Coventry hearing next week

March 22, 2013

El-Hadji Ba has welcomed reported interest from Sunderland, Wigan and Newcastle and says he would love to play in the Premier League.

Prior to making his debut with Le Havre in February last year, the France U20 international was linked with a move to Tottenham.

The defensive midfielder is now understood to be attracting interest from numerous clubs, and is regarded by some as the best prospect to come out of the Le Havre academy since Paul Pogba.

Pogba, who moved to Juventus from Manchester United and recently received a call up to the France squad, has provided inspiration to Ba as he looks to take his own career to the next level.


"He is definitely the one for me to follow in his footsteps at the moment," Ba said.

"Pogba is doing very well and I am happy for him to be playing for one of the top teams in the world in Juventus.

"I want to improve, and it is very good to hear that clubs have been scouting me.

"I would love to play in England one day. If teams have a good enough offer, then they (Le Havre) will let me go."

Sheffield United striker Jamie Murphy has been ruled out of Saturday's home game through injury.

Murphy was forced out of last week's heavy defeat at Stevenage and is struggling with back and hamstring problems.

Teenager Callum McFadzean replaced Murphy and could be in line for his first league start for the Blades, but on-loan pair Jonathan Forte and Dominic Poleon provide manager Danny Wilson with further options.

Wilson has no other new injury or suspension worries, but could be tempted to make one or two changes.

Defender Danny Higginbotham and forward Chris Porter, back from his loan spell at Shrewsbury, are pushing for recalls.

Teenage striker Diego De Girolamo and defender Lecsinel Jean-Francois have both had surgery to repair cruciate ligament damage and will miss the rest of the season.

The Blades are hoping to climb back into an automatic promotion spot with victory over the second-placed Bees.

Kevin O'Connor and Farid El Alagui are close to returning to the Brentford squad ahead of the trip to their promotion rivals.

The duo have been sidelined since early in the season but made their comebacks for the reserves this week.

Club captain and long-serving midfielder O'Connor suffered an ankle injury in November and striker El Alagui has been out with a knee injury since October.

But both came through an hour of action on Monday afternoon, so boss Uwe Rosler must decide whether to take them to Bramall Lane or give them another reserve run-out first.

Defender Scott Barron (hip) and back-up goalkeeper Richard Lee (shoulder) have undergone operations and will be out for the rest of the season.

The Sky Blues are three points off the play-off places with seven games left and travel to Fratton Park to face a Pompey side who are eight points adrift of safety, but have lost just one of their last five games.

And Pressley knows his side will have to be at their best to keep their top-six hopes alive.

"It is always difficult playing sides who are fighting for their lives as they have so much to play for," he told the club's official website.

"They will be determined to get the win and we need to be bringing our best game to Fratton Park this weekend.

"They are similar to Hartlepool in that sense and we saw how difficult that game was, so we need the same commitment again.

"Every single day here we train to win, and I will be expecting that mentality to come through on the pitch this weekend.

"We need to be able to keep the momentum up and with us just three points outside the play-offs, there is everything to play for.

"I want to create a real winning culture at this football club and you only achieve that by setting standards and then maintaining them."

Sir Alex Ferguson has also been fined ?8,500 for non-fulfilment of media obligations after the same match

European football's governing body UEFA confirmed the sanctions on Friday afternoon following a meeting of its control and disciplinary body.

"Manchester United FC midfield player Nani has been suspended for one match by UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body, following the red card he received at the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg against Real Madrid CF at Old Trafford on 5 March," a UEFA statement read.

"Manchester United head coach Sir Alex Ferguson has been fined ?10,000 for non-fulfilment of the post-match media obligations at the same match."

Nani would have been banned for one match regardless as a result of his red card for a tackle on Alvaro Arbeloa during United's 2-1 defeat which saw them exit the competition.

However, the disciplinary panel decided there were no exceptional circumstances which warranted an increase.

The fine handed out to Ferguson is effectively a slap on the wrist after the Scot failed to attend the mandatory post-match press conference.

His place was taken by assistant Mike Phelan who said Ferguson was too "distraught" to face the media.

Ferguson was furious about Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir's decision to show a red card which he felt swung the tie in Real's favour.

More severe penalties could have included a touchline ban but UEFA did not deem it a serious enough offence to implement that.

The former Portsmouth midfielder, who brought global attention to the issue of racism in football after leading his fellow Milan players off the pitch during a friendly in Italy after being abused, has been appointed to FIFA's new anti-discrimination task force.

Ghana international Boateng said there should be zero tolerance for racism.

Asked if he would walk off again if abused, he told CNN World Sport: "I think we should not accept and tolerate it anywhere, in any game. Even if it's a World Cup final, if it's a Champions League final.

"For me, honestly, I would do it even in the Champions League final. If I feel it is racial abuse, I would do it even in the Champions League final.

"Of course it's a different situation - there's a lot of money involved and if my team-mates would follow me, I don't know because it's a totally different situation. But for my part, I would do exactly the same."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he was delighted that Boateng has agreed to join the task force and stressed the need for tougher sanctions for racism.

"I've said before, empty stadiums or imposing fines is inadequate. Sanctions have to be severe - points deductions or disqualification," he said on Twitter.

"FIFA needs strong personalities like Kevin-Prince Boateng to bring experience and credibility. I invited him to be part of FIFA's anti-discrimination task force and I'm delighted that he accepted."

The 19-year-old midfielder, who signed a three-year deal with the Eagles in the summer, has made nine appearances for the Selhurst Park club but has not featured for the first team since August.

De Silva will not be available for the Bees' clash against Cheltenham but could make his debut against Dagenham on Good Friday.

Arena Coventry said earlier this month that it was owed more than ?1.3million and planned to ask a High Court judge to place the club into administration.

Lawyers representing Arena Coventry appeared at the High Court in London on Friday to outline the latest state of play.

They said Arena Coventry bosses had been concerned by a statement made by the club earlier this week - and needed more time to consider their position.

A judge adjourned the hearing until Tuesday.

In the statement, a Coventry spokesman had said that a "non-operating subsidiary" of the club had been placed into administration. He said the "football club itself" was not under threat and would continue to "trade as normal".

Eighth-placed Coventry on Saturday travel to bottom-of-the-table Portsmouth - a club placed into administration more than a year ago.