McCarthy tips Doyle to shine
Published 12/02/2012 | 05:00
Mick McCarthy anticipates Wolves' survival battle will again go to the final day of the season but hopes an in-form Kevin Doyle can help them avoid relegation from the Premier League.
Manager McCarthy expects another nerve-jangling finale as he prepares for today's derby with West Brom at Molineux, but he is taking some comfort from the return to form of Doyle who scored the winner against QPR last weekend to move Wolves out of the bottom three and end a 13-game run without a goal.
"These next few games are vitally important but it could go to the very last game, and it looks like it will because it is ever so tight in the bottom half of the table," said McCarthy. "I was pleased with Kevin's performance. He looked powerful and skilful and he is a classy player and that is permanent.He has lost his form a bit but he came back with a bang on Saturday and was excellent."
Wolves v West Brom,
Sky Sports 1, 1.30
Dunne: Give McLeish time
Richard Dunne has pleaded for Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish to be given time to make his mark at the midlands club, insisting: "You can't bring success overnight."
A section of Villa fans are proposing a demonstration against McLeish ahead of today's clash with Manchester City. But statistics show McLeish's record after 23 league games at Villa is better than that of Martin O'Neill and Gerard Houllier.
"Alex McLeish is desperate for this club to do well," said Dunne. "Realistically for us to be challenging in the top 10 is sensible until the manager can settle the team down and make it grow.
"You can't bring success overnight. He needs enough time to put his stamp on the team."
Aston Villa v Manchester City,
Sky Sports 1, 4.0
Celtic to appeal harsh dismissal
Joe Ledley's first-half goal gave Celtic victory over Inverness at Parkhead and restored their four-point lead over Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premier League. The Wales midfielder converted a James Forrest cross after 16 minutes from close range to extend the Hoops' domestic winning run to 17 games.
However, after the break Celtic defender Daniel Majstorovic was controversially shown a straight red card by referee Steven McLean on the hour mark for a 'last man' challenge on Jonny Hayes, who admitted he thought Majstorovic had "got the ball".
"I am going to speak to the club about it and see if there is grounds for appeal," said Lennon. "I thought he got the ball. "We were told the linesman gave it, whether I am wrong on that I don't know. It is a very debatable decision that has gone against us."
Rangers fight back to win
Lee McCulloch grabbed his first goal of the season as Rangers fought back from behind to claim a 4-1 win and deny Dunfermline their first home victory of the campaign in the early kick-off yesterday.
McCulloch played as a striker earlier in his career and delivered the goods after starting up front at East End Park, as Daniel Cousin -- set for a return to Ibrox -- looked on from the stand. McCulloch struck after David Healy cancelled out Andy Kirk's shock opener and Sone Aluko and Salim Kerkar then added a goal apiece in the second half to earn Rangers all three points.
Zahoui calm for final challenge
Francois Zahoui has overcome self-doubts over his ability as coach of the Ivory Coast to emerge with plaudits for his tactical acumen ahead of tonight's (7.0) African Nations Cup final against Zambia.
Relatively inexperienced when he succeeded Sven-Goran Eriksson after the 2010 World Cup, Zahoui now stands on the brink of winning only Ivory Coast's second Nations Cup title.
"At first I wondered whether I would be up to the job and others also doubted my capacity but I knew that if I work serenely I could achieve my goals," he said. "I've a team of talented players, stars really, who have worked under famous coaches at famous clubs. But they have confidence in me, I have a good relationship with them and we have a common goal to leave here at the top."
Zahoui was criticised early on in the tournament for a focus on defensive solidity but has been hailed after his side reaching the final by winning all five games without conceding a goal.
Shock defeat for Barcelona
Barcelona's hopes of capturing a fourth consecutive La Liga crown suffered a severe setback last night as they slumped to a shock 3-2 loss at Osasuna to leave Real Madrid seven points clear at the top with a game in hand.
Osasuna striker Dejan Lekic scored twice inside the first 22 minutes as Barca struggled to react.
Alexis Sanchez pulled one back in the 52nd minute but Raul Garcia quickly restored the hosts' two-goal advantage. Cristian Tello's 73rd-minute strike sparked a late charge that failed to produce a leveller.
Sunday Indo Sport