Premier League

Balotelli agrees Milan deal - Report

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Tue, 29 Jan 2013 17:07:00

Chris McCann believes Burnley can mount a play-off push if they come through the closing days of the transfer window unscathed.

The Clarets lie five points outside the top six in eighth place having won four of their last six npower Championship matches.

Throughout the month, the club have insisted top scorer Charlie Austin is not for sale and McCann feels retaining key personnel at Turf Moor is vital.

"I think it's important to keep everyone together if we're going to have a crack at the play-offs," the midfielder told the Lancashire Telegraph.

"There's no point in getting this far and starting to lose some players that are key to the team.

"There are a lot of players who are out of contract who play every week. It would be a blow to lose somebody.

"It's vital to keep them if we're going to have a push for the play-offs."

The Dark Blues have enjoyed their best form in a strained season back in the top flight by recording two victories over the Jambos.

They will try to complete a hat-trick of wins in Wednesday's league clash in Edinburgh and Smith believes they are capable of doing so.

"We have had two good results against them so far this season," Smith said. "That should give us confidence as they were both decent performances.

"We know this is a different match at another stage of the season but that still has to be the aim. We shouldn't have any sort of fear going into this match.

"We know what we have to do and we have got to go out there and show that we can get the three points."

"Hearts are a good side as they've just shown by getting to the final of the League Cup. But we have to concentrate on what we do and hopefully come away with another positive result."

Dundee have drawn their last two games against Hibs and Kilmarnock to leave them still 11 points adrift at the foot of the table.

But Smith insists there remains a firm belief within the Dens Park camp that they can bridge that gap and stave off the threat of relegation.

He said: "Nothing has changed on that front. I have faith in this group of players and they know themselves what they are capable of.

"We know there's a bit of a gap but in no way is it outwith our reach to make that up between now and the end of the season.

"As far as we're concerned, we have to take each game at a time and go for the three points."

"It's not going to be easy but we knew all along it was going to be a difficult season for the club."

"However, I've been encouraged by our last performances since coming back from the winter break."

"With a little bit of luck we could have won both games, but we do have to start putting the ball in the back of the net."

"That is the difference at this level and I think we have players who can do that for us."

"Hopefully it starts at Tynecastle because there would be no better time."

The Italian giants claim the deal has been done, though City sources say it will be completed on Wednesday once Balotelli has passed a medical.

AC Milan director Umberto Gandini has confirmed that the transfer fee has been agreed with Manchester City and once the medical is completed, the striker will sign a contract which keeps him at the club until 2017.

City had also been negotiating with Juventus, but AC Milan have it seems won the bidding after protracted haggling over the size of the fee for the 22-year-old.

The deal, provided it goes through, will bring to an end Balotelli's two-year rollercoaster at the Etihad.

Balotelli famously provided the crucial injury-time pass that set up Sergio Aguero for the dramatic Premier League title-winning goal against QPR last May.

That memorable afternoon came just five weeks after City boss Roberto Mancini said Balotelli would never play for City again after the striker was sent off at Arsenal.

Lapses in professionalism have been a characteristic of Balotelli's time with the Blues.

There have been numerous training ground bust-ups; only recently he had to be separated from his manager after he lunged in on Scott Sinclair.

Mancini has - for the most part - stood by the Italy international, who shone for his country in Euro 2012.

This season though he has barely featured, making just two substitute appearances since a dreadful performance against Manchester United at the beginning of December.

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