English League 1

Kiwomya set for Magpies hotseat

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Mon, 25 Mar 2013 16:59:00

Mexico will be looking to get their World Cup qualifying campaign up and running at the third time of asking when they take on the United States on Tuesday.

Back-to-back draws against Jamaica and Honduras have caused concern in the Mexican camp as they chase one of three automatic qualifying places for next summer's finals in Brazil.

Coach Jose Manuel de la Torre has urged his players not to be discouraged by the results, however.

"We must keep working hard on improving everything, technically, tactically, mentally... everything," he said.

The United States lost to table-toppers Honduras in their opening qualifier but beat Costa Rica last Friday in a snowy encounter in Denver, which prompted an official complaint from the visitors over the conditions.

However, coach Jurgen Klinsmann is now solely focused on Mexico and said: "We respect them a lot but don't fear them.

"They know they must gain the three points but we must too."

Honduras, who top the standings by a point over the Americans, are also in action against a Panama side who will overtake their opponents with a victory.

Panama's hopes will rest on the shoulders of striker Blas Perez and Honduras defender Victor Bernardez is expecting a tough duel with the player.

Bernardez told El Heraldo newspaper: "He is a player I know very well. He is very good so we must be focused on marking him well and not letting him score.

"Panama play good football. We watched them play Jamaica and they have great players. We must take care of the ball. We are physically fit so we are ready for this match."

Panama will be without the touchline influence of coach Julio Dely Valdes, who is serving a one-match ban after excessive complaining during last month's draw with Costa Rica.

However, he is confident his players can do the job without him.

"We are motivated and hopeful of taking at least a point," Dely Valdes said.

"Honduras and Panama know each other very well and both sides have their weapons.

"We must win to show what we are prepared for. We'll only know who will go to the World Cup at the end of the competition, and not before."

Costa Rica will play Jamaica in a meeting between two teams still searching for their first win in qualifying.

And goalkeeper Keylor Navas is hoping to give the home Costa Rica crowd something to cheer about on Tuesday as they look to climb off the foot of the standings.

He said: "In all the time I've played for the national team this is the first time I've seen the country united.

"We want to bring confidence back. I have no doubt we'll step on to the field to play good football and win the match.

"We have nothing on our minds but playing at the World Cup next year."

The popular Dutch defender left Old Trafford in 2001 in controversial circumstances after making critical comments about his team-mates in his autobiography.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson wasted no time in off-loading Stam to Lazio, even though his three-year stint at Old Trafford coincided with a hat-trick of Premier League titles and their historic Treble in 1999.

Ferguson later described the decision to sell Stam as the biggest mistake of his career.

However, the pair have since made their peace and now United have confirmed Stam will be part of their Legends squad for their high-profile encounter at Old Trafford on June 2.

Stam's former international team-mate Edwin van der Sar has also agreed to play in the game, in addition to England duo Teddy Sheringham and Nicky Butt.

Kiwomya was placed in charge of first-team affairs after Keith Curle was sacked at the beginning of February. The former Ipswich and Arsenal striker was later that month appointed on a deal for the remainder of the season.

Kiwomya, 43, who is on record as saying he would like the keep the job, has won three and drawn six of his 11 matches in charge.

Magpies chief executive Jim Rodwell told BBC Radio Nottingham: "I'd certainly say he's in pole position for it. I don't think he can be faulted since he got the job.

"I don't think Chris could have done a lot more. He has gone about his business properly and has been diligent.

"We need to sit down with Chris and iron a few things out, I think."

Kiwomya was in charge of the club's development squad before succeeding Curle.

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