Sunday 25 February 2018

In Brief: Greene to sign for Dundee

AARON GREENE, the 19-year-old Dubliner whose goals helped Galway United retain their Premier Division status, will sign for Scottish Premier League side Dundee United this week, writes Seán Ryan.

Greene, who took the leap from junior football with St Francis to Galway United in his stride, makes no secret of his ambitions: "I don't want to play reserve football," he says. "I'm not quiet at training so I get around and let people know that I want to get a first team place."

Dundee's manager, Craig Levein, has been an admirer of the striker since he saw him in action early last year. There is no fee involved in the transfer, as Greene was signed on amateur forms by Galway. However, St Francis, with whom he played since he was 12, will receive compensation for their work in his development.

At Tannadice Park, he links up with Sean Dillon and Jonathan Daly, and he hopes to emulate Noel Hunt, the former Shamrock Rovers' player who made his mark with Dundee and was transferred to Reading for a big fee. "I just want to improve," Greene says, "and it would be great if I could do something like Noel did here."

Hammers look to set-pieces

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola will order his side to target Chelsea's frailty at set-pieces as they look to kickstart their campaign with a home win against the Premier League leaders today.

The Blues have won just one of their five matches in December and their defence has come under the spotlight after conceding 11 times this month.

A number of those goals have come from set-pieces, with goalkeeper Petr Cech criticised for failing to command his box. It is an area the Hammers will seek to exploit.

"We know that they have been conceding from set-pieces," said Zola, a former Chelsea player.

"We have been very dangerous from set-pieces ourselves so that might be the key to the game."

Fresh legs first

for McCarthy

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy has admitted his actions in the last week have turned up the pressure on him for today's crucial Premier League clash with Burnley.

McCarthy is well aware that anything but a win against the Clarets will see his team selection at Manchester United in midweek questioned once more.

McCarthy took the decision to change all 10 of the outfield players who started last weekend's 1-0 win at Tottenham to ensure that his key players were fully fit for the game with Burnley.

McCarthy has been both pilloried and lauded for his actions, but he knows the only way he will be vindicated is if Wolves secure the win against Burnley that could move them out of the relegation zone.

He said: "Don't think that I don't understand that it has added a bit more pressure to the game -- but that is on me. That is my decision, no one else's."

McLeish gets Moyes' praise

Everton boss David Moyes believes Birmingham have a bright future under the guidance of his fellow Scot Alex McLeish.

Birmingham travel to Goodison Park looking to equal a club record of six successive top-flight wins.

McLeish's promoted side began the season among the relegation favourites but their recent form, which extends to eight games unbeaten, has catapulted them into the top half. Moyes has been impressed by how former Rangers and Scotland manager McLeish has bounced back from his side's relegation in 2008.

Moyes said: "Alex would tell you it's taken a bit of time to get used to English football but I think he did well in Scotland and is now showing he can do it in England."

McGinn set to make amends

Niall McGinn is hoping for the chance to make up for his Europa League goal disappointment when Celtic travel to Hearts today.

The Northern Ireland wide man was one of seven changes manager Tony Mowbray made to his side for the thrilling 3-3 comeback draw against Rapid Vienna in the Ernst Happel Stadium on Thursday night.

Making only his third start since he moved from Derry City in January, McGinn was instrumental in dragging Celtic back from losing three goals in the first 19 minutes.

McGinn, who will shrug off a dead leg to travel, said: "It was my first start in Europe and I was disappointed not to get a goal. I scored against Kilmarnock in the league a few weeks ago so I am keen to get another and hopefully that will be against Hearts, if I'm picked of course."

Sunday Independent

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