Premier League

Pochettino has Adkins respect

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Thu, 04 Apr 2013 18:06:00

Charlton manager Chris Powell admits his side are still not clear of relegation trouble in the Championship.

The Addicks' goalless draw at Brighton on Tuesday took them to 51 points, four clear of the drop zone and with a better goal difference than most of the teams below them.

But Powell said: "With six games to go for us I don't think any manager can put a limit on it because everyone else is gaining points in the bottom three.

"We are only on 51 so I think we need a few more wins under our belt and we will be looking just to make sure we pick up a point or three in every game now.

"It's just one of those seasons where it's going to keep everyone interested right until the end. When you look at the number of sides all bunched together it's going to be really tight all the way.

"We can only care about ourselves and pick up three points at home and a point away or vice versa. It's about getting as many points as we can in each and every game and we will be looking to do that."

Allen, who joined the Reds from Swansea in August 2012, has undergone surgery after struggling with a shoulder injury for much of 2013.

And while Allen knows his form has deteriorated recently, the 23-year-old is confident he can rise up the pecking order soon.

"The fans have definitely not seen the best of me yet," Allen told the club's official website.

"It's no secret that recent months haven't gone great for me. I am confident and faithful that next season I can perform a lot better.

"Unfortunately this season's a write-off in regards to the injury but the plan is, and I've got a bit of time, to make sure it's right over the summer break in time for pre-season.

"It had been there for a while so I'd almost grown used to it but it's got worse and worse and I was probably kidding myself by not getting it sorted a bit sooner.

"It's difficult to say whether it affected my game - I don't want to use it as an excuse, that's for sure. But I'd like to see how it is once it's fixed and I'd like to think it's going to help me massively.

"I'm excited and looking forward to being 100 per cent fit. These things can often play on your mind. Hopefully this will bring out the best in me."

Carroll is currently on a season-long loan at West Ham after finding himself surplus to requirements under Rodgers.

Reports have suggested Rodgers was considering offering Carroll a lifeline at Liverpool next season if he accepted that he would not a be a regular starter at Anfield.

Rodgers admits Liverpool have been keeping tabs on Carroll's progress at Upton Park, but was remaining coy on whether or not the striker would be handed a second chance at Anfield next season.

"We've monitored it very closely," Rodgers told Fox. "We've had representatives from Liverpool at most of the games.

"It's obviously been a difficult season for Andy because his initial idea was he wanted to go out and play every week, but unfortunately for him he's picked up some injuries since he's been away.

"But he scored two very good goals at the weekend and he'll be looking to finish the season on a high and achieve the objectives he wanted to before he went out."

On Carroll's future beyond the end of the current campaign, Rodgers added: "It's nothing to discuss now. It's something we'll speak about at the end of the season."

Carroll is currently on a season-long deal at Upton Park from parent club Liverpool, who host the Hammers in the Premier League on Sunday.

The 24-year-old will be unavailable for the clash at Anfield due to the terms of his loan deal and has scored only five times since moving to east London last summer.

But Demel wants the England international to extend his stay at West Ham.

"Andy is a really good player and beyond that he is a really good man," he said

"I didn't know him before he signed for West Ham but to see a young player with the amount of pressure he had and the way he has behaved, I'm really happy to be his team-mate and I'd be really pleased if he stayed and played for West Ham."

Liverpool splashed out ?35million on Carroll to take him from hometown club Newcastle in January 2011 as they looked to re-establish themselves in the top four of the Premier League.

Despite signing the likes of Carroll, Luis Suarez, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing the Reds have struggled to fight the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea but Demel is still expecting a tough task.

"It is still Anfield, it is still Liverpool," he added. "They won't be easy to beat and it won't be easy to play there even if they aren't the great Liverpool.

"They still have really good players in the squad who are capable of making a difference so we just have to focus on the basics and play our best."

West Ham started the season well after Sam Allardyce took them back to the top flight at the first time of asking.

A slump around Christmas plus a poor run of results of late mean they have fallen into the bottom half of the table. Allardyce reckons 38 points will be enough to achieve survival and last weekend's 3-1 win over West Brom took the Hammers to within two points of that total.

Demel agrees that the club are close to securing a second season of Premier League football but insists their end-of-year targets remain higher than purely surviving.

"The game against West Brom was really important," he said.

"We needed the three points because this coming week we are going to Liverpool and we had lost some points over the last few games.

"We are going to Liverpool and we will be trying to get at least one point to keep things going. It is now the last phase of the season and every point is important.

"First of all we need to be safe but then we can try and finish 10th - it is like progression, this is what we are looking for."

West Ham have taken 11 of their 36 points away from home so far and Demel feels home form is vital for a teams who are newly-promoted.

"When you are in the situation we are in I think it is important to win your games at home," he said.

