Will Genia has warned the British and Irish Lions that the best is yet to come from Australia with the rivals ready to decide their drawn series at ANZ Stadium on Saturday. Only three points have separated the teams in two nerve-jangling Tests and another epic encounter is expected in Sydney when they collide one final time. The general perception is that the momentum of the series has shifted towards Australia and Wallabies ringmaster Genia is convinced they will full throttle when it matters most. “I’m very confident that we haven’t produced our best performance yet,” the scrum-half said. “We can honestly say that we probably haven’t played our best rugby throughout the series so far.” He added: “We’ve probably made too many errors to give ourselves the opportunity to play any sort of fast-flowing rugby. We were able to do that in the last 20/30 minutes of the Test in Melbourne and we’ll take a lot of confidence out of that moving forward. “I expect tomorrow to be a really tough contest. Whether the scoreboard reflects that or not, we’ll just have to wait and see. There’s not been many points scored but there’s been a lot of intent, hence a lot of errors on our part last week and on their part as well.” Australia face a Lions backline that is missing four-time tourist Brian O’Driscoll, who has been dropped with head coach Warren Gatland preferring the all-Wales combination of Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies. The 34-year-old Ireland centre’s Lions career is over and it may be a call that comes back to haunt Gatland if events at the ANZ Stadium do not go his way. “It was obviously disappointing I guess in a sense for Brian,” said Genia. “You would have loved to have seen him have that fairytale finish emotionally, but Warren said he made the decision based purely on rugby and he left his heart out of it. “I guess you’ve got to give him respect for that. He’s gone back to combinations of guys who have done well for him in the past.” Press Association
A statement from the club read: “Stoke City can confirm that Cameron Jerome accepts the FA charges made against him in relation to breaches of its betting rules. “Cameron has admitted the charges and will in due course attend an Independent Regulatory Commission, at which he will be supported by the club. “The club or the player will not be making any further comment at this time.” Jerome is facing the prospect of a ban – in June, Tottenham midfielder Andros Townsend was fined £18,000 and banned for four months, three of those months suspended, for similar offences. The charges meant that he missed playing for England Under-21s in the European Championships after he withdrew from the squad. An FA statement said: “The FA has charged Stoke City’s Cameron Jerome with breaches of its Rules in relation to a number of betting offences. “Jerome has admitted the charges. A date for an independent regulatory commission to hear the case will be set in due course.” Stoke say they will support their striker Cameron Jerome when he appears before a disciplinary commission having admitted charges of breaching the Football Association’s betting regulations. The 26-year-old, a former Birmingham player and England Under-21 international, has been charged with betting on a competition in which his team plays, which is contrary to FA regulations. It is understood that there is no suggestion of any match-fixing allegations or that Jerome has gambled on games he has been involved in. Press Association
Reports in France claim United offered Tottenham close to 150million euros (£125million) for the winger, who joined Real Madrid for 100million euros. Speaking after his side’s 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace, Moyes told BT Sport that now the transfer window had shut he would not be commenting on such a matter. David Moyes refused to confirm or deny if Manchester United had launched a bid to sign Gareth Bale. Press Association However he added: “I have said many times we are always bidding for the best players.” Speaking on Friday, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said: “I know that Tottenham received a higher bid for Gareth Bale than the one from Real Madrid.” And French newspaper L’Equipe claimed that bid came from Manchester United, but Bale personally insisted on joining Real Madrid.
