Shots extend loan duo’s deals

Thomas Sorensen has admitted he does not want to sit on the

bench for the remainder of his Stoke City contract and is keeping

his future options open.

The former Denmark goalkeeper wants to play regularly but

accepts that he will have to be patient as the Potters are

performing well and Asmir Begovic has been a key figure between the

posts.

He believes Stoke know where he stands and he is prepared to

consider his future if he cannot break into the team.

“Right now, it is of course a frustrating situation for me.”

Sorensen told TV2 Sporten.

“The side is playing well and we are not conceding many goals.

Of course, that makes it very hard for me.

“I don’t want to sit on the bench the remaining time of my

contract, but I believe they know that.”

Sorensen, 36, has previously declared that he would like to play

on for another four years before retiring and has been linked with

a move back to Denmark.

“I don’t want to exclude anything, it depends what the eventual

offer looks like,” he added.

“In that situation, I also have to think about my family.”

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Pilley sprung a surprise move in sacking Micky Mellon following

the Cod Army’s 3-2 defeat to Aldershot in the FA Cup last weekend,

despite them lying in the League Two play-off places ahead of

Saturday’s match with fellow promotion-hopefuls Southend.

“No, not at all,” said Pilley when asked whether Alexander had

been set any goals upon penning a rolling contract at the Highbury

Stadium. “I want the football club to progress but I am realistic,

I live in the real world.

“He picks up a squad which is not his own. He’s got to establish

the abilities of the players, he’s got to stamp his own identity

onto the squad.

“Eventually, over time I have no doubt the squad will become the

Graham Alexander squad and, given time, I’m sure the club will

continue to progress and continue to be a success under

Graham.”

Pilley admitted he was happy to draw a line under a rare

unseemly chapter in Fleetwood’s meteoric rise from non-league

obscurity.

“It’s been hectic, it’s been stressful because I care greatly

about the football club,” he said.

“It’s been a time whereby we’ve had to do everything we can to

ensure we make the right decision.

“We’ve been incredibly busy – I’ve hardly seen my family, the

truth be known. I’ve not travelled anywhere, that’s just a

reflection of the hours we’ve put in.

“But we’re convinced we’ve made the right decision and we’re

looking forward to a really exciting future with Graham.

The Spaniard netted only his second goal of the season last

weekend to secure a win over Queen of the South in the Scottish

Cup.

He has now set his sights on adding to that tally and admits a

goal against the Scottish champions would be “spectacular”.

But, having claimed maximum points against Celtic already this

season, Borja would be satisfied simply to record another win.

He said: “I have played eight or nine games now so I have more

confidence in myself.

“The last goal has given me more confidence and, if I play, I’m

hoping for a good game on Saturday.

“It would definitely be spectacular to score against Celtic.

“I want my team to win and, if I score, that’s even better.

“If I don’t score, I’ll still be happy for my team if they

win.”

The former Real Madrid youth player arrived at Rugby Park in the

summer, having spent his entire career until then in his native

Spain.

The 30-year-old added: “I think I needed time to get used to

Scottish football and the style of life.

“I can say I’m settled into this life now. I’m ready now to do

my best and to play better.”

Celtic sealed their progression to the last 16 of the Champions

League thanks to a dramatic victory over Spartak Moscow on

Wednesday night.

And Borja believes the Hoops’ European success can only help

boost the image of Scottish football around the world.

He said: “The Champions League is the best tournament in Europe,

possibly the world.

“I’m impressed that Celtic are in the next stage of the

Champions League.

“It’s good for the Scottish league because the world now looks

at this league better than before.”

However, the forward will be more than happy for Kilmarnock to

take advantage of any tired legs within the Celtic ranks at Rugby

Park tomorrow.

He added: “Hopefully they will be a little bit tired. We just

have to try to do our best.”

The Canaries have flown up the Premier League table since the

October international break, beating both Arsenal and Manchester

United at home as well as securing a place in the quarter-finals of

the Capital One Cup.

However, Hughton knows that impressive form will be put to a

severe test against Michael Laudrup’s side, who recorded a 2-0 away

win over Arsenal last weekend with a late brace from in-form

Spanish frontman Michu just a few days after beating high-flying

West Brom at The Liberty Stadium.

“There was a very good platform for Laudrup when he took over,

but he has tweaked the formation and brought in some very good

players,” Hughton said.

“I have been very impressed, not just with the run they are on,

but also with the style they are playing which is an exciting brand

of football, as well as anybody in this division.

“There have been no fluke results, they have earned them. It is

not about one player, it is about the quality they have got.

“At this moment they are doing very well and all look real good

[summer] purchases, particularly Michu, who is scoring the

goals.

“We will have to make sure we are as resilient as possible, but

also have a threat ourselves.”

Both sides maintained their top-flight status last season having

come up from the Championship, and following a dismal start to the

new campaign under Hughton – who took over when Paul Lambert left

for Aston Villa in the summer – the Canaries looked relegation

fodder.

However, Hughton remained confident results would improve.

“Even in the earlier part of the season the performances were

not so bad,” said Hughton, whose side last lost 4-1 at Chelsea on

October 6.

“However, on the back of two heavy defeats there was a conscious

effort we needed to tighten up as a unit and to put some wrongs

right. It is still all about getting consistency and putting down a

marker.”

With England goalkeeper John Ruddy sidelined because of a thigh

injury which needed surgery, Mark Bunn is again set to

deputise.

Hughton has looked to maintain a settled side whenever possible,

naming the same 10 outfield players for a spell of three games in

eight days.

“Everybody wants to play at the moment, I haven’t got anybody

who feels like they want a rest or a player we particularly want to

rest,” Hughton said.

“The decisions will be solely based on a particular team for a

game.

“We have got a competitive squad at the moment and certainly

have no fear about making any changes because any changes I did

make would be because I felt it would make the team as equally

strong.”

Midfielder Jonny Howson has seen his chances limited by the

consistent performances from Republic of Ireland international Wes

Hoolahan, who is revelling in his support role behind Grant

Holt.

The former Leeds captain, though, has few complaints.

Howson said: “Wes has been first class, his retention of the

ball and the things he creates…he is up there with one of the

best I have ever played with in my career.

“You can see no matter what teams we have come up against, he

has always caused them problems, so it would be very difficult to

take Wes out of there.

“But it is all about the team and the lads are doing

terrifically well.”

Manager Dean Holdsworth told the official club website: “I am

thankful to the Player Share Fund who have helped support part of

these important agreements for the club.”

Shots teenager Jack Barton has joined Ryman League Premier side

Kingstonian on loan until January 5 2013.