"We have good form at home and in front of our fans and at our stadium we have improved and I think away from home we have had some bad luck - some results we didn't deserve."

Establishing themselves as a top-flight club has become all the more important for West Ham after it was announced last month that they will become anchor tenants of the Olympic Stadium from the start of the 2016 season.

Demel, whose current contract runs until 2015, hopes to be involved once the move has taken place and believes it is a necessity if the club are to progress.

"Everyone knows West Ham will get a new stadium in 2016 and it would be nice to improve year after year and, by then, have a really good team to compete for first place in the Premier League," he said.

"I know how important it is for the club to move to a bigger stadium, for the fans as well, for the future.

"I think everyone will be happy - the facilities will be there and a club like West Ham needs to have a big stadium. We have a lot of good fans who support the team all the time."

Late payment of wages to players highlighted ongoing financial problems at a club which staved off a winding-up order in December after supporters raised more than ?1million to help pay off tax debts.

While Hearts supporters' groups remain keen on fan ownership of the club, they have watched their side slump to second-bottom of the table while Locke was thrust into the managerial hot seat on a permanent basis last month following the departure of John McGlynn.

However, despite all that, the former Jambos skipper admits results this season should have been better.

Ahead of Saturday's visit of Ross County, who have secured a top-six finish in their first season in the SPL, Locke said: "A club like Heart of Midlothian should be in the top six.

"It's been a difficult season, not just on the pitch but off it as well.

"We've not had our problems to seek and we can't forget that the main thing this season for Hearts was survival.

"But even with all the problems we've had, I still think we should be in a better position than we are.

"I think it will be a transitional period for the club, the next few months.

"We're still a wee bit unsure about what is going to happen off the pitch, for starters.

"On the pitch, there are a lot of players out of contract, a lot of players out of contract at other clubs, too.

"So it's certainly a pre-season where there is a big rebuilding job to be done.

"It's refreshing for Scottish football that Inverness and Ross County are up there (top six) and Motherwell have been up there consistently for four or five years.

"But, for me, I just concentrate on Hearts and it's been disappointing for us, so hopefully we can do better next season."

Locke was fulsome in his praise of Derek Adams' men, who have arguably been this season's success story on the domestic front.

"Ross County have been fantastic and Derek Adams deserves every bit of praise he's getting," he said.

"It's brilliant to come up from the First Division and do so well.

"They've got a really good squad of players, very well organised and they work really hard for each other, so I've got nothing but admiration for the way they've gone about their business this season."

Hibs need to win and hope other results involving Aberdeen and Dundee United, who play each other, and Kilmarnock, who play bottom side Dundee, go their way in able to clinch a top-six spot.

However, a win for the home side could see them win the title, a scenario which promises to produce a fiery atmosphere in the east end of Glasgow.

It is under those circumstances that the Hibs boss will be looking for bravado.

"It's going to take a win to get us into the top six and it is always difficult at Celtic Park," Fenlon said.

"We have to make sure we approach it in the right manner because Celtic have a lot to play for as well.

"With them having the opportunity to win the league, you would imagine their crowd and players will be up for it so we have to make sure we start positively and sprightly.

"We have to make sure we stand up and be counted early in the game, that is really important.

"We need to try to take the game to Celtic at times and be solid at other times.

"We have to make sure we stay in the game for a long period and then obviously there maybe comes a time when we have to throw the kitchen sink at them.

"We have played Celtic twice and drawn and beaten them but we are going to have to play really well, we are not fooling ourselves, they are a top team.

"But in football things can happen and we have to make sure that if things go for us elsewhere, that we do our own business right."

Fenlon confirmed that Eoin Doyle will leave the club for Chesterfield at the end of the season but insists the striker still has a big part to play in the run-in.

The 25-year-old was Fenlon's first signing in December 2011, but has rejected the offer of a contract extension to agree a move to the npower League Two side.

"He has a agreed a contract (with Chesterfield)," said Fenlon

"We offered Eoin a contract five or six weeks ago and he turned it down.

"That's the decision he has made and we just have to get on with it.

"But he's a very honest, when he gets on the pitch he works very hard for the team so I don't expect anything different from him."

Fenlon welcomes back defender Paul Hanlon from a hip injury and full-back Alan Maybury is back from suspension.

The Irishman said: "Paul Hanlon is back training for the last couple of weeks so he has a chance of coming back into the team.

"Alan Maybury is back from suspension so we are okay with numbers."

Clarke hopes the focus will now be on Albion's success this season in sustaining a top-half-of-the-table finish in the Premier League rather than the Nigeria international.

Odemwingie has attracted plenty of headlines for a series of attacks against the club via the social networking site and his latest outbursts have been dealt with internally.

Clarke said: "The matter (Odemwingie) has been dealt with internally by the club. I would like to move on from it and with seven games remaining.