Press Association “It is too early. They are not out of the title race,” Wenger said. “We are only two points in front of all the others. “Are Man United out of the title race? No, but of course 10 points starts to be a little gap.” Wenger continued: “If you have the choice, you want to be in the race at the top, but you cannot rule Man United out today. “They have big players, big experience and they are a big club. “It (points advantage) is three games basically, that is very quick in our league.” Wenger has a wealth of options in midfield, with the return to match fitness of Santi Cazorla following an ankle injuring meaning Aaron Ramsey could be rested to the bench against Norwich. The Wales international replaced Mathieu Flamini just before half-time after the French midfielder suffered double vision following a clash of heads with Alex Tettey and is now a doubt for Tuesday night’s Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund as a result. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is not about to write off Manchester United’s Barclays Premier League title challenge just yet. Wenger knows he will need to fully utilise the group if Arsenal are to mount a sustained push for honours in 2014. “We have a squad that is, number and quality wise, very, very good. After that in January we are not desperate (to buy) now,” the Arsenal boss said. “If there is a good opportunity (to buy), why not? But if you know who is out injured now, they will come back in November, the beginning of December, then you have a really massive squad.” Wenger added: “With the number of competitions involved, everybody thinks they have a chance to play. That is what is the most important. “As long as you fight for things, everybody keeps the focus.” Wenger revealed England forward Theo Walcott would need a couple more weeks of recovery time following a minor surgical procedure on an abdominal problem. “Theo had a set-back on Thursday. He had to stop, to jog again, I don’t think we will see him against Dortmund, nor Crystal Palace nor Chelsea (in the Capital One Cup),” the Arsenal boss said. “He is at least two weeks away now.” The Gunners moved clear at the top of the table following their 4-1 victory over Norwich and are now some eight points ahead of David Moyes’ side after the Red Devils conceded a late equaliser at home to Southampton. Wenger, though, is refusing to get carried away with league positions just yet, as Arsenal are set to travel to Old Trafford next month the weekend after they host fellow pacesetters Liverpool.
A section of Cardiff fans held a protest against Vincent Tan’s rebranding of the club following the 1-0 south Wales derby win over Swansea. Steven Caulker grabbed the only goal of the game at Cardiff City Stadium to provide some good news for Bluebirds fans after recent events which have seen manager Malky Mackay”s head of recruitment Iain Moody replaced by 23-year-old Kazakh Alisher Apsalyamov, putting the Scot’s position under scrutiny. Tan’s decision to change the club’s colours from their traditional blue to red also remains unpopular with some supporters, and that issue was the central point of the protest, held in the Canton Stand following the final whistle, with one banner reading “Blue then – Blue now – Blue forever”, while another read “Tan out”. Press Association Before the game, a message on Facebook from Bluebirds Unite, a fans’ group opposed to the rebrand, read: “After the final whistle, like-minded fans are encouraged to walk to the Canton Stand and stay there to chant pro-blue/anti-Tan chants. “We need to make ourselves known to Vincent Tan.” Swansea midfielder Jonjo Shelvey could face action from the football authorities after television footage emerged apparently showing him attempting to incite Cardiff fans. At the full-time whistle the Swansea players went to go and applaud the travelling support, but, on his way to that end of the ground, Shelvey appears to make a gesture known as ‘Swim away’ towards the Cardiff fans. The gesture is believed to reference an incident which took place in 1988 where Cardiff fans allegedly retreated into the sea after the two sets of supporters clashed. There had been concerns over potential trouble betweens fans at Sunday’s game, but South Wales Police tweeted on Sunday evening that no arrests had been made at the ground. The tweet read: “No arrests at the Cardiff City Stadium today. Great to see both sets of fans being passionate & well-behaved”.
Press Association O’Neill said: “I am going to try to clear something up here: I am not Roy’s father, absolutely not. “He can look after himself, he can say what he wants. Seriously, he is under absolutely no gagging at all and I am quite sure I would not even have to have that conversation with him. “I am not going to sit there saying, ‘Don’t say this, don’t say that’.” The pair met the players for the first time on Monday evening and conducted their opening training session the following morning. O’Neill admits both parties are still getting to know each other, but he is determined to treat his squad as adults as he sets about the process of stamping his own mark on the team. Asked about discipline, an issue which often taxed predecessor Giovanni Trapattoni, the 61-year-old said: “Well, you must remember I grew up, I played under one of the most mercurial managers there ever was in Brian Clough. “Brian Clough would have come down on an evening the night before a game when we were staying, let’s say, in London and said, ‘Lads, do you want a glass of wine with your meal?’. “That would have been unheard of. He was so unorthodox, he was off the wall, but he had a philosophy that he was dealing with men and that if they couldn’t look after themselves… The 42-year-old former Ireland skipper is due to give his first press conference since being named as O’Neill’s assistant on Wednesday with the media eagerly anticipating his appearance. However, while the manager is adamant that it is he who is in charge, he has no intention of telling Keane what he can and cannot say. “He did not expect if he left the room that these boys would have five glasses of wine. He gave you some leeway. You go across that leeway and he would have cut you in two. “I don’t know, but just hearing the stories, I think Jack [Charlton, former Republic manager] was kind of like that, treating the boys like men. In other words, if you win the game, I will give you some free time. “I’m kind of like that, and I think John O’Shea would tell you. Winning the games is very, very important. If you’ve won and you’ve worked for it, you should be allowed a little bit of time to let your hair down, if that’s the case.” Meanwhile, O’Neill confirmed that the Football Association of Ireland is investigating the possibility that England Under-21 striker Connor Wickham could be eligible. He said: “If someone tells me someone is available, particularly someone I have worked with and might have a chance, I would give it some consideration.” Ireland boss Martin O’Neill has insisted he will not attempt to gag number two Roy Keane.
