Sportsday - Friday, 30 November - as it happened

Premier League news conferences, Darren Bent's Villa future, build up to David Price v Matt Skelton, plus more.

30 November 2012 Last updated at 18:59

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As it happened

  1. 1900: 

    That is it from Sportsday, we will back at 0800 GMT on Monday, 3 December. Tomorrow we have live text commentary from eight Premier League matches including West Ham v Chelsea at 1245 GMT and Reading v Manchester United at 1730 GMT. There is also live text commentary of rugby union's Autumn internationals - England v New Zealand and Wales v Australia.

  2. 1855: 

    Sale Sharks make two late changes to their line-up for tonight's game against Northampton at Salford City Stadium with Nick Macleod and Rob Miller replacing Danny Cipriