Burton exit looming for Taylor

Germany will hope to take firm control of their World Cup

qualifying group as they head into a fixture double-header with


Joachim Low’s Group C leaders travel to Astana this week before

hosting the Kazakhs, who have collected just one point from four

games, in Nuremberg next Tuesday.

Their two closest rivals, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland,

face each other in Stockholm on Friday. Ireland then return to

Dublin to play Austria next week while the Swedes are not in


The situation could present an opportunity for Germany, even

though they have already played a game more than Sweden and

Ireland, to open up a significant lead.

The Germans currently have a three-point advantage over Sweden

with the Irish a point further back.

Midfielder Thomas Muller told DFB-TV: “We have to win there. For

us, six points that we have been targeted.”

Sweden, who remarkably fought back from 4-0 down to claim an

unlikely point against Germany in Berlin last October, are expected

to prove the most likely challengers for top spot.

Germany are due to travel to Sweden in the final round of

fixtures in October but captain Philipp Lahm is not thinking ahead

to what could prove a shoot-out for top spot.

Lahm told the German Football Association’s (DFB) website: “If

Sweden win all of their games, then that’s how the situation would


“But I wouldn’t be afraid. Knockout games are always interesting

and I see that as a challenge, but we don’t need to concern

ourselves with Sweden just now.

“We have a few other challenges to overcome and we shouldn’t

place the second step before the first. We are just looking at

ourselves and if we perform, then I’m sure our quality will see us


Sweden are also focusing on their immediate task with Giovanni

Trapattoni’s Ireland visiting the Friends Arena.

Coach Erik Hamren said: “I think Ireland are a really good team.

I am full of respect for them.

“They played in the Euros last summer and if you see the away

statistics from Ireland you can see they are a really tough team to


“We are ready, the players are ready and I am ready. It will be

a tough game and we need to be really good. We have set our goal to

be that good.

“Then we will see what happens. They are only one point behind

us. It is a really important game for us both.”

While Germany will play on an artificial pitch in Kazakhstan,

Sweden and Ireland are likely to play under the Stockholm stadium’s

retractable roof to combat freezing temperatures.

Trapattoni said: “The next match will obviously be very

important for our qualification.

“It will be important to keep in mind there is only one point

between us and Sweden in our pool.

“As always every little detail is important to achieve the

result. Against these strong teams character, technical (ability)

and attitude are important.”

In the group’s other match on Friday, fourth-placed Austria,

hoping to keep the pressure on Sweden and Ireland, host the Faroe

Islands, the bottom side.

Swindon’s second goal – scored by James Collins – in Tuesday’s

2-0 win over the Glovers at Huish Park nudged Johnson’s side out of

the play-off spots.

And ahead of the trip to Carlisle, the Yeovil manager spoke of

his confidence that their coaching staff can turn their fortunes


“I’m confident that me, Terry (Skiverton) and Darren (Way) will

do all we can to get a response up at Carlisle,” Johnson said. “We

have got to make sure we are ready.

“We must not let our season fade away, I will not let that

happen. We have to make sure in the next couple of games we fight

back and get in those play-offs.”

Johnson also confirmed that Jamaica Under-20s captain Omar

Holness has left the club after a trial period.

UEFA had been expected to deliver its verdict on both matters

during and after the game against Real Madrid on Thursday but the

decisions will now be announced on Friday at the earliest.

Nani will definitely receive a one-match suspension for the red

card he picked up for a high tackle on Alvaro Arbeloa during

United’s 2-1 defeat in the second leg of the last-16 clash at Old

Trafford earlier this month.

UEFA do have the power to increase that ban, although given the

dismissal was widely viewed as being exceptionally harsh, it would

be a surprise if it was extended.

Ferguson is in hot water after failing to attend the mandatory

post-match press conference, an offence that in extreme cases can

bring a touchline ban.

The United boss was furious with Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir

over the red card, which he felt swung the tie in Real’s


Assistant manager Mike Phelan said at the time Ferguson was too

“distraught” to face the media.

Ferguson subsequently said it was “hard to keep faith” in the

face of such incidents, and that it was the third time during his

tenure that United had been knocked out of the Champions League as

a direct result of what he felt were poor decisions.

In addition to a touchline suspension, Ferguson could also be

fined or warned about his future conduct.

The 29-year-old, who joined Albion on a free transfer in the

summer of 2011, has not made a first-team appearance since the FA

Cup third-round defeat at Leicester on January 5, when he came on

as a substitute after 62 minutes.

His last start came in the league loss at Barnet on December


Chris Palmer had his contract at the Pirelli Stadium terminated

by mutual consent last Friday and fellow midfielder Taylor may end

up in the same boat.

“Cleve has been a model professional while he’s not been in the

team with the way he’s conducted himself,” Rowett said. “At this

stage of his career, he needs to be involved though.

“I’ve spoken to him. Like Chris, he’s not been in out plans. If

we could help him find somewhere else, or maybe come to some sort

of settlement, then we’ll look at doing that.”