Press Association They were beaten 3-2 on their own turf by City in December, but West Brom can take further encouragement from the fact that Manuel Pellegrini’s title-chasing outfit could only draw 2-2 with rock-bottom Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. And Mulumbu, quoted on www.wba.co.uk, said: “We’ve done well against the big teams this season, and on Wednesday we saw Sunderland draw against City. “So anything is possible in football, especially in England. “It’s like a cup game. You never know what’s going to happen. “We just need to go there and start well, start sharp like we did last Saturday against Tottenham and show a little bit more strength at the end of the game.” Saturday’s home clash with Spurs finished 3-3, despite West Brom having raced into a 3-0 lead inside the opening 31 minutes. Albion had also been held to a 3-3 draw after surging ahead early on in their previous home game against Cardiff, and Mulumbu admits last weekend’s repeat outcome was hard to take. At the same time, though, the 27-year-old DR Congo international has made it clear he thinks a draw against Tottenham should be seen as a respectable result, and feels the fact the next outing is not until Monday means there is plenty of time for he and his team-mates to have banished any lingering negative feelings. Although the Baggies have struggled overall this season and are currently 16th in the Barclays Premier League, just three points above the relegation zone, they have a decent record against the clubs that presently make up the top seven. Of their 12 league matches so far this term against that opposition, only three have ended in defeat, with them holding Liverpool and Arsenal to draws at The Hawthorns, securing a point both home and away against Chelsea, Everton and Tottenham and also famously winning 2-1 at Manchester United. “To be fair, when you are winning 3-0 against one of the big teams in the Premier League and you draw, that is really hard,” Mulumbu said. “But if someone had asked us before the game if we would have taken a point, I think all in the dressing room would have been happy with that. “I think when you see the game, everyone – the players and the supporters – thought we were able to win it, but that is football. “Now we need to focus on Manchester City, and with the week being really long because we are playing on Monday, we have time to focus on it properly and clear the game against Tottenham from our minds.” As well as the 3-3 draws, there have also been two Albion wins within their last five matches, with both coming on their travels. And Mulumbu added: “I think away from home we are doing really well and that is why we are confident about going to City and seeing if we can find the solution against them. “They are a great team with great players, but we are in good form and we need to keep up the momentum. “We need to be ready – they are looking to finish top of the table and there won’t be any mercy for us, so we are going to have to go there and fight.” West Brom defender Jonas Olsson and midfielder James Morrison are doubts for Monday’s match. Olsson, who came off in the Tottenham encounter because of an Achilles problem, and Morrison, absent from that game due to an ankle complaint, have both missed training this week and will be assessed over the weekend. On-loan winger Scott Sinclair will definitely sit the fixture out as it is against his parent club. West Brom midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu is confident Albion can once again cause problems for a major side when they travel to Manchester City on Monday.
The 26-year-old, who moved to Anfield from Southampton earlier this month, sustained a knock to his lateral collateral ligament during a session at the Reds’ Harvard University training base in Boston. Although no time-frame has been placed on a return to fitness, such injuries can result in a spell of anywhere up to six weeks on the sidelines. Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana could miss the start of the new season after injuring his knee in training. Press Association A quirk of the Barclays Premier League fixture list means Liverpool’s first match is at home to Southampton on August 17, with Lallana now facing a fitness race to make the Anfield clash. He has been assessed by Liverpool’s medical staff and does not require surgery. However, the news is clearly a setback for the England international, who will undergo further assessment by the club’s medical team in the United States and on his return to Liverpool. Lallana, a boyhood Everton fan, completed his £25million move to Anfield earlier this month, ending manager Brendan Rodgers’ pursuit of a player he identified as a primary target for this summer.
