McGuire pleased at progression

BY foxsports • April 17, 2013

Blackburn caretaker manager Gary Bowyer hailed Gael Givet after the defender returned from the cold to turn in an all-action display in Tuesday night's 1-0 win over Huddersfield.

The vital Championship clash marked the Frenchman's first league start since Rovers' 2-0 defeat at Blackpool in December.

Givet, 31, is set to resume duties at centre-back alongside skipper Scott Dann at Watford on Saturday as Grant Hanley completes a two-match ban.

"He was immense," said Bowyer. "It was a fantastic performance from him.

"He's a real, real warrior and it was an awesome performance that I think inspired everybody else.

"The club's blessed with three outstanding centre-halves in Grant Hanley, Scott Dann and Gael Givet. Gael's shown his worth."

The Hoops and Scotland winger, 21, has been plagued with injuries this season and returned from a "nerve problem" for the 4-3 extra-time Scottish Cup semi-final win over Dundee United at Hampden on Sunday after being out since March 6.

With a view to Celtic's early start in the Champions League next season - the first of three qualifiers for the Parkhead club begin in the middle of July - boss Lennon has said he could give some players a rest after the SPL title was wrapped up.

That could happen on Sunday against Inverness, if second-placed Motherwell do not hand it to them on a plate by failing to beat Dundee United on Friday night.

Forrest, though, is looking to feature in all five remaining SPL games and the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Hibernian, while hoping to be included in the Scotland squad for the 2014 World Cup qualifier away to Croatia on June 7, as he bids to make up for lost time.

"I don't need a rest, said the former Celtic youth player, speaking at the club's Lennoxtown training complex where he was publicising the visit of Caley.

"I have had my time off being injured so I want to play in all the games.

"I played on Sunday so I'm hoping to play the remainder of the season.

"Obviously there are only six games left so it is not the best for me but I want to play in as many games as I can.

"If I am fit (for the Scotland game), I will be available for selection.

"It was nerve problem which was giving me a pain down my leg, which wasn't good. It has been like that since October.

"But I had an injection on my back to calm things down so hopefully I can play the remainder of the games.

"It was never a major problem, it was niggling but hopefully that's me.

"It has been frustrating. Hopefully I can get over that and play more next season."

Relegation hovered ominously into view at Deepdale by the time Graham Westley's 13-month reign came to an end in February.

Former Leeds and Huddersfield boss Grayson has overseen an upturn in fortunes and last Tuesday's victory over Oldham made mathematically sure of North End's League One status.

A 1-1 draw at Carlisle followed last weekend and Grayson wants to see 100 per cent commitment in the Lilywhites' final three games, starting with the visit of Tranmere on Saturday.

"We're safe in terms of where we are in the league but it doesn't mean to say that we take our foot off the gas because we won't," he said.

"I want to finish as high up the table and win as many games as possible and hopefully that will mean winning every game from now until the end of the season.

"The players have got a duty to do that because they're playing for their livelihoods. Just because we're safe doesn't mean to say players can go out and not perform because if they don't perform then they won't be here next year.

"That's what we'll be doing - working hard in training because our time has only just started now.

"What we do from now until the end of the season and over the summer is what sets us up for a push next year."

Mirallas sparked a half-time confrontation at the Emirates Stadium when the Everton midfielder appeared to squirt water at Wilshere as the players made their way off the field.

Wilshere, just back from a six-week injury lay-off, reacted angrily and Everton players stepped in to prevent a direct confrontation.

However, referee Neil Swarbrick did not feel the incident warranted further action, so neither player will face sanction.

Given the Gunners still have to face Manchester United in a five-game battle for a Champions League spot, the news will come as a welcome relief to Arsene Wenger, who was critical of Everton's robust approach after the goalless draw.

Di Canio has provided much entertainment with his touchline antics since replacing Martin O'Neill in the Sunderland hot seat on March 31, and celebrated wildly in Sunday's stunning victory over Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby.

But Wales international Vaughan, whose wonderful strike was arguably the highlight of the visitors' 3-0 win at St James' Park, insists there is more to the maverick Italian than passion alone.

"You can definitely see what the qualities of the new manager are," said Vaughan. "He's very enthusiastic and fiery, but he's also got good tactical knowledge and gets us well organised, which we saw at Newcastle.

"He made sure everyone was looking forward to the game on Sunday. It was an important game for us, but we had that belief that we could go there and win."

McGuire, 29, was part of the Cod Army squad that progressed through the non-league pyramid to be crowned Blue Square Bet Premier champions last term and has made 38 appearances despite a raft of high-profile arrivals at the Highbury Stadium.

"I've found it okay," the Liverpudlian said. "I was at Tranmere when I was younger.

"I did two years' YTS there and two years' pro there. I was on the bench about 10 times.

"My mates play in the league so I know what it's about, it's no problem to me. Everyone thinks because you've played non-league then you can't cope in the league.

"I don't think there's much of a difference. Teams are a lot more organised and strong, you've just got to be mentally on your game and be switched on all the time because there's good players in this league who will put you to the sword."

Far from jeopardising his future at Fleetwood, McGuire believes this year's reinforcements have helped his development as a player.

"You're bringing lads in who've been up there in the Championship who are good players to play with," he added.

"We've got good players here who should be playing higher, that's my personal opinion.

"You step up your game. Training is stepped up, everything is stepped up and all you can do is learn from them."


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