Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala is flattered to be linked with
moves to Manchester United and Tottenham.
Reports have claimed United and Tottenham are keeping tabs on
Mangala as they look to bolster their defensive options next
Italian giants AC Milan are also thought to be confirmed
admirers of Mangala as Porto brace themselves for moves for the
The 22-year-old has impressed for Porto this season in the UEFA
Champions League and he is regarded as one of the best young
defensive talents in Europe.
Mangala insists he is happy at Porto, but admits he would be
interested in a move to the Premier League.
“I have a contract here till June 2016, however all players want
to play one day in the top league in Europe,” Mangala told Sky
Sports. “I am no different to that.
“To be linked with clubs of the stature of Tottenham or
Manchester United is the best feeling.
“I want to finish the season strongly and see at the end of the
season if the reports are true.”
Cheltenham defender Michael Hector is set to start after his
loan spell from Reading was extended for a second month.
The 20-year-old has made seven starts for the club but could
have a different centre-back partner against the Dons if veteran
Steve Elliott fails a late fitness test on a knock picked up in
Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Fleetwood.
If Elliott does not make it then Manchester United loanee Luke
McCullough is likely to step into the side.
Full-back Sido Jombati is set for a recall as Cheltenham look to
close the four-point gap between themselves and the automatic
promotion places in npower League Two.
Young defender Harry Hooman is Mark Yates’ only long-term
absentee with a foot injury.
AFC Wimbledon will check on Jonathan Meades ahead of the
The on-loan Bournemouth defender failed a late fitness test on
an ankle injury ahead of Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw against
With fellow full-backs Curtis Osano (calf) and Jim Fenlon (back)
still missing, centre-half Mat Mitchel-King will deputise at
right-back again if Meades is ruled out.
Midfielder Harry Pell suffered a gluteal injury in the pre-match
warm-up against Argyle but managed to play the full 90 minutes and
scored the Dons’ goal, so he should be fine to continue.
On-loan Cardiff forward Jesse Darko is pushing for a full debut
after coming on as a half-time sub.
Rashid Yussuff is a doubt through illness, fellow midfielder
Peter Sweeney has a toe injury and defender Will Antwi a hip
The Black Cats midfielder has been struggling for some time with
the problem, and visited a specialist earlier this week.
Manager Martin O’Neill said: “He went to see the specialist and
he has given him an injection. At this moment, he is hoping in the
next couple of weeks that that would cure things.
“But if it didn’t do, then we might have to have another look at
things, so we will see how it goes.”
Asked if surgery might be needed if the injection does not solve
the problem, O’Neill replied: “That has been mentioned, but we will
“I wouldn’t start to draw too many conclusions from that at the
moment, but that might be the case.”
Bale cracked in a superb last-minute strike to secure a 3-2 win
at West Ham on Monday night, which moved Spurs up into third place
in the Premier League.
The Welshman – once scouted by Arsenal when a youngster at
Southampton – is being heralded as one of the best in Europe, up
alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Wenger, though, insists his team must concentrate on delivering
a performance themselves rather than worry about what Bale might
“We don’t plan for anybody. It is always the same – focus on our
strengths and forget about your opponent,” said Wenger. “There is
nobody special that you least like to face. All players have
“What is important when you are a manager is that you are
focused, that hasn’t changed over the last 15 years, you always
make sure your team is at its best, prepares well and focuses on
playing the football that we love.
“What is important before a game like that is just to focus on
our game and forget all the rest.”
Despite their recent disappointments against Blackburn in the FA
Cup and losing at home to Bayern Munich in the first leg of their
Champions League last-16 clash, Arsenal have found some form in the
Premier League, where they are unbeaten in five games winning the
Should Arsenal – who are now just two points behind
fourth-placed Chelsea – secure victory on enemy territory this
weekend, the gap on Spurs would be reduced to just one point.
“It is an interesting game because there is something at stake,”
“We are confident and we are on a good run in the Premier
League. If you look at our record, it is very good in recent games,
so we will just focus on our strengths, that is it.”
