Wednesday 7 December 2016

McClaren not singing to Ireland's Toon

Premier League Round-up

Published 08/11/2015 | 02:30

Rob Elliot in action for Newcastle against Bournemouth yesterday
Rob Elliot in action for Newcastle against Bournemouth yesterday

Steve McClaren may try to block Rob Elliot from the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 play-off despite the Newcastle goalkeeper's match-winning heroics against Bournemouth.

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Newcastle boss McClaren vowed to wrap Elliot in "cotton wool" as the 29- year-old played through the pain (thigh) in the 1-0 victory at Dean Court.

Ireland face Bosnia-Herzegovina in the two-leg Euro 2016 play-off next Friday and Monday, but McClaren wants Elliot to focus on full fitness. Martin O'Neill has David Forde, Keiren Westwood and Darren Randolph as his other goalkeeping options for Ireland's double-header.

"You'll see him walking around with cotton wool wrapped around him for the next two weeks," said McClaren, still missing injured goalkeepers Tim Krul and Karl Darlow. "So that's what we'll have to do.

"Rob's been heroic to get us through the last two games in what two weeks ago was a big crisis. I said at half-time character will win us this game, and character did. Tremendous."

Elliot pulled off a string of fine saves as McClaren's men sneaked out of Bournemouth with a hugely fortunate win. Ayoze Perez's winning strike was Newcastle's only shot on target, with Elliot excelling despite his continued injury woes.

The 18-year-old academy goalkeeper Brendan Pearson travelled with Newcastle and even warmed up at Bournemouth, just in case Elliot exacerbated his injury in pre-match preparations. And McClaren stressed Elliot's continued importance to Newcastle as his other senior goalkeepers struggle with injury issues.

Meanwhile, Jamie Vardy closed in on Ruud van Nistelrooy's Premier League scoring record with another goal in Leicester's 2-1 home victory against Watford. Vardy netted for the ninth successive fixture to leave him just one game away from equalling the Dutchman's 10-match scoring streak set in 2003 while at Manchester United.

Vardy's effort yesterday gave Leicester a two-goal lead, adding to Ngolo Kante's opener, but Troy Deeney got Watford back into the game from the penalty spot.

And Garry Monk has revealed his "concern" after Swansea's 1-0 defeat at Norwich extended their disappointing run. Jonny Howson's second-half header left them with only one win since August, meaning that after a promising start to the season they will join the battle against relegation unless they swiftly improve.

"Of course I'm concerned," the Swansea manager said. "We're here to win games and get points. In my time as manager we've done that very well. These difficult periods are part of it and part of management. I understand what needs to be done, but of course it's a concern.

"We had total control up until their goal, albeit we weren't sharp enough in that final third up to that point, which is disappointing, but we had total control."

Norwich manager Alex Neil, who played alongside Monk at Barnsley 11 years ago, insisted that his side deserved victory and said that, regardless of his friendship with the Swansea manager, he had no sympathy for his present plight.

"Why? I haven't got any sympathy," he said. "Not at all. We've had a lot of possession and talked about how well we played and not been winning, So what we've done is we went for the opposite."

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