Royal snub from Poyet – Report

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari felt his side’s friendly draw

with Italy in Geneva had been a “useful test” as they gear up for

hosting next year’s World Cup.

The South Americans stormed into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from

Fred and Oscar, but Italy responded in the second period as Daniele

De Rossi and Mario Balotelli brought them level by the hour


Scolari, quoted on the Brazilian federation website, said: “We faced an Italy team that has been playing

together for three years and, of course, had the advantage of

unity. Still, we managed to impose ourselves for part of the match

and showed some good football.

“The most important thing is that the game served as a useful

test, we had to face a very skilled opponent.”

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli was pleased with the character

shown by his side in coming back from a two-goal deficit.

“We played a great game,” he told

“After 30 minutes we conceded two goals and the game seemed to

have been closed out, however we were good (enough to come


Prandelli also hailed the “personality and technical qualities”

of debutants Alessio Cerci and Mattia De Sciglio, and said of

striker Balotelli: “He created a number of chances, he was very

good in attack.”

AC Milan defender De Sciglio was pleased with his bow, and felt

he had acquitted himself well in his duel with Brazil’s Dani


“I try to give my best and to make things easier for the team,

this is a wonderful group and I will try to be there as as long as

possible,” he said.

“We are a great team and we showed that last night. Dani Alves

is a great champion, it is difficult to mark him. I think I did

well in defence, in attack I only came forward a few times to cross

but we were trying not to lose the ball.”

Prandelli was conscious of managing his resources well, with

Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier away to Malta coming up. For Scolari,

their next friendly is against Russia in London on Monday.

Borini sustained a dislocation in February but is progressing

well, however, Kelly’s comeback from anterior cruciate ligament

surgery in September will not be rushed.

“Fabio Borini was outside for the first time today (Friday) so

he’s starting that progression – passing balls, running and doing

ball work,” said head of performance Glen Driscoll.

“He’s due to be probably another six weeks from this point on.

The injury he’s had is normally eight to 12 weeks. He’s quite a

quick rehabilitator.

“At the moment, it’s looking pretty positive for Fabio that he

could be back ahead of schedule and maybe make the end of the


There are more issues to be taken into consideration with the

type of injury Kelly suffered, which usually has about a nine-month

lay-off period. And while the 22-year-old has made such good

progress the temptation may be to give him a run out before the end

of the campaign, Driscoll stressed that may not be in the

defender’s best interests.

“Martin is doing extremely well; he’s probably at the late stage

of his rehab,” he told

“We’ll probably look to prioritise getting him back for

pre-season 110% fit – 10% fitter, stronger and quicker, more

powerful and agile than he was previously.

“He’ll probably be in a position where it will be tempting to

put him into games again this season but it will show class and

quality if we make sure that he’s in a very strong position so he

can fly next season.

“Martin should look at what Steven Gerrard has achieved this

season (playing every minute of every Premier League match so far):

people would never have considered that he would be available for a

full campaign. He should take great hope from that and know that if

he continues to work and continues his professionalism, hopefully

the future is bright. We hope to give him every chance.”

Michael Symes is expected to return to the Burton squad.

Symes missed the draw at Dagenham & Redbridge last Saturday

with a niggling groin injury. The on-loan Leyton Orient striker has

seen a specialist in London and rested this week to give him the

best possible chance of being available.

“He’s been a little bit stiff and I’ve seen him holding his

groin and his hip a little bit in recent weeks,” said Albion boss

Gary Rowett. “We’ve kind of ignored it because he’s been doing so


“But we decided to leave him out last weekend and he’s rested

this week and hopefully we’ll see him fine for the rest of the


Calvin Zola has been playing with a hip/hamstring problem in

recent weeks and that has flared up again, making the striker a

doubt ahead of the weekend.

Aaron Webster resumed training on Thursday after his hamstring

issue while fellow defender Nathan Stanton is fit again after a

knee injury.

Goalkeeper Matt Ingram will make his competitive Wycombe debut

after being recalled from a loan spell at Oxford City.

The 19-year-old youth product will step into the starting

line-up with Tottenham loanee Jordan Archer away on international

duty with Scotland Under-21s.

Gareth Ainsworth, who believes his side need just one more win

to be sure of League football for another season, is not ruling out

further changes after an energy-sapping trip to Bradford in


QPR loanee Bruno Andrade has returned to his parent club for

treatment and will have his ankle assessed by the Chairboys’

medical staff upon his return this Friday.

Midfielder Stuart Lewis is likely to feature despite being one

yellow card away from a two-match suspension.

Ainsworth will pit his wits against Burton boss Gary Rowett, a

team-mate back in their Cambridge United days.

Portsmouth will be unchanged for the clash.

