Today in the Premier League

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Robin van Persie [thigh] and Johan Djourou [groin] will both miss tomorrow's visit of Newcastle and have been joined on the sidelines by Denilson, who could be out for a month with a hamstring injury. Gael Clichy is available after a groin strain and Philippe Senderos could also return.

Aston Villa

Martin O'Neill admits defender Olof Mellberg's protracted transfer to Juventus may have an affect on the Swede's performance for the Villa Park club. "I need to speak to him to assess his frame of mind," O'Neill said. "In terms of whether he feels he can still play for us without being distracted."

Birmingham City

Loan signing Mauro Zarate has revealed he rejected two other Premier League clubs prior to opting for a move to the Midlands. "There were other clubs interested just before I signed here," he said. "From England there was Tottenham and Newcastle, but I am happy with my choice."

Blackburn Rovers

The Rovers' captain Ryan Nelsen has been advised to rest after a scan revealed that the New Zealander defender's latest hamstring injury was caused by a bone projection aggravating the tendon. "I think we're probably talking about a couple of weeks," chairman John Williams said.

Bolton Wanderers

Finland international Jussi Jaaskelainen has been told he will not be offered a new contract before the end of the season. "He's been told that [Bolton] aren't in a position to negotiate anything before they know which league they're in," the goalkeeper's agent Peter Harrison said. Jaaskelainen's current contract expires this summer.


The Dinamo Zagreb chairman Zravko Mamic has rejected the Blues' £3.5m bid to have first option on midfielder Luka Modric when he becomes available for transfer, Spanish press report. The club could now turn their attentions towards a summer move for Palermo's Brazilian-born striker Amauri, who is valued at £18.6m.

Derby County

Paul Jewell has labelled the delay in Roy Carroll's transfer to the club as "embarrassing". Carroll was due to sign yesterday but Rangers have halted the move as they are yet to sign a replacement. "We still hope to get it done, but it's frustrating," Jewell said. "We thought we had word he could leave."


Phil Neville believes the club can learn from their Carling Cup exit to Chelsea this week. "Let's not get too despondent, it's about how you bounce back," the England international said. "We are still in the Uefa Cup and doing well in the league, so let's make this the beginning of a great end to the season."


Roy Hodgson believes new signing Eddie Johnson will improve the Cottagers' fortunes. "I am delighted that he has joined us," the manager said. "At 6ft 1in Eddie has the presence that will complement the other forwards and he has the ability to offer us another dimension to our attacking play."


The reserve-team centre-back Jack Hobbs has moved to Championship side Scunthorpe United on loan until the end of the season. With centre-back Martin Skrtel newly arrived from Zenit St Petersburg, manager Rafael Benitez can afford to loan the 19-year-old to the Iron to allow him more first-team experience.

Manchester City

Striker Valeri Bojinov could miss the remainder of the season despite returning to training after a knee injury. "I am inclined to think he will not be fit until the summer," assistant manager Hans Backe said. "It takes months to come back, even after returning to training."

Manchester United

Netherlands international Edwin van der Sar believes goalkeepers in the Premier League require more protection from referees. "You get bullied at corners a lot," the 37-year-old said. "Forwards try to bang into you or stop you from going to get the ball. You have to protect yourself and use your body."


Gareth Southgate said he accepts his players will attract interest from other clubs. Stewart Downing and Jonathan Woodgate have both been linked with moves in recent weeks. "It doesn't annoy me," he said. "In the end, we have the decisions as to whether we keep or sell players."

Newcastle United

Kevin Keegan has expressed his admiration for defender Steven Taylor. "I think he has got leadership qualities in the making," the manager said. "Against Bolton I thought Taylor was tremendous. I have been very impressed with him every time I have seen him play for a long time now."


Harry Redknapp believes Pedro Mendes can take advantage of the absence of African Nations Cup midfielders Sulley Muntari, Papa Bouba Diop and John Utaka. "Pedro's a class player," the manager said of the midfielder. "He just needed a run of games to get his fitness and confidence back."


Director of Football Nicky Hammond said Leroy Lita still has a future with the club, despite the player wanting to leave. "I'm sure other clubs will look at the situation," Hammond said. "But the manager has said all along he needs four forwards for healthy competition."


Rade Prica said he was looking forward to beginning his Stadium of Light career. "To play in the Premier League is a dream come true," the forward said. "Sunderland is a great club and I am looking forward to it. I hope the experience of playing in different countries will help me here."

Tottenham Hotspur

Michael Dawson admits the supporters played a big part in the 5-1 win over Arsenal this week. "The fans were fantastic – we couldn't have asked for more," he said. "It definitely helped us. I kept hearing how long it had been since we'd beaten Arsenal, so what a time to do it!"

West Ham United

Defender Danny Gabbidon said he could sympathise with countryman James Collins' recent injury setback. Collins was stretchered off with a knee injury during the Hammer's reserve win over Portsmouth on Wednesday. "I feel for James because he was playing well," Gabbidon said. "Hopefully he can recover quickly."

Wigan Athletic

Manager Steve Bruce is monitoring the Motherwell striker Ross McCormack. The 21-year-old has held talks with Middlesbrough, but has made it clear he wishes to see out his contract at Fir Park, which expires this summer. "He is one who is interesting us," Bruce said. "We're just having a look at him. He's one for the future really."