Today in the Premier League

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Arsène Wenger said the club will not rush the return of striker Robin van Persie, despite the injury to Eduardo. "It is difficult to say [when he will return]," Wenger said. "I do not want to put any special pressure on him. We go step by step. But he should be back in training, very, very quickly now."

Aston Villa

Martin O'Neill has rubbished suggestions that tomorrow's opponents Arsenal will have one eye on next week's Champions League match with Milan. "I would love to say that take their eye off the ball, but it is simply not there," the manager said. "I don't see them taking it easy against us."

Birmingham City

Mikael Forssell feels the 2-2 draw with Arsenal last weekend can give the club the belief they can avoid relegation. "Hopefully the result last week can be a spark for us," he said ahead of the visit of Tottenham tomorrow. "We need more points at home and to keep this momentum going."

Blackburn Rovers

Morten Gamst Pedersen believes the club can maintain their recent impressive form at Newcastle when the meet tomorrow. Rovers have won three of the last four matches at St James' Park. "We've been playing good football the last few years up there," he said. "Hopefully we can do it again."

Bolton Wanderers

The manager Gary Megson intends to make use of the large playing staff at the Reebok as the club approach the "business end" of the season. "We are getting down to the wire now," he said. "There are 11 games to go and we are still involved in Europe. We've got some big games coming up where we'll have to rely on the squad."


Carlo Cudicini has attributed his willingness to remain at Stamford Bridge to his relationship with the supporters. "When I play I hear them behind me, chanting my name," the 34-year-old Italian said. "After nine years I feel shivers and a great feeling when I play." Cudicini has made just 17 league starts since the arrival of Petr Cech in 2004.

Derby County

Paul Jewell intends to make changes for the visit of Sunderland tomorrow afternoon following the poor display in the 2-0 defeat at Wigan last weekend. "Some players are very low on confidence," the Rams manager said. "Some are not in great form so we've got to try to shake it up."


Mikel Arteta said he wants to get back to "enjoying football" after receiving treatment on stomach and groin injuries in Spain this week. "It has been the same problem since October," the Spaniard said. "It really needs rest to get rid of it properly but I want to play and help the team."


Midfielder Clint Dempsey believes the unity at the club will see them remain in the Premier League. "I think we'll be out of relegation, and you'll see Fulham in the league next season," he said. "For the most part the team is together. We joke around a lot, and everyone seems to get on well with each other."


Javier Mascherano hopes to complete a permanent transfer to the club within the next seven days. "I am very happy that in the next week I will be able to say I have signed," the Argentine said. "It will be the best moment of my career to say I will be playing my football with Liverpool."

Manchester City

Manager Sven Goran Eriksson remains hopeful defender Micah Richards will be able to return within six weeks following a knee operation this week. "Our medical staff say that he is a good and quick healer," the Swede said. "So we will hope that he is back before six weeks."

Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he would have loved to follow Roy Hodgson's lead in managing abroad. "I used to say 'I'd love to have tried managing abroad sometime' but it was difficult. My choices were cut off simply as I was the manager of Manchester United – you don't leave United."


Jamie Hines hopes his performance in the FA Cup replay victory over Sheffield United on Wednesday was enough for him to figure in Gareth Southgate's plans for the visit of Reading tomorrow. "Hopefully I've proved my worth," he said. "But there's a lot of competition at centre half."

Newcastle United

Kevin Keegan has praised the recent contribution of England striker Michael Owen. "We haven't really played well enough to provide him with the sort of ammunition he needs," the Magpies manager said of the 28-year-old forward. "If we can improve that service, he will score goals."


Harry Redknapp has urged the club's supporters to remain realistic in their expectations for Pompey as the side vie for European competition. "We were going to Grimsby six years ago and getting beat," he said. "People can't get too carried away. They should be pleased with what's happened."


Defender Michael Duberry has returned to training after seven games out with a knee injury but admits the trip to Middlesbrough tomorrow may be too early. "Saturday will probably come too soon," the 32-year-old centre-back said. "I think I need a reserve game under my belt."


Danny Higginbotham played 60 minutes for the reserves against Bolton on Wednesday as he continued a comeback from a broken toe. A strong Black Cats XI, watched by manager Roy Keane and including transfer-listed Liam Miller, went down to a late Grzegorz Rasiak goal.

Tottenham Hotspur

Assistant manager Gus Poyet has confirmed the club's interest in Espanyol pair Dani Jarque and Carlos Kameni. Meanwhile, defender Jonathan Woodgate is a doubt for the trip to Birmingham tomorrow after suffering a sprained ankle during the Carling Cup win over Chelsea last week.

West Ham United

Alan Curbishley has dismissed reports linking the club with a move for Derby midfielder Giles Barnes. The England Under-19 international has been linked with a £3.5m transfer. "There's no truth in that," the manager said. "There are lots of players out there that we like, but there's no truth in that newspaper article."

Wigan Athletic

Steve Bruce said the players are taking nothing for granted, despite currently sitting four places and four points above the relegation zone. "We're not giving ourselves any pats on the back at the moment," the manager said. "We're in a competition of eight clubs battling to avoid relegation, and at the moment we are at the top of that group."