Caretaker boss Guy Whittingham has named the same starting XI

for the past five matches and seen his side collect two wins and

two draws while falling to a narrow 1-0 defeat to in-form Leyton


It means defender Sam Sodje will have to be content with a place

on the bench again following his recent return from suspension.

Striker John Akinde returned as a substitute in the 1-1 draw at

leaders Doncaster last weekend following a sickness bug and should

be on the bench once more.

Experienced duo David Connolly and Patrick Agyemang, who have

scored five goals between them in the last five matches, will start

in attack again.

Coventry will be without captain Carl Baker for their trip to

the South Coast.

The midfielder, who has an impressive 14 goals to his name this

season, has flown to Germany to undergo surgery on a hernia which a

has been troubling him for some time but hopes to miss just the

single game.

The Sky Blues are already without leading scorer Leon Clarke,

shortlisted for the League One Player of the Season award, after he

underwent an ankle operation which has ruled him out for the

remainder of the campaign.

However, manager Steven Pressley insists the 21-goal striker is

recovering well and is on target to return for pre-season training

in the summer.

Defender Richard Wood was back in training on Thursday following

his groin injury but will not be match fit for around another seven

to 10 days, while Blair Adams and Stephen Elliott (both knee) are

each making great progress and stand a chance of playing again

before the season is out.

The highly-rated midfielder has created a buzz in Europe over

the past few years and has scored seven goals for the Dutch giants

this season.

Eriksen has been linked with several clubs in the Premier League

but insists he is not ruling out an extension with the

Amsterdam-based side.

The 21-year-old is unsure if he will still be at Ajax when the

summer transfer window closes, but expects to return for pre-season


“I don’t know if I will be an Ajax player after the summer,” the

Danish international told Sporten.

“I will probably start up training with Ajax, and then we will

see what happens. I don’t exclude anything.

“I haven’t received a detailed offer of an extension yet, but my

agent has had talks with the club regarding that matter.”

Northampton will have an unchanged squad.

The Cobblers have not played since March 12 after last

Saturday’s trip to Wycombe was postponed due to a waterlogged


Ahead of that game, Aidy Boothroyd was mulling over whether to

make changes following the 1-1 draw against Morecambe – and the

Town boss faces the same decision this weekend.

Leading scorer Adebayo Akinfenwa was rested again at the Globe

Arena, coming on as a substitute midway through the second half for

the second game in succession.

With Alex Nicholls the only absentee as he continues his

recovery from a broken leg, 17-goal striker Akinfenwa is one of

many options available to Boothroyd.

Fellow forward Clive Platt and midfielder Lewis Hornby are

pushing for recalls after being benched against the Shrimps, while

midfielder Luke Guttridge and striker Jake Robinson are also


Northampton slipped to sixth in the table last weekend after

they were left kicking their heels.

Promotion rivals Port Vale, Cheltenham and Exeter all took full

advantage of the Cobblers’ inactivity with victories, with the

Robins and Grecians leapfrogging Boothroyd’s side in the


Oxford boss Chris Wilder has no fresh injury concerns as his

side prepare for the crucial clash.

The U’s travel to Sixfields knowing defeat could leave them nine

points adrift of the top seven with six games remaining.

And Wilder could include Jon-Paul Pittman on the bench after the

forward returned to training following his dislocated shoulder.

The former Crawley and Wycombe forward has been missing since

December and he looks set to feature in the matchday squad.

Oxford have lost just two in their last eight games but their

play-off hopes suffered a blow when Chesterfield won 1-0 at the

Kassam last weekend.

The U’s remain without long-term injury victims goalkeeper Ryan

Clarke (shoulder), striker Justin Richards (knee) and midfielder

Peter Leven (knee).

The Premier League strugglers have been searching for a new boss

since sacking Brian McDermott earlier this month but, having held

talks with Reading officials on Wednesday, Poyet has opted to stay


McDermott led Reading to the Championship title last year but he

was fired on 12 March after a 2-1 home defeat to Aston Villa left

Reading four points from safety, and on a losing run of four games

in a row.

A 1-0 defeat at leaders Manchester United followed and the

Royals are now seven points behind 17th-placed Aston Villa, with

only goals scored keeping them off the bottom of the table.

They are reportedly keen to appoint a new boss before travelling

to Arsenal a week on Saturday and are understood to have discussed

the role with Poyet before he went on holiday on Wednesday.

But the 45-year-old Poyet, who has been with Brighton since

November 2009, has decided to remain with the side who he led to

the League One title and currently has in the thick of the battle

for Championship play-off places.

Former Southampton manager Nigel Adkins is now seen as the

leading candidate to replace McDermott, although caretaker boss

Eamonn Dolan may yet be left in charge for the remainder of the