Tuesday 20 February 2018

In Brief: Tractor Boys to test big

Roy Keane's Ipswich side -- who have lost just once in their last 13 games -- travel to play Leicester today in the Championship and hope to beat the big freeze as ground staff at the Walkers Stadium have ensured the playing surface is ready and the club also report that the stands are in a good state.

Meanwhile, three games went ahead yesterday in spite of the adverse weather. Garry Thompson's double inspired Scunthorpe to a resounding 4-1 victory over Derby and a first Championship away win since September.

Freddy Eastwood and Sammy Clingan's first-half strikes helped Coventry to a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Championship rivals Barnsley -- Clinton Morrison grabbed the third in stoppage time. Cardiff and Blackpool finished honours even in a 1-1 draw.

Italian flavour sours Big Sam

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce believes the success of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni and England boss Fabio Capello may have influenced Manchester City's decision to appoint Roberto Mancini.

Allardyce thinks Italian managers have become "flavour of the month". "They are fanciable at the moment," Allardyce said.

"They are obviously the flavour of the month and that's probably because Capello has done so well with England and all of a sudden Trapattoni has done alright for Ireland.

"Everybody thinks Italians are the way forward again, but that is a trend, a fancy for our bosses -- we are not in control of that."

Allardyce recently voiced concerns about the impact of foreign players upon England's domestic talent pool, and he also feels it is important with the growing influx of coaches from overseas that home-grown managers are given the chance to shine.

"Not only are all the players coming -- all the coaches worldwide want to come," Allardyce said.

Hertha target Celtic's Hinkel

Hertha Berlin have confirmed their interest in Celtic full-back Andreas Hinkel. Hinkel, 27, is also reportedly on the radar of Borussia Dortmund.

"Hinkel would be an excellent addition to our team for the second part of the season, and while I have not spoken personally to him I know from other people that he would not reject a move back to Germany," said Hertha coach Friedhelm Funkel.

"If something could be agreed then I would be happy, but Hertha is not a super-rich side and Celtic may not want to sell him, so who knows what the outcome will be at this stage." It's understood Celtic have already accepted an offer from Middlesbrough for Gary Caldwell and Barry Robson and that Boro boss Gordon Strachan could also land Dubliner Willo Flood and Chris Killen on loan, neither of whom are in the first-team picture at Parkhead.

Miller strikes to sink Hearts

Second-half goals from Darren Mackie and Lee Miller allowed Aberdeen to progress to the fifth round of the Scottish Cup, 2-0, at the expense of a disappointing Hearts at Pittodrie.

Mackie broke the deadlock with his first goal for the Dons since February 2009 when he was on hand to tap the ball into an empty net after Miller had knocked the ball past Marian Kello on the hour mark. Miller added a second for the Dons when he slotted home Chris Maguire's cross with 14 minutes to go.

Hibernian survived more than one scare before easing past Irvine Meadow 3-0. The home side enjoyed a slice of luck when Alexander Ryan put through his own net just before the half-hour. Merouane Zemmama and Paul Hanlon made the game safe after the break.

Dundee United beat Partick Thistle 2-0. Damian Casalinuovo opened the scoring controversially after turning home Garry Kenneth's powerful volley with his hand in the 26th minute. David Goodwille sealed the tie in injury time.

Stoke move for Van Nistelrooy

Stoke City have enquired about the availability of striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, according to the club's chairman Peter Coates.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid and Netherlands front man has been linked with a move back to the Premier League during the January transfer window.

"It may be a long shot but we've made enquiries and we'll see what comes from them," Coates said.

Fellow Premier League side Liverpool have also been linked with a move for the former Manchester United star.

Sunday Independent

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