Monday 22 January 2018

In brief: Neville set for Rovers clash

Gary Neville has been named in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United squad for this evening's game against Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium (7.0).

The former England international will join a strong reserve squad for the clash, which is the first in the Platinum One Challenge, a three-team tournament at the venue this week.

Manchester United and Arsenal Reserves will play on Thursday night with the final game taking place next Sunday between Rovers and Arsenal.

Bremen reject Real Ozil bid

Real Madrid have had an offer for Werder Bremen midfielder Mesut Ozil turned down by the Bundesliga club.

The Germany international has been the focus of intense transfer speculation since he refused to sign a new contract with the Bundesliga club. Bremen's director of sport this week revealed that not one single offer had been received for the 21-year-old, who has also been heavily linked with Manchester United.

That changed when Real's director of sport Jorge Valdano confirmed to Germany's ZDF television that an official offer had been made.

It did not take long for Bremen to respond, turning down the offer out of hand.

"We have received an unacceptable offer that does not even provide any basis for negotiations," said their director of sport, Klaus Allofs.

Bremen make their Champions League debut against Sampdoria next Wednesday and, should Ozil take part in that game, that would rule him out of appearing in the competition for another club this season.

Blackwell cut loose by Blades

Kevin Blackwell has left Sheffield United by mutual consent after his side's appalling 3-0 defeat to QPR at Bramall Lane.

The former Leeds and Luton manager saw his side go three goals behind within the opening 23 minutes, leading to a barrage of abuse from the home support.

The game was peppered with raucous renditions of 'Blackwell out'.

"Following the home defeat to QPR, Sheffield United and Kevin Blackwell have jointly agreed to part company with immediate effect," a statement from the club read.

"Kevin Blackwell has worked tremendously hard over the last two and a half years and his record in terms of results is equal to, if not better than, most previous managers at Bramall Lane. He will always have a warm welcome at Sheffield United."

Beattie draws blank for 'Gers

James Beattie helped Rangers begin their defence of the SPL title with a 2-1 win over Kilmarnock but failed to mark his debut with a goal.

Kenny Miller and Steven Naismith were both on the scoresheet for the Scottish champions before Jamie Hamill pulled a goal back from the penalty spot in the season-opener at Ibrox.

Walter Smith's men were under pressure to open with a win after rivals Celtic had secured three points earlier in the day at Inverness.

Kilmarnock looked livelier after finding the back of the net but any hopes they had of causing an opening-day shock were dashed as Rangers held on to open the new season with a win.

Cotterill rues inexperience

Portsmouth boss Steve Cotterill blamed the inexperience of his threadbare squad for the late equaliser his side conceded in their 1-1 draw with Reading.

Nadir Ciftci looked to have given Pompey all three points at Fratton Park, but Jimmy Kebe got on the end of a Gylfi Sigurdsson cross four minutes from time to spoil the party.

Cotterill, who only had four players on the bench, said: "We did not win the game because we did not have any subs. We were strong but lacked the experience to win the game."

Sligo hit four to go third

Sligo Rovers moved to third in the Airtricity Premier Division thanks to a 4-0 dismissal of UCD.

Conor O'Grady and Padraig Amond scored twice in the space of two minutes at the end of the opening half, before substitute Matthew Blinkhorn and defender Derek Foran wrapped up the win in the second period.

Sligo: Gibson, Keane, Lauchlan, Foran, Davoren, McCabe, O'Grady, Boco, Dillon (Doyle 77), Ndo(Ventre 70), Amond (Blinkhorn 70).

UCD: Barron, P O'Connor, McMillan, Boyle, Nangle (Leahy 73), Wilson (Moore 64), Roche (Rusk 73), Creevy, Ward, Mulhall, Kilduff

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