Lennon expecting McLean offers

Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway has laid into the press for

suggesting that Wilfried Zaha could be on his way to Arsenal.

With the January transfer window looming, the 20-year-old

striker was recently linked with the Gunners.

But when a journalist asked Holloway on Friday about reports of

his possible departure from Selhurst Park, Holloway was having none

of it.

He said: “I’m fed up talking about Wilf. We have some great

players here.

“Why not talk about Andre Moritz or Mile Jedinak or Yannick

Bolasie.

“Wilf’s our player, he’s on a four and half year contract and it

would take a lot more than one player to de-rail us.

“We have many good players. It’s all because he was called up by

England lately.”

The Eagles are currently second in the Championship table and

Holloway added: “I thought it was unprofessional of Arsenal to

mention Zaha.

“I like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He would help our promotion

push. And what about Theo Walcott, he’s out of contract at the end

of this season.

“I bet you wouldn’t start the speculation that way around.”

Gerrard became only the sixth England player to reach 100 caps

in Sweden last month and was regarded as one of the stand-out

performers at Euro 2012, when Roy Hodgson’s team were knocked out

in the quarter-finals by Italy.

The 32-year-old won the award in 2007, and has finished in the

top three on three other occasions, highlighting his consistency

over an international career that now extends over 12 years.

Gerrard is joined on the list by Liverpool team-mate Glen

Johnson and also Joe Hart and Ashley Cole, who won it in 2010.

In addition, Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck is also amongst

the nominees after emerging as top scorer in 2012 with five

goals.

Supporters can vote for their choice on www.thefa.com, with the

winner due to be confirmed at an awards’ dinner at St George’s Park

on Sunday, February 3.

The Perth side face Cowdenbeath in the Scottish Cup on Monday

night after the fourth-round match was rearranged following a

second postponement.

While the full focus for 90 minutes will be on getting three SPL

points, Davidson accepts St Johnstone will have to begin preparing

for the cup tie as the final whistle blows.

Despite the fifth round being almost two months away, cup rules

mean the game is to be played on Monday after a second

postponement, and Cowdenbeath have been handed a possible advantage

after their Irn-Bru First Division clash with Partick Thistle was

postponed.

Davidson said: “It’s not ideal. It’s probably the first time in

my career that I’ve done it.

“I know myself, and a lot of the boys – on the Sunday you feel

okay and the Sunday comes and you feel a lot more stiff.

“So as soon as the game finishes on Saturday, more than any

other game, we have got to make sure we are doing the right things

to get ready for Monday. Ice baths, eating right, drinking right,

getting everything back in your body to make sure you are as close

to 100 per cent as you can be.

“There is nothing we can do about it and we have to make sure we

are as best prepared as we can be.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s Tuesday or Wednesday – you have got

to prepare right, but obviously being Monday it’s going to be

tough.

“There has to be a reason for it being Monday – I’m not sure

why. You have got to just accept it.”

Manager Steve Lomas added: “It’s a strange one. I have never

heard anything like that before.

“You would have thought Tuesday night would have been ideal, but

I don’t know what the rules are.

“It does seem strange when you have got a free week that you put

it on the Monday, 48 hours after a game.

“It will be a challenge, two away games, and Arbroath did

brilliantly at Celtic Park so they will fancy their chances of

causing an upset.

“It’s a tough couple of days but it could be a good couple of

days with two wins.”

St Johnstone will face another trip to Paisley in the fifth

round if they beat Cowdenbeath and Lomas expects to face a St

Mirren side desperate to continue moving forward following a

six-game losing streak. Danny Lennon’s team are now unbeaten in

three.

Lomas said: “They are probably looking at it like us. After the

first five games we probably thought we should be sitting on eight

points rather than the two we had.

“That’s football. It all boils down to the two different ends of

the pitch.

“Can you keep them out and can you take your chances when you

get them? They are the small margins.”

Now the skipper wants to see the Highlanders go a step further

by taking maximum points when the two sides meet again

tomorrow.

County earned a credible goalless draw in their first ever SPL

fixture when they played host to the Steelmen in August.

Brittain said: “There was a lot of emotion going into that game,

a lot of nerves.

“It was our first game in the SPL but I thought we stood up to

the task very well against a side who were still in Europe at that

time.

“We knew ourselves that we could handle life in the SPL.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s very difficult in the SPL and results

are hard to pick up, but I thought that game made a few people sit

up and realise that we’re not just here to make up the numbers.

