunate that Leighton has been the one to suffer. Leighton will get into the team much more in the future."


In yesterday's Independent we reported that the club would have to pay Leeds United £1.5m in the event of the striker David Healy scoring five league goals, as part of a clause in the deal that brought the player to the club. We would like to make it clear that the correct figure is £20,000.


The defender Fabio Aurelio is set to miss the remainder of the season after tearing an abductor muscle during the 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Tuesday. "It usually takes a minimum of three weeks to recover," manager Rafa Benitez said. "It will be very difficult for Fabio to play again this season."

Manchester City

Manager Sven Goran Eriksson feels the Brazilian midfielder Elano will offer more to the side next season. "He is the player in our side with fantasy," Eriksson said. "Like the other players we signed this season, Elano will be better with this season under his belt."

Manchester United

Potential transfer target Philipp Lahm is to see out his contract at Bayern Munich, according to Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer. "I think he will play for us another year and then leave to join a club like Barcelona or Manchester United," Beckenbauer said of the Germany defender.


Mark Schwarzer appears likely to leave the Riverside in the summer, with Bayern Munich monitoring his situation. The Australian goalkeeper's contract runs out at the end of the campaign. "It would be nice to finish my career in the Bundesliga," the 35-year-old admitted.

Newcastle United

Michael Owen has said he hopes the club can continue their recent good form into the next campaign. "In a way we want this season to continue because we're on a great run," the 28-year-old England striker said. "There is a real buzz and anticipation around the place for next season."


Coach Joe Jordan admits Blackburn will provide a tough challenge on Sunday. "They thoroughly deserved their draw with Manchester United last week," Jordan said. "They are competitive, have players who can create things and a striker [Roque Santa Cruz] who has scored 21 goals."


Manager Steve Coppell admits he may have to alter his team selection for the remaining three matches. "I would love to have one team that has done well and stick with it," he said. "But I haven't so I am going to tinker. It is horses for courses and the players understand that."


Defender Danny Higginbotham said the players are eager to make up for the 2-0 defeat at Newcastle on Sunday by beating neighbours Middlesbrough tomorrow. "It was hugely disappointing," he said. "We want to rectify it. The stakes are high and we desperately want that win."

Tottenham Hotspur

Paul Robinson, Pascal Chimbonda and Jonathan Woodgate could all return for the visit of Bolton tomorrow after resuming training. Robinson has missed the last three games due an ankle injury while Woodgate [ankle] and Chimbonda [calf] missed last weekend's 1-1 draw at Wigan.

West Ham United

Nolberto Solano insists he will not allow sentimentality to affect his performance when former club Newcastle visit Upton Park tomorrow. "I have a lot of friends [there] but we need to win to help us finish in a good position," he said. "It is nothing personal. I had a great relationship with the fans and had a great time there."

Wigan Athletic

The Latics hope to make Marcus Bent's loan move from Charlton permanent during the summer. "There were preliminary discussions with his agent last Christmas," manager Steve Bruce said. "If and when we get safe, we can sit down and see what the way forward is. There's already a fee agreed if we want to take him, about £1m."