English League 1

Furman banks on cup confidence

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Thu, 28 Feb 2013 11:09:00

Millwall have signed 19-year-old Chelsea midfielder George Saville on a youth loan until the end of the season.

Saville, who can also play in defence, has progressed through the ranks at Stamford Bridge since moving to the club as an 11-year-old from Reading.

He signed professional terms with Chelsea in 2010 and has since featured in their U21 development side this season and has also played for England U16s.

Saville has been given permission to feature for Millwall in the FA Cup.

Burnett this week took charge until the end of the season following Still's decision to end his nine-year reign and take up the managerial vacancy at non-league Luton.

And he watched the Daggers pick up a creditable point at Valley Parade on Wednesday against a Bradford side fresh from their Capital One Cup final hammering at the hands of Swansea.

It could have been all three but for James Hanson's late equaliser which cancelled out Luke Howell's 69th-minute goal, coming after Sam Williams had missed a penalty

Burnett said: "Bradford had large chunks of the game and probably the better chances but we defended excellently. Our two centre-backs and full-backs were fantastic.

"This is not an easy place to come. I am delighted with the performance and the players' work-rate. It's difficult when a manager leaves, especially someone like John Still who has left a legacy at this club.

"I said 'let's carry that on, nothing needs to change. Let's go out and express ourselves, try to be creative and play with no fear'. At times we did just that."

In 2011, the goalkeeper, then at Birmingham City, said that he was no longer available for England because of injury problems.

But Sky Sports sources understand Foster has had a change of heart and is in contention to return for next month's World Cup qualifiers in San Marino and Montenegro.

The 29-year-old, who won the last of his five caps three years ago, would provide competition for Roy Hodgson's current number one, Joe Hart.

If he does return, Foster will be reunited with goalkeeping coach Dave Watson,

who he worked with during his spell at Birmingham.

Foster has been in impressive form for Albion after signing a new five-year contract in the summer.

The Millers, who sit fifth in League Two and are three points off third with a game in hand, were able to name million-pound striker Jordan Slew, Northern Ireland international Michael O'Connor and Aston Villa loanee Courtney Cameron on the bench in their 1-1 draw with York.

And Evans is delighted to have such quality at his disposal.

He said: "When you look at our bench, it is strong as it has been all season. There are debates that all of them could be playing, but we need that quality and competition."

Ben Pringle was one of those to come off the bench on Tuesday and made a huge impact, setting up Daniel Nardiello's injury-time leveller.

The former Derby midfielder has been out in the cold in recent weeks after an impressive first half to the campaign which saw him rewarded with a new contract.

And his cameo against the Minstermen could see him recalled to the starting line-up for the tricky trip to Southend on Saturday.

Evans added: "Ben Pringle has been hurting that he has not been in the team. It's good when he comes on and plays like he has been hurting.

"He has a chance of starting at the weekend now."

Speaking after Chelsea's 2-0 FA Cup win at Middlesbrough, Benitez turned on those who gave him the title of 'interim manager' when he succeeded Roberto Di Matteo in November, and the fans who have never forgiven him for guiding Liverpool to the 2005 Champions League final at the Blues' expense.

Benitez's relationship with club owner Roman Abramovich is coming under scrutiny but Pulis said only the Chelsea manager would know what level of support he has.

He said: "What goes on at Chelsea goes on at Chelsea - I can't control that. In terms of what Rafa is going through, the best person to talk to is Rafa.

"Every manager has a different relationship with chairmen. I have had different relationships with other chairmen at other football clubs to what I have got with Peter (Coates).

"I'm very privileged to have the (Coates) family here, who are absolutely fantastic people. If I want to see them, I pop down the road and it is five minutes if I jump in my car. The door is always open for me to go and see them.

"Ask Rafa what his relationship is like with Abramovich or the people in power there. He is the only one who can answer that - and from that stems everything.

"When I first came into football, Bruce Rioch said to me the greatest relationship in a football club is between the manager and chairman. That was 20-odd years ago, and Bruce has been dead right. The relationship between yourself and the person who runs the football club is paramount to how the football club really projects itself.

