Thursday 22 February 2018

Silly Loach bid only way to go McCarthy has faith in squad Wenger hopes high for 2010 Toni aiming for strong start

Watford manager Malky Mackay has insisted goalkeeper Scott Loach will not be leaving the Hornets this month unless he receives a "ridiculous" offer.

The 21-year-old has been in superb form for the Championship side over the last 12 months and has been linked with a move to Tottenham in the coming weeks.

Loach can expect a busy 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge this afternoon as his side look to cause a major FA Cup upset against Chelsea but Mackay has revealed recent developments off the field mean he is no longer under any pressure to cash in on his prime asset.

The club were close to going into administration last month when chairman Jimmy Russo resigned and demanded a £4.5m loan to be repaid in full but board member Michael Ashcroft stepped in to save the Hornets from disaster.

"I don't need to sell players and I won't do unless something ridiculous comes in," said Loch. "We lost five first-team players in August and we have managed to get a young team together since then to compete and we don't need any more disruption.

"Scott will be here unless we get a silly bid and I think the best thing for his career is to stay here at this moment in time."

The Hornets were beaten by Chelsea in last year's fifth round but led until the final 15 minutes, when a Nicolas Anelka hat-trick saw the Premier League giants through.

McCarthy has faith in squad

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy is confident his current squad is good enough to ensure Premier League survival -- even if they fail to bring in new players during the January transfer window.

McCarthy's side will take a break from league action this evening to tackle Tranmere in the FA Cup, when he will field his strongest available side. But inevitably much of the focus is still on the battle to remain in the top flight.

McCarthy's confidence is reinforced by the news that Michael Kightly and Dave Edwards should be available after injury to add extra depth before the end of January.

"We are in a better position than some of the clubs," said McCarthy. "We are out of that bottom three. We'd like to be better off obviously but I think we are improving and getting better. I don't know what business other clubs will do in January but, if we can't do anything ourselves, then I am delighted with the squad I've got. I think the squad I've got will still finish above three other teams. That is the main thing."

Wenger hopes high for 2010

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has every reason to believe 2010 could yet turn out to be a vintage year for his young team.

The Gunners head to West Ham today for their FA Cup third-round tie having dragged themselves right back into contention for the Premier League following five wins from six games.

Another victory over struggling Bolton at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, and Arsenal would move up to second place, and the deficit on leaders Chelsea would be down to one point.

"Overall 2009 has been a positive year," said Wenger, set to rotate his squad for the cup tie at Upton Park.

"Let's continue to improve in the new year, and that is normal because we are a young team and should improve.

"This time last year we came out of a difficult period, so I am much more optimistic about the year ahead now than I was this time 12 months ago."

Wenger called on his side to maintain their consistency over the final five months of the campaign.

"I am very pleased with the last few weeks, because since the game against Chelsea we have caught many points back on them, so it is quite amazing," he said.

"That is why I believe in what I have been saying for a while, that it is just down to us now, down to our consistency and how much effort we can put into every game."

Toni aiming for strong start

Luca Toni is "extremely happy" to have completed his loan move to Roma from Bayern Munich and has vowed to start immediately proving his worth for the Serie A club.

Toni will spend the rest of the season with Roma, where he has been handed the number 30 shirt, with the Giallorossi paying him €3.1m for the duration of his stay.

Roma will then have the option to buy the striker outright and Toni is eager to do everything possible to prove to new boss Claudio Ranieri that he is worth signing on a full-time basis.

"I'm up for the challenge, it won't be easy but we'll see what happens," said Toni. "I have six months to show that I am a Roma player. I have to score goals. I will try to deserve my place because there are already great attackers at Roma."

Sunday Independent

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