“We held our heads up after that game and hopefully we can do

the same on Saturday.

“It’s the return fixture at their place and hopefully we can

play to the same standards and possibly come away with something

from the game.”

Tomorrow’s long trip south sees County make their first visit to

Fir Park.

The midfielder added: “It’s a game we’re looking forward to.

It’s a new venue for us and one the boys will hopefully enjoy.

“Hopefully we’ll put on a good show and get the three

points.”

Brittain was on the scoresheet as the Dingwall outfit fought

back from behind to earn a draw with high-flying local rivals

Inverness in last week’s William Hill Scottish Cup tie.

He said: “We’ve got to take the positives from that game.

“We scored three goals, played really well and showed grit and

determination to hang on when we went a goal down.

“Not many teams come back from a goal down against Caley this

season, that’s why they’re up there are the top end of the table

and rightly so.

“They deserve to be there but we’ve got to focus on ourselves

and keep taking the positives from the games and we’ll continue to

do that.”

A solitary victory has left the Royals second from bottom in the

table and they face a critical relegation showdown with 18th-placed

Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday.

McDermott admits he fails at any attempt to divert his attention

away from planning Reading’s escape from relegation, but the

51-year-old believes the challenge facing him has honed his

managerial skills.

“I play the guitar now and then and read books, but I’m always

thinking about the next training session, player I need to talk to,

our next game. It’s all about football and where we have got to get

to,” he said.

“I’m a better manager this season than I was last season.

Results wouldn’t suggest that, but I think I will be a better

manager for this experience.

“I’ve learnt that I’m very resilient and the only way to deal

with a situation is to look at the present, not the future nor the

past.

“In the last two years I’ve had to deal with the play-off final

defeat and success of winning the Championship.

“In it’s own way they have their own difficulties and that’s a

funny thing to say, but there are interesting dynamics with both of

them.”

Reading’s precarious position has left McDermott fourth in the

Premier League sack race, despite spending little money on

strengthening his squad during the summer.

A 2-1 victory over Everton in mid-November raised hopes of a

change in fortunes at Madejski Stadium, but three successive

defeats heading into this month’s hectic schedule has restored the

gloom.

McDermott has embraced the most difficult period of his

managerial career, but suggests that Reading are perhaps being

judged too harshly as speculation over his future mounts.

“As a manager I’m working hard to get the solutions and this is

where you earn your money,” he said.

“This is where you find out about everybody and everything and,

believe it or not, I’m relishing it. Would I say I’m having a great

time? No.

“It’s an experience I’ve not really had before because we have

had nothing but success.

“Is this success for Reading right now? Doing what we are doing

with what we have spent – that is a discussion you could have.

“I knew the questions I’m being asked would come, they’re

obvious when you haven’t won for three games. It’s 2012, it’s where

we are.”

A run of eight points from five games has eased the pressure on

Saints manager Nigel Adkins, dropping him beneath his friend

McDermott his the sack race.

“I know Nigel really well. He’s done a fantastic job over a

period of time, performing miracles to get them into this division

with two promotions in two years,” McDermott said.

“I have nothing but admiration for Nigel, he’s a terrific

manager. They’ve invested a lot of money in the summer so they’ve

brought quality.”

The Brazilian limped off during Saturday’s win at Reading.

It came at the end of an impressive recent period for the former

FC Porto star, who has brought added energy to Red Devils’

ranks.

However, after a succession of major injuries, Anderson has now

picked up another one that will keep him out for the remainder of

the month.

“It is a hamstring,” Ferguson told MUTV.

“It will be three or four weeks. It is not serious but it is a

hamstring.”

Davis succeeded club legend Dario Gradi in the Gresty Road

hotseat last November and led Alex to League Two play-off final

glory over Cheltenham, crowning a phenomenal 19-match unbeaten

run.

The Railwaymen lie 14th in the third tier ahead of this

weekend’s trip to Preston and Davis has only presided over 13

defeats in his 58 games at the helm.

His impressive work led to links with the recent managerial

vacancy at former club Burnley, but the 47-year old has now

committed his future to the Railwaymen.

Despite reports suggesting an 18-month rolling contract, Crewe

did not confirm the length of Davis’ new deal when announcing the

news on their official website on Friday evening.

Rangers fans groups immediately called for a boycott of the

Tannadice fixture after the fifth round draw was made.

Ibrox chief executive Charles Green subsequently confirmed the

club would not be taking their allocation for what will be the

first match away to SPL opposition since Rangers were relaunched as

a new company and denied entry to the SPL.