"As a football manager, I am extremely lucky here. Other managers are not so lucky."

Asked whether players cared about the manager's job title, Pulis replied: "You can call me anything you want. The most important thing is that the people who are working for me have to show me respect. I don't care what I am called - especially behind my back!"

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez enjoys a good relationship with fans at the DW Stadium despite now being involved in a fourth successive relegation battle since taking charge at the club.

Martinez was a popular figure during his playing days with Latics and has retained much of that support - a situation in contrast to that experienced by his fellow Spaniard at Stamford Bridge.

But Martinez was unwilling to be drawn too much on that subject as he met media to preview his side's game against Liverpool this weekend.

"I didn't see it last night but as a manager you are working 100 per cent every day to try to affect the things you can affect," he said.

"Obviously there are many issues you can't affect and you can't do much about it. As a manager that can make your job a little bit harder.

"But it is difficult to comment from my point of view. When you are involved in our situation, I don't think there is too much time to look elsewhere. I can't really comment."

Martinez admitted the title of an 'interim' manager was one he was not familiar with.

He said: "It is something you need to ask a solicitor. I don't know if it has anything to do with football. I have no experience on that so can't give an answer. It is something I haven't seen before."

Danny Devine turned in an impressive performance in central defence during Wednesday night's goalless draw with Dundee United at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.

But with Gary Warren available again following suspension and club captain Richie Foran back from a knee injury, Butcher has a decision to make regarding who starts at the back for Inverness in the clash between the teams standing third and fourth in the Scottish Premier League.

He said: "Danny Devine played well and it now leaves me with not only a headache regarding the back four for Saturday, but also Richie Foran is available.

"However, it's nice to have that headache because I don't often get them.

"It's going to be a belter of an occasion. For us, it's about making sure we go out and do a good job."

Inverness dropped a place from second in the SPL table on Wednesday night, due to Motherwell's victory against Celtic.

Substitute James Hanson rescued Bradford from more disappointment just three days after their Wembley defeat to Swansea in the Capital One Cup final.

Luke Howell's 69th-minute goal, which came after Sam Williams had missed a penalty, looked set to give Wayne Burnett a winning start to his spell as Dagenham's interim manager following John Still's departure to Luton.

But with four minutes left in Wednesday nights' League Two clash at Valley Parade, Zavon Hines's cross from the right was helped into the goalmouth where Hanson stabbed the ball past Chris Lewington for the equaliser.

Parkin said: "The players were very disappointed after the game at Wembley. The one game where they didn't show what a good team they can be was the big one at Wembley.

"This was a difficult game, but it would have been more difficult if they hadn't put in the energy and commitment.

"I don't think there was a hangover from Wembley, but it is up to us now to move on.

"I feel there is an air of pessimism around the place and I don't know why. It's as if Bradford City are expected to win every game and the place needs a lift. Maybe there is a feeling of anti-climax.

"We kept going to the very end and that is all you can ask of your team. Give Dagenham's defence credit. Luke Wilkinson has had an outstanding season and a lot of people are looking at him.

"We made a change, bringing James Hanson and Nahki Wells on after giving them a breather from Wembley and it paid off with James's goal."

Having knocked out Nottingham Forest and Liverpool before securing a last-gasp draw with Everton, the Latics' memorable cup run came to an end on Tuesday night as they lost 3-1 in the fifth round replay at Goodison Park.

But with only one point between Oldham and the relegation zone Furman knows they need to repeat their cup displays on a regular basis in the final 13 matches of the league campaign.

"We have to take the confidence out of what has been a terrific cup run for us and we've got an important 14 or so games left in the rest of the season now," he said.

"It's vital that we take some of the form that we showed over the past few weeks and in patches on Tuesday into the remainder of the season."

The hard-working display the Latics put in was certainly appreciated by the home support who applauded the Oldham side off the pitch at the final whistle.

"It was great, the appreciation they showed us," Furman said. "The atmosphere was brilliant.

"Our fans were great, their fans were great and to get an ovation from their fans coming off the pitch was a special moment for us and it shows that they (Everton fans) appreciated how hard we worked."

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