Wenger added: “Sunday is a very important game because it’s in
the final part of the Premier League season, the outcome will give
a big boost to the team who wins it.
“This is a derby and [will be] a very intense game, as usual, it
is always very tight, always a big fight.
“If you look at our record in the last 15 or 16 years, it is
very good. Of course we want to continue to maintain that
Arsenal will be without defender Bacary Sagna (knee) on Sunday,
while midfielder Abou Diaby is rated as 50/50 with a calf
Bristol Rovers boss John Ward has received mixed news on the
While Ryan Brunt looks likely to return after missing the last
two games, Scottish striker David Clarkson will not play again this
season as he needs an operation on an ankle problem.
“David needs an operation and won’t play again this season,”
Ward told the Bristol Evening Post. “His ankle is not right so we
really have to look at that.
“It is a shame because David is a senior member of the squad and
an important player for us, but he just can’t get that ankle
Clarkson’s place in the squad looks likely to be taken by former
Sunderland striker Oumare Tounkara who signed a short-term deal
with the club on Thursday.
The Pirates announced earlier this week that Seanan Clucas is
out for the season with a knee injury, while winger Fabian
Broghammer is also a doubt due to an on-going hamstring
But defender Clayton McDonald returns after missing Tuesday
night’s defeat at Northampton to be present at the birth of his
Burton will check on Jacques Maghoma.
Maghoma was substituted due to injury after just over an hour of
the 3-2 home win over Morecambe on Tuesday night and the winger is
a doubt ahead of the weekend, meaning manager Gary Rowett may have
to change his starting line-up for the first time in four
“He’s obviously hurt himself and I would assume that makes him a
doubt for Saturday’s match,” said Rowett, who admitted he
considered making changes for the Shrimps match in midweek.
“I was a little bit concerned because I thought I needed to
change it and maybe put two or three fresh bodies in, but it’s
difficult when you’re winning and have been in such great form.
“It’s unfair on the lads in the side, too, so I decided to go
with the same team.”
Should Rowett opt to freshen things up against Rovers he has
plenty of options.
Striker Calvin Zola and skipper Zander Diamond, available again
on Saturday after serving a four-match suspension, are itching to
get back into the team while defender Andrew Corbett, midfielders
Jimmy Phillips, Jack Dyer and Adam Drury and striker Matthew
Paterson have all had to settle for places on the bench
Leyton Orient will check on Martin Rowlands and Shaun Batt ahead
of the visit of the Cherries.
Midfielder Rowlands has missed the last two matches due to a
groin injury and on-loan Millwall striker Batt came off against
Sheffield United in midweek with a tight hamstring.
Top scorer Kevin Lisbie is on the mend after a hamstring injury
but is unlikely to be risked while defender Gary Sawyer misses out
again with a knee problem.
Boss Russell Slade started with Batt as the lone frontman in the
goalless draw with the Blades so fellow strikers Charlie MacDonald
and David Mooney could return if he opts for two up front at
Winger Lee Cook could also be recalled after dropping to the
bench at Bramall Lane.
Bournemouth will be without midfield regular Harry Arter as they
look to get back to winning ways.
The 2-0 defeat to Coventry in midweek made it three straight
losses without a goal for Eddie Howe’s men and they will be missing
Arter, suspended for two games after picking up his 10th yellow
card of the season.
The 23-year-old has made 33 appearances this season for the
Cherries, scoring six times, and joins a growing absentee list at
the Goldsands Stadium.
Captain Miles Addison will miss the rest of the campaign with a
foot injury sustained back in November while fellow defenders Tommy
Elphick and Charlie Daniels are also missing.
Matt Ritchie lined up at left-back against the Sky Blues and he
could be given the nod again while striker Brett Pitman is pushing
for a return to the starting line-up.
Marc Pugh missed out in midweek due to illness but the club are
hopeful he will be able to return and are monitoring the