"Hopefully we can start talking about West Brom and the good season we've had up to now and hopefully more good things to talk about between now and the end of the season."

But Clarke said: "Everyone has to be open-minded about Twitter, although it's not a concept I'm comfortable with. I don't understand the attraction of faceless media.

"I try to sort things out face-to-face with people and I can understand the tone of questions better when they come from someone in the same room.

"Social media, including emailing, is impersonal but I have to try to understand it better.

"A lot of people obviously love it. I've got kids who use it."

Odemwingie could be part of the Baggies squad to face Arsenal in Saturday's Premier League clash at the Hawthorns.

But Clarke will be without Youssouf Mulumbu who has to serve a three-game ban for his red card against West Ham after kicking the ball at midfielder Gary O'Neil.

Clarke said: "Again it is an internal disciplinary matter. He will be dealt with. He was very apologetic at the time.

"I think you could just see it was out of sheer frustration at a disappointing performance from us.

"It was completely out of character for him. It is disappointing for him and us because we lose him for three games and he let himself down.

"But he apologised and that was the best thing to do."

Esmael Goncalves was issued with a Notice of Complaint by the Scottish Football Association's compliance officer following the 1-1 draw in Paisley.

The Portuguese won a spot-kick for the home side when he went to ground following a challenge by Emilio Izaguirre, which Paul McGowan converted to level Kris Commons' early opener.

On-loan Rio Ave striker Goncalves has breached rule 202 which refers to "causing a match official to make an incorrect decision by committing an act of simulation" and will now miss this Saturday's Fir Park fixture with Motherwell and the Buddies' first game after the SPL split.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon raged at the "appalling" performance of referee Bobby Madden after the controversial encounter, which also saw Hoops midfielder Victor Wanyama shown a red card after the break for a challenge on McGowan.

On the Goncalves incident, the Northern Irishman said: "The penalty that St Mirren did get was outside the box and there is no contact."

The Anfield clash with the Hammers is the final home game before the 24th anniversary of the tragedy, which will be the first since the Hillsborough Independent Review published its findings.

In September the panel concluded that no Liverpool fans were responsible in any way for the disaster, and a lack of police control was the main cause.

The annual memorial service will be held on Monday, April 15 at Anfield at 2.45pm.

Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, told the club website: "Every day we remember those who lost their lives. During the service we will light a candle for each and every life that was extinguished prematurely and the eternal flame of the Hillsborough memorial will continue to light our way through the darkest days.

"For many, April 15 may be a working day and there will be those who are unable to attend. We invite you to join us in thought and spirit and keep us in your prayers at this difficult time."

The football world was taken aback in January when Saints decided to sack Adkins despite leading the club to 15th in the Premier League after back-to-back promotions.

The shock decision was compounded further by the club's move to immediately appoint Pochettino to the St Mary's helm.

The Argentinian will come face to face with Adkins for the first time on Saturday when Saints travel to a Reading side now managed by Adkins, who will want to exact revenge in his first home match in charge.

"Nigel has my full respect for the job that he did here," Pochettino said. "As well as him, there are a lot of people behind the scenes that are responsible for the club being in the Premier League and doing so well in the past two or three years.

"The only thing I can say is that I hope to see him on Saturday to say hi, introduce myself and shake his hand. It will be a pleasure for me to meet him."

Many believe Adkins was harshly treated by Saints, but Pochettino feels no guilt about his role.

"I didn't feel bad at all," the former defender said. "From the first moment, I felt I was treated very well.

"I felt I was part of a family, part of a club with an amazing work ethic so that has made me very happy. I felt really comfortable from the beginning.

"From the outside, before I arrived here I was looking at how Southampton had fared.

"Now after being here for two months, I really see how the club works. I really see how good the structure is.

"It just makes me really happy to be here so I am chuffed to bits to be here."

Southampton head into the game fresh from back-to-back home victories over Liverpool and Chelsea.

While Saints are upwardly mobile, Adkins has the unenviable task of trying to stop Reading's immediate return to the Championship.

The Royals are seven points adrift of safety with just seven matches remaining, although Saints are only four points clear of the drop zone themselves.

"It was one of the most important games that I am going to encounter, even more important than against Chelsea," Pochettino said.

"We're going to find a really fired up team. They are a team that really need the points, really need to win.

"So do we. We really need the points as well, really need to win. I think it is going to be a very aggressive game with both teams having to win."

Victory for Southampton would be another major step towards survival and their chances have been boosted by the fact Artur Boruc and Adam Lallana should be available.

"Artur felt dizzy after the first half against Chelsea," Pochettino said. "The doctors have said he has a virus that perhaps he picked up from Poland.

"But he was already training with the group on Monday and has been training well throughout the week.

"There is no real big injury news. It is possible that Lallana might be available."

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