Premier League

Norwich keep Kansas waiting

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Tue, 16 Apr 2013 16:35:00

Wolves have lost their bid to have Jamie O'Hara's three-game ban reduced after their appeal was rejected by the Football Association.

O'Hara, who was sent off during Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Huddersfield, will miss Tuesday night's game against Hull City followed by the clashes with Charlton and Burnley.

The midfielder reacted angrily to a challenge from Terriers substitute Keith Southern and subsequently pushed him, leading to his dismissal.

Wolves had accepted the decision itself but were unhappy with the mandatory three-match ban and asked the FA for leniency in the matter.

Under FA rules a club may appeal the severity of a suspension if they feel there are extenuating circumstances, but in this instance the FA decided to reject the appeal and O'Hara will have to serve the full three-game ban.

Delph's girlfriend Natalie is due to give birth early next month and he is desperate to be present when the baby arrives.

But the 23-year-old former Leeds player, who scored an own goal in Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Fulham, has also stressed the importance of keeping himself available for Villa at the moment - something he is ready to prioritise if necessary.

"We have spoken about it and we know it's a possibility," Delph told the club's official website.

"It could happen as one of the games is about to go on. But this is a crucial part of the season and if I'm down to play in the games, I need to be playing.

"Natalie appreciates the situation and is 100% behind me.

"I want to see my baby being born and hope it happens. Ideally, it will happen on a Wednesday."

Villa are currently 17th in the table with five matches left to play, three points clear of 18th-placed Wigan, who have two games in hand over them.

After losing the likes of Clint Dempsey, Mousa Dembele and Danny Murphy last year, there again looks set to be another high turnover of midfielders at Craven Cottage.

Giorgos Karagounis, Mahamadou Diarra, Chris Baird and Simon Davies have all yet to extend their contracts past the end of the season.

The on-loan quartet of Urby Emanuelson, Emmanuel Frimpong, Stanislav Manolev and Eyong Enoh also see their stays expire in the summer, although Fulham have an option to make the latter duo's moves permanent.

Jol has some tough decisions to make over the coming months in regards to those players and knows new midfielders need to arrive ahead of the new campaign.

"If you look at the defence, I think we are fine," the Dutchman said.

"If you look at the midfield, I think Steve Sidwell is probably the only one left if you think of all the players we had six or seven months ago. We have to do something.

"Up front, Mladen Petric we will talk to him as he is on a one-year deal [which expires]..

"Sascha Riether we have an option in his loan [to make it permanent] and we will probably take that.

"For the rest, I don't see any problem but in midfield we can do something because there is only one or two left.

"Karagounis is also on a one-year deal so Sidwell is probably the only one who is on a long-term contract."

As well as shoring up his midfield, Jol wants to bring in a new goalkeeper.

Regular number one Mark Schwarzer has yet to sign a new deal past the summer and understudy David Stockdale, currently on loan at Hull, is frustrated at a lack of opportunities in west London.

"Mark Schwarzer is for us almost a hero," said Jol, who also today played down of a move for Athletic Bilbao defender Fernando Amorebieta.

"He saves games for us so I would like him to stay but we are looking for a goalkeeper.

"Neil Etheridge is young and has no experience. He will go on loan, 100 per cent, to gain experience to be the number one in the future.

"We have Csaba Somogyi, who was man-of-the-match four times out of the last six games at Dartford, but we still look for a goalkeeper.

"We are looking for a good goalkeeper so if Mark decides to stay I have two good goalkeepers, plus Stockdale because he is still there. I have to talk to him."

While next season is not far from his mind, Jol's immediate attention is on tomorrow's derby clash with Chelsea.

The Cottagers have a miserable record against their west London neighbours, winning just one of 23 Premier League clashes, but could be playing them at a good time given the Blues' hectic fixture schedule.

"I am not sure," Jol said about the timing. "Sometimes you have the rhythm, which gives you the advantage.

"We played on Saturday, we will play again Wednesday and then against Arsenal.

"It is about legs so it depends on who is playing. If they play the same team, that probably could help us.

"If not, they are big enough as a squad to play four or five different players and I think they probably will."

The Paisley chief yesterday joined with Ross County chairman Roy MacGregor to vote down Scottish Premier League plans for a new 12-12-18 set-up.

That led to on-line rumours that Gilmour had acted on behalf of the Ibrox club after welcoming their chief executive Charles Green to St Mirren Park for the Buddies' clash with Celtic last month.

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne, meanwhile, suggested Gilmour had an "agenda" behind his decision to vote against the proposals, while Hearts chief executive David Southern suggested St Mirren concerns on voting structures were a "smokescreen to protect other people's interests".

But Gilmour told Press Association Sport: "These rumours sound like a conspiracy theory. Any club official who would suggest such a thing, we would look at it legally because it is absolutely slanderous.

"The St Mirren board are only interested in what is in the best interests of St Mirren Football Club and that will always be the case."

Had the plans for the new league structure gone through, Rangers would have remained in the basement league, despite winning the Third Division with five games to spare.

But with talks on reconstruction having now seemingly hit the buffers, the fallen Glasgow giants will instead be promoted to the third-tier Second Division.

Gilmour - who, along with fellow boardroom members, persuaded Saints shareholders to axe club director Ken McGeoch following revelations about alleged links to former Rangers owner Craig Whyte - insisted he was looking out for all of Scotland's senior clubs when he voted against the plans over concerns about fan backing for the new set-up and the 11-1 voting structure.

Asked about the Rangers rumours, he said: "It's ridiculous. This is a club that voted Rangers into Division Three, voted a director off our board because of alleged links to Rangers.

"We are also a supporter of a 42-team solution for Scottish football, not an SPL2, and that would therefore have no short-cut for Rangers back to the top-flight, so where somebody would get the idea that we were doing this to help Rangers is beyond me.

"I would add that Charles Green did attend a game at St Mirren Park but like any director, chairman or manager from any football club, when they make a request for tickets by email, they are shown the same hospitality by the club as any other representative.

"During Mr Green's visit, there was no discussion about league reconstruction. In fact, the only thing we did speak about was agents, players wages, etc."

Kamara, who is a cult figure among Canaries fans, is currently on loan at Carrow Road but the deal ends on May 6, meaning he would not be available for the last two games of the season unless a permanent deal is secured.

Sporting KC chief manager and technical director Peter Vermes believes Norwich, who have already signed Dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel for ?8.5m from Sporting Lisbon for next season, may be holding off until they are certain of Premier League football.

Vermes told the MLS club's official website, sportingkc.com: "We are looking into it, but I haven't heard anything yet.

"We have already negotiated everything. Other than Kei saying he doesn't want to do it, it would pretty much go through.

"They are not really sure where they sit right now and where they are going to go. If they would be a little more secure in their position in the league, I think it would be easier for them to make a deal one way or the other.

"Right now, I think that is why we're not hearing anything."

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