McCoist admits a lack of travelling support for the clash will

not be ideal, but respects the opinions of the vast majority of

supporters on the issue.

He said: “It goes without saying that we are enjoying arguably

our greatest support in terms of numbers and backing in many years

so it’s not an ideal situation that we won’t have any Rangers fans

in the stadium.

“But the club have taken this stance and it’s one that I fully

support as well.

“There are pros and cons in all the arguments and I can see all

sides of the arguments.

“I’ve spoken to a couple of the heads of our supporters groups

for the opinion of their members and they have told me

overwhelmingly that the vast majority – nearly unanimous – didn’t

want to take tickets for the game.

“I value their opinion very highly and I respect their

opinion.

“We all want to move on but, at the same time, I can understand

the stance taken by the supporters. I back them 100%.”

A number of top-flight clubs took into account the views of

their own supporters when they voted to reject newco Rangers’

application for entry to the SPL in the summer.

McCoist added: “When we were voted out of the league, a lot of

the chairmen and club representatives told us that they were

listening to their fans, which is totally understandable and

acceptable.

“With this stance, we’ve decided to do the same.

“I would also say we should tread carefully down that road

because it’s not to say that the fans are going to be 100% right

all the time.

“But I certainly believe they should have a voice and it should

be listened to and appreciated.”

Some Rangers fans believe United chairman Stephen Thompson was

an influential figure in their SPL bid being rejected, before the

club was voted into the Irn-Bru Third Division.

Asked if fans would favour a similar boycott of future away

fixtures against other SPL opposition, McCoist said: “I genuinely

don’t know.

“I can’t answer that question because I don’t know what the

opinions of the fans are regarding other SPL clubs.

“What I do know is that they feel quite vociferous and vocal in

their support of not taking an allocation at all for this

particular game.”

Rangers will celebrate the club’s 140th year at Ibrox tomorrow

and McCoist stressed the importance of marking the occasion with

three points against Stirling Albion, who inflicted their only

league defeat so far this season.

He said: “There are a lot of top quality Rangers boys coming

back to enjoy the game. I really hope it’s a fantastic

occasion.

“The most important thing from our point of view is that we can

add to it being a fantastic occasion if we do the business.

“We must keep our focus for the game.”

The highly-rated Scotland under-21 midfielder has been linked

with Burnley and Wolves among others, and he underlined his promise

last week with the opening goal in Saints’ 2-0 Scottish Cup

fourth-round win over Brechin.

Ahead of the home SPL clash with St Johnstone, Lennon admitted

that he is getting ready for official interest in the 20-year-old

to soon be registered.

“I am bracing myself to be fair,” he said.

“I haven’t spoken to Kenny but the best thing that he can do is

to keep doing his talking on the pitch and what will come for him

will come, there is no doubt about that.

“We haven’t had direct or official interest but it is no secret,

you see scouts at every home game.

“But I welcome anyone to come and see what we are doing at our

football club, it is a sign that we are heading in the right

direction.

“Sometimes it is out of your control but as long as we are

getting the best out of him every time he puts on a black and white

jersey then he is doing his job.”

With one eye on the upcoming transfer window, Lennon is taking a

look at Sporting Kansas City’s 22-year-old English-born forward,

Dom Dwyer, with a view to signing him on a short-term loan

deal.

He said: “I became aware of Dom through an agent. Kansas City’s

season is over and there are one or two of the MLS players trying

to get over (to Britain).

“It has been on the back burner for a month to six weeks but Dom

is over now.

“It would only be a short term one for us so we will have to

wait and see but the reports we have had on him are positive.”

Meanwhile, Jon Robertson revealed he silenced his dad last week

by scoring his first goal since signing for the Buddies in the

summer.

The former Cowdenbeath midfielder, 23, followed up McLean’s

opener with a glorious strike from 35 yards to seal St Mirren’s

place in the next round and now he is looking to add more.

He said: “I get dog’s abuse, especially from my old man Keith,

for not shooting and the gaffer has been saying that I should

gamble a bit more. I always look for the extra pass.

“My dad is my biggest fan though and he was fair chuffed with

the goal and after last week, if I don’t take on shots now, I never

will.

“It was a special goal but if my next one is a sclaff from two

yards then I will take it.

“As it was coming I was thinking hit it, hit it, hit it, but

when you look at it over you think you should take a touch and have

a shot but sometimes things like that happen.

“I just want to push on from there and show why the gaffer

brought me here.”