English League 2

Sedgwick signs for Shakers

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Wed, 10 Jul 2013 12:10:00

Stewart Downing has welcomed the new arrivals at Liverpool this summer, insisting he will relish the competition for places.

Downing had to force his way into the starting XI last season before establishing himself and going on to make 28 league appearances.

New boys Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto will both be competing for a wide berth this term, but Downing is happy to see them onboard.

He told the club website: "They're nice lads. They're very quiet, but it's their first week at the club, so they're not used to the area, the lads and how we train. But you can see they're enjoying it.

"You need at least two or three players in every position to keep people on their toes, especially at a club like this.

"We're fighting on many fronts - cup competitions and the league - so you have to be strong in every department. But competition brings the best out of players, and hopefully it will in me.

"My targets will be similar to when I got back into the team last season - enjoy it, work hard and play some good football like we did at the end of last season.

"If we play like that again as a team, we've got a real chance of success. For me personally, I've just got to keep going."

Liverpool returned to pre-season training on Tuesday and Downing added: "We've had six weeks off, but the lads were all looking forward to getting back.

"There have been new signings come in and there's a bit of a buzz around the place. We can't wait to get started now and get the games underway."

The 31-year-old central defender looked to be on his way out of St James' Park in January when he asked to leave for personal reasons.

However, after a series of telephone conversations with manager Alan Pardew during the close season, the Argentina international will embark upon pre-season training raring to go for both club and country.

Pardew told the Chronicle: "Colo made it very clear in the summer that he is coming back to play this season. He really has the bit between his teeth.

"He wants to play in the World Cup in Brazil, not to mention Newcastle United's season.

"Me and him have had a lot of discussions about last year and they were very constructive, I have to say.

"He wants to come back, and he wants to lead us. He showed at the back end of last year how important he is to us. When he played, we looked a different team."

Coloccini's January bombshell left both player and club in difficult positions, and Pardew had to take a delicate approach as his captain dealt with his off-field problems.

The manager said: "I was a little bit disappointed with some of the press about that.

"It was a personal situation. It is difficult for that to play out in the press as it did.

"It was uncomfortable for him and for me. I still won't talk about it because it is not fair on Colo."

Meanwhile, Pardew has warned Paris Saint-Germain manager Laurent Blanc he has no chance of landing midfielder Yohan Cabaye on the cheap.

The 51-year-old has rebuked his PSG counterpart for speaking openly about his interest in the France international, who Pardew is desperate to keep on Tyneside despite comments over the summer hinting that he could be looking for pastures new.

However, he knows every player has his price, and he knows equally what that price would be for Cabaye, somewhere in the region of £25million.

Pardew told the Journal: "It's a bit difficult for me to talk about Yohan when I haven't seen him because he's still away.

"The internationals are back on the 15th and I'll sit down and talk to him about the comments that have come out.

"The bottom line is, though, he's got a three-year contract with us still to run and I expect him to be a big part of our season next year. Hopefully he will be.

"He's still very much in my plans, but like any player at any club, there is a price - but it's going to be a very high price."

The 33-year-old, who has been training with the Shakers in pre-season, spent the majority of last term on loan at Hyde from Scunthorpe.

The former Preston man's displays, which included a second-half appearance in Saturday's friendly win over Radcliffe Borough, persuaded manager Kevin Blackwell to hand him a 12-month deal at Gigg Lane.

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