English League 1

Simpson signs new Crawley deal

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Tue, 07 May 2013 12:47:00

Atletico Madrid striker Adrian Lopez insists the Copa del Rey final against capital rivals Real Madrid will not distract them from securing a third place finish in the Primera Division.

The two Madrid sides will meet at the Bernabeu on May 17 in the cup final, but first for Atletico are games against Celta Vigo tomorrow and Barcelona at the weekend.

Diego Simeone's side are currently third in the league standings, 11 points ahead of fourth-placed Real Sociedad, with Lopez keen to seal third place and automatic Champions League qualification.

"We still have to keep winning games. In the next game we must get the three points," Lopez told the club's official website.

"I think the season has been outstanding. Being where we are with what is left and in the cup final against Real Madrid, it is very good for us.

"I believe this to be an outstanding season and if we ended up getting third and winning the (cup) title, it would be perfect but the season has already been outstanding."

He added: "We are concentrating on what is coming up, which is the match against Celta. For us it is a very important game. Later we will speak about the final and prepare with a lot of excitement as a club and for the fans.

"They are in need of points and play at home. They are a team that plays well and are dangerous. It will be complicated but they are three very important points for us and we will try to win."

Celta are second bottom of the overall standings but just two points from safety following a recent upturn in form which has seen them claim seven points from their last three games.

Long-term absentees Hugo Mallo (knee) and Sergio Alvarez (shoulder) are the only players not included in Abel Resino's squad.

Charlie Barnett, Aidan Chippendale, Bohan Dixon and Tom Eckersley will all be released by the League Two outfit.

Further departures could yet be made with a number of players still in negotiations about their futures.

Midfielder Barnett made 102 appearances for the club after arriving from Tranmere in 2010, but featured just three times since January as the Reds avoided the drop out of the Football League.

Winger Chippendale made just four starts after signing in the summer, while midfielder Dixon made eight appearances before leaving for a loan spell with Evo-Stik Premier side Marine.

Former Bolton defender Eckersley played just four times and had loan stints at Blue Square Bet Premier sides Barrow and Stockport.

Simpson was made skipper in January and has enjoyed a superb season in League One following the club's promotion 12 months ago, scoring six goals in 48 appearances from central midfield.

The 26-year-old told Crawley's official website: "I'm absolutely delighted to have signed the contract and committed myself to the club for the next two years.

"I have had two fantastic years at the club and was desperate to stay because I really believe the club can keep progressing and I want to be part of it."

Reds manager Richie Barker added: "It's great news for all concerned.

"We really wanted to keep Josh as he is an integral part of what we are trying to achieve going forward so I am delighted to have secured his services for the next two years."

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