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In brief: Lawrence and Best ruled out

Liam Lawrence and Leon Best have been ruled out for the Republic of Ireland's opening game of the Carling Nations Cup against Wales on Tuesday due to injury.

Lawrence sustained a calf injury when playing for Portsmouth in yesterday's 1-1 draw with Derby County.

Best injured a hamstring during Newcastle United 4-4 draw with Arsenal.

Bristol City's Andy Keogh has been called up to the squad and will report for duty this afternoon.

Grant calls for club to unite

Avram Grant believes West Ham must unite, in the boardroom and the dressing room, if they are to survive in the Premier League.

"I say to the owners, the players, the kit men, everybody, we have the same target and we need to be always together," Grant said ahead of this afternoon's home clash with Birmingham.

The signings of Gary O'Neil, Demba Ba, Wayne Bridge and Robbie Keane in the January transfer window have raised expectations around Upton Park and renewed faith in the manager, who has been under pressure since his arrival at Upton Park.

Dargo double proves enough

Craig Dargo's first-half double against Second Division Ayr United at Somerset Park proved enough to book St Mirren a place in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup.

The Premier League club looked to be on easy street after Dargo's goal seconds before the interval added to his seventh-minute opener.

Saints missed several chances to clinch the tie -- and Dargo should have had a hat-trick -- before a Mark Roberts' penalty led to what had at one point looked like an unlikely fightback. However, the part-timers ran out of steam towards the end, although Danny Lennon and his St Mirren players were glad to survive to take their place in today's draw.

First goal was key -- McCall

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall was satisfied with his team's work after they beat Stranraer 2-0 to move into the Scottish Cup quarter-finals.

Steve Jones and John Sutton netted towards the end of each half at Stair Park to steer Motherwell beyond spirited opponents.

"Getting the first goal was the key, if we had gone behind it could have been a very difficult day," he said.

Terrors dump out Hamilton

Dundee United's defence of their Scottish Cup title continued as they dumped out Hamilton 3-1 to book a place in the quarter-final.

Goals from Jon Daly, Paul Dixon and Prince Buaben secured victory for the Tayside club, with Mickael Antoine-Curier bagging a consolation for Accies.

United scraped past Ross County on penalties in the last round but never really looked in danger at New Douglas Park yesterday.

Somma loving for Grayson

Striker Davide Somma earned the praise of manager Simon Grayson after Leeds United moved into fifth place in the Championship with a 1-0 win over Coventry.

South African Somma netted after 56 minutes, his second decisive goal of the week after he earned Leeds a 2-2 draw at Hull on Tuesday night.

"He's done brilliant to be fair," Grayson said.

"We sent him out on loan last season, he started this season with a bang and then he was out of the team because of the formation we were playing, but he's scored whenever he's come off the bench."

Tudgay boosts Forest surge

Marcus Tudgay's first-minute goal continued Nottingham Forest's relentless surge up the Championship table as they saw off Watford at the City Ground.

Tudgay struck early on as Billy Davies' side extended their unbeaten home run to 34 league matches to move into second place.

Forest are now just seven points behind leaders QPR with two games in hand and are in a good position for promotion to the top flight.

Howe pleased by gritty show

Burnley manager Eddie Howe was pleased with his side's performance after their hard-fought 2-1 victory over Norwich. Dean Marney put the home side ahead before Grant Holt equalised for Norwich, but it was Jay Rodriguez who scored the winner nine minutes from time to dent Norwich's promotion charge.

"Full credit to Norwich. They're a good side and made it difficult for us in the second half," said Howe.

"But full credit to us because we came back with a second wind."

Sunday Indo Sport