But if Keane’s differences with former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, his decision to turn down the job as Celtic manager and a clash with one-time team-mate Peter Schmeichel were among the topics dominating the sports news agenda, O’Neill was refusing to be side-tracked. He said: “The most important issue here are our games, and Saturday [the match against Gibraltar] is really, really important. We have come off the back of a great win against Georgia and it’s important to focus on that. “Whatever headline… let’s just say we came here and there hadn’t been a book – there would have been something else, seriously. “He [Keane] would have slipped down there on the field and we’d have been talking about that, maybe broken his leg or something like that. There would have been something. “There will always be something here in the lead-up to games, and that I can guarantee. “I genuinely don’t know what the headlines are in the book. It obviously was going to cause some sort of furore at some stage or another – the very fact he put his name to this book would suggest that it’s exactly what would happen. “It’s there and it doesn’t matter. The games are the most important things for us.” Asked if he had discussed the book with Keane in advance, O’Neill said: “I thought about it at one stage or another but then, why? He’s over 21 – I think – and he should be capable of dealing with his own stuff.” O’Neill, who asked Keane to join him in the Republic set-up when he was appointed in November last year, has had to become used to the focus he attracts ever since, with the approach from Celtic and Aston Villa’s subsequent successful attempt to appoint him as Paul Lambert’s assistant during the summer cases in point. However, while much of his own time in front of the media is spent fielding questions about his number two, he is adamant it is not an issue for him. “Not necessarily, not at all,” O’Neill said. “He’s an iconic figure. He’s been here for a long time – you know that. He was an absolutely fantastic footballer and now he’s making his way in management.” O’Neill was in relaxed mood as he was quizzed about Keane’s book, and even joked about the former Ireland captain’s burgeoning beard after recently jokingly questioning the sartorial elegance – or otherwise – of the Irish media pack. Asked if he would be having a word with the 43-year-old, he said: “Well I must admit, I might well do because he looks really bedraggled. There is no doubt at all about it but I think he wants to join your group, so I think that’s the essence of it.” Within the camp, the players too were taking all the fuss in their stride. Former United midfielder Darron Gibson said: “There have been a few comments, but nobody’s talking about it. The lads just get on with it. There have been a few jokes made around the table, but, like I said, nothing serious. “I have not seen any of the comments, to be honest with you, so I’m in no position to be comment on it. I’d rather not.” Asked if Keane is the type of assistant whose leg players can pull, Gibson replied with a smile: “I’ve not tried. I’ll let you try first.” Meanwhile, O’Neill has called 20-year-old Hull defender Brian Lenihan into his squad after losing Seamus Coleman, as well as Shay Given and James McCarthy, due to injury for the double-header. Press Association The Ireland boss met the media in Malahide on Tuesday lunchtime after he and Keane had put the players through their paces for the first time since they met up ahead of the qualifiers against Gibraltar and Germany. However, they did so with the younger man once again making the headlines after copies of his book The Second Half were mistakenly put on sale briefly on Monday ahead of Thursday’s official launch. Martin O’Neill has insisted the furore surrounding the launch of assistant Roy Keane’s updated autobiography will not distract the Republic of Ireland from their Euro 2016 mission.
“He’s had a super year and this is probably his last run before the spring,” said De Bromhead. “We said we’d dip our toes in and see how he gets on in a better class of race on softer ground. “Anything he does is a bonus and we’re hopeful of a nice run.” Multiple Grade One winner Zaidpour looks sure to start a short price in the two-and-a-half mile contest as he makes his return to action. Willie Mullins’ charge, who landed the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown last term, tends to run well fresh but did produce a few below-par efforts last season when sent off at skimpy odds. The Charles Byrnes-trained Pittoni is a smart sort at his best but has to overcome a long absence. Noble Endeavor completes the field but is inexperienced and looks to have a lot to find on ratings. Henry de Bromhead’s Darwins Fox aims to lower the colours of Zaidpour in the Ladbrokes Ireland Lismullen Hurdle at Navan. Press Association The Kahyasi gelding enjoyed a fine spring and summer campaign and connections feel he has earned a shot at a decent prize. He was far from disgraced when chasing home Rebel Fitz in another Grade Two contest at Tipperary last month and is the only one of the four runners to have had a recent outing.