English League 1

Blackwell keen to boost squad

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Wed, 13 Feb 2013 11:33:00

Catania defender Nicola Legrottaglie is tempted to follow his compatriot Alessandro Del Piero's lead by moving to the Australian A-League at the end of his contract.

The 36-year-old has paid close attention to the exploits of his former Juventus team-mate Del Piero, who ended a 19-year association with the Bianconeri to join Sydney FC in September. The 38-year-old striker has scored 11 goals in 16 appearances for the Sky Blues.

Catania are currently eighth in the Serie A table and bidding to secure the highest domestic finish in their history, but Legrottaglie would not be too offended if the Sicilians decided not to use him in the Europa League next season.

He told La Repubblica: "I've not spoken with the club yet. I'm happy here but if the club decide not to offer a new contract then I'll consider other offers, even from abroad.

"The idea of playing in Australia fascinates me. Age doesn't matter, I'm in good shape and taking one year at a time. At my age you can't really talk about long-term plans."

The Rossazzurri will need to dislodge Udinese, Fiorentina and AC Milan to claim fifth place and a maiden European campaign but Legrottaglie is optimistic.

"We can't hide any longer," he added.

"Catania are competing with teams that want a Europa League place.

"I want us to get a European place and we need to think about getting across the finish line. We can't just settle for draws any more, we need to go for the win in every game."

Pitman put the Cherries ahead from the penalty spot at Gresty Road after a dubious decision from referee Richard Clarke before Mathias Pogba levelled for the Alex.

But Pitman netted the winner six minutes from time to secure a 2-1 win which saw the Cherries leapfrog Doncaster into top spot.

Bournemouth boss Howe said: "We showed real team spirit and togetherness.

"I think away from home it is easy to find ways to get beat but the best teams always find a way to win.

"We scored a late goal and away from home that's not always easy. Our fans were magnificent and they would have given the players a big boost at crucial times.

"Both sides had their moments but our keeper (Shwan Jalal) made some greats saves for us at key moments and we defended well.

"Crewe are a very good team as we saw a few weeks ago so we were going to play an extra man in midfield as both teams liked to keep possession."

Goals in each half by Ryan Crowther and Junior Brown at the Kassam made it four games unbeaten for the Cod Army, who had thrashed the U's 3-0 at Highbury Stadium less than three weeks ago.

He said: "Our lads showed so much heart and so much energy.

"It was a committed performance with a lot of hard work, I was pleased with what our lads showed."

The result moved Alexander's side back into the play-off places, but the manager is not getting carried away.

"It's just another three points to add to our points tally," he said.

"It really doesn't matter at this stage where we are in the table, whether it's eighth, as we were, or much higher. But coming into the final weeks, we're in a very good position.

"We have to take it one small step at a time.

Goalscorer Crowther did not come out for the second half after suffering concussion and Alexander confirmed he was taken to hospital for a check up.

"It was a shame because when he came off we lost one of our main attacking threats," he added.

Jack played the whole 90 minutes of the under-20s clash with Falkirk, which ended 3-3, while left-back Naysmith was taken off after 60 minutes following a successful comeback.

Naysmith has only played two matches since August after being hit with hamstring and calf injuries while Jack has been out for four months after suffering a broken foot while on Scotland Under-21 duty.

Both could now go into the squad for the Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Dundee at Pittodrie.

Jack told RedTV: "I will need to see how I am in the next couple of days but even at the end of the game I still felt fine. If I'm called upon I'll be ready to play.

"It was just good to get out there and get back touching the ball and getting involved and a few tackles as well. I came through it well.

"It started at a really high tempo and when you have been out for three or four months it's hard to get straight back to that tempo. But it all comes back. It will maybe take a couple more games to reach that sharpness."

The former Blades boss, who saw his side downed by goals from Jonathan Forte and Jamie Murphy, is attempting to keep the struggling Shakers up on a shoestring budget but admitted he needs to bolster his squad.

He said: "We're in trouble but what we've shown is we're capable of playing against anyone.

"We don't have the depth of squad to carry any injuries so if two or three are a bit below par we're not strong enough to be able to change it.

"That's an Achilles heel for us and we know that.

"After a setback like this we have to get back up and dust ourselves off again.

"This is going to be a tough job but we're capable now and we've shown people we're capable.

"We've had it all this year, it's been interesting. It was never going to be easy to get out of this but we're going to keep fighting.

"We're panning for gold here because we need to find someone who fits the bill, at this standard, is out of contract and will play for nothing.

"I need another centre-half and I need another midfield player. The search will not stop but we need to find the right players."

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