Rochdale complete reshuffle
Fri, 17 May 2013 11:12:00
Defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto has recovered from a knee injury and is available for Tottenham's crunch clash against Sunderland at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
The Cameroon international sat out last weekend's win at Stoke, but has trained with the team this week and could come back into his usual left-back position.
Long-term absentees Sandro (knee), Younes Kaboul (thigh) and William Gallas (calf) are unavailable.
Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio will need to plug the hole left by loan signing Danny Rose.
The England Under-21 international left-back is ineligible to play against his parent club, to which he returned after last weekend's 1-1 draw with Southampton, and midfielder Jack Colback seems the most likely man to fill in.
Striker Stephane Sessegnon completes his three-match ban while midfielder Craig Gardner sits out the second game of his enforced lay-off, although frontman Connor Wickham is available after returning as a substitute against the Saints following a month on the sidelines with a calf injury.
Ferguson also promised goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard he would make sure he reached the 10 Premier League appearances which at the time the Scot thought were required to qualify for a title winners' medal.
The manager has since learned that he would have been able to give Lindegaard a medal anyway, but nevertheless he intends to stand by his pledge to get the Dane into double figures at West Brom on Sunday.
"I stand by that," he said.
"Anders will be in goal. I will play one or two younger players, and I want to play Jonny Evans and Phil Jones at centre-half because they are the future.
"Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand will just have to make do with a place on the bench."
Ferguson was presented with a cake by the media prior to today's press conference in honour of the 26 years he has spent at Old Trafford.
"It's fully deserved," he joked.
"There have been some times when I have not agreed with what people have written and when you write positive things I tend to dismiss them.
"But I have never held a grudge. It is not my style."
Ferguson was in an emotional but cheery mood as he looked forward to his 1500th and final game as United manager before he stands down in favour of David Moyes in the summer.
"It has been amazing," he said.
"Sunday (the home game against Swansea) was amazing and the parade on Monday was unbelievable.
"I thought the scenes after the treble in 1999 couldn't be beaten but I think Monday probably did."
Ferguson confirmed he has a League Managers' Association meeting on Monday and horse racing commitments on Tuesday and Wednesday, ensuring the start of his retirement will be a busy one.
"It is going to be a different life," he said.
"I have had 40 years as a manager."
"I am driven to take on challenges in some other things right away.
"I have got the League Managers' meeting on Monday. I am going to Newmarket for two days on Tuesday and Wednesday. I have The Derby on June 1 and I am going on holiday on June 4 for a month.
"Then I have the operation, the season starts, we are off and we are all right."
After spending so long in the highest profile job in English football, Ferguson will not be stepping away completely.
His opinions on all matters will still be eagerly sought after and the legendary drive and determination are unlikely to disappear overnight.
And that includes a jokey threat to Sir Michael Stoute, who trains Derby contender Telescope, which Ferguson part owns.
"It has had an infection but it is okay now," said Ferguson.
"It had better be fit or Stoute is in trouble."
The award caps a memorable end to the season for the former Norwich and Northern Ireland manager, who steered York to safety after replacing the sacked Gary Mills at Bootham Cresecent in March.
The Minstermen were one of eight clubs who could have fallen out of the Football League when Worthington took charge, but a run of four wins and two draws in their last six matches ensured their survival.
"I'm obviously delighted to receive this award," Worthington said.
"I've picked it up on behalf of everyone involved at the club. It was a real team effort and it's fully deserved, no more so than by the players and supporters, who between them helped ensure York City stayed in the Football League.
"We came in with 10 games to go and there was a bit of work to be done and it had to be done quickly.
"The players must take most of the credit because they did exactly what they were asked to do.
"That was important and throughout the run-in, by sticking together and working very hard we got some very, very good results."
Roberts, who was critical of the FA and football's anti-racism group Kick It Out following the John Terry racism case, said there had been a lack of leadership at the governing body.
He said on Twitter: "While Uefa propose a 10 match ban for racism, the FA decides on 5! Who do they consult on these decision? Certainly not the players.
"The last 18 months regarding equality at the FA has consisted of bad decisions, lack of will, lack of consultation and lack of leadership!
"Poor decisions on high profile cases, a weak "92" point plan and now 5 games, confirms, it is left to the players concerned to effect change."
The FA's sanction will be the "entry level" punishment for the "least serious" discriminatory offences - including racist and homophobic abuse - with longer bans for higher level offences.
Players found guilty of offences will have to attend educational programmes, and a second offence will be a minimum 10-game ban.
Clubs who have two or more players found guilty of discrimination offences within a 12-month period will also face charges and could even have points deducted.
Although there are no openly gay footballers in English professional football, the rules will apply to any player who uses homophobic abuse to any other player.
The new rules come after a review of sanctions following the high-profile cases which saw Chelsea captain Terry banned for four matches and Liverpool forward Luis Suarez for eight games for racist abuse on the pitch.
There is potential embarrassment for the FA however given that it is hosting UEFA's Congress in London next week, and Europe's governing body will submit a resolution recommending that all member associations follow its lead on 10 matches.
FA chairman David Bernstein defended the FA's decision not to follow UEFA's lead on Thursday, saying the five-game ban had been agreed by all parts of the English game including Kick It Out.
He said: "From our point of view (a 10-match ban) has no subtlety to it. It should have subtlety to it. Any racism is unacceptable but there are different levels of offence.
"It's also a timing issue. We have been through an extensive process and have to get it approved through English football. (UEFA's advice) came in right at the end of the process when we have spent months getting a consensus.
"But if European football says the line is in the wrong place then we may have to re-evaluate that."
Beech, who served as Dale caretaker boss between the reigns of Steve Eyre and John Coleman last season, has worked alongside Hill since his return to the Spotland dugout in January.
Rick Ashcroft will take over his previous roll of youth-team manager.
Brian Barry-Murphy will take up the role of player/first-team coach - the second member of Hill's staff to be registered to play after goalkeeping coach Steve Collis.
Tony Ellis is another man with a dual role, liaising between the youth and first-team set-ups as academy manager, while also joining Hill's team as matchday observational coach.
As in his previous stint with Rochdale and his time at Barnsley, Hill will place an emphasis on pre and post-match analysis and Dan Fradley heads up this area as head of training and matchday analysis.
Hill told Dale's official website: "Getting to where we are today has been transitional since I came back to the football club. It's not just about a manager anymore, you need a team.
"It has been about making sure that we assembled a team behind the team and built a structure that is successful and in sync with development. We've made a few subtle changes that will make a big impact including a bridge between the youth team and first team.
"There's a design to try and make sure we're successful and although it might not be evident from the get go, it will become evident to supporters.
"We've got to make sure that there's matchday success, development success and financial success. In order to do that there has got be a team behind the team so we can utilise every facet that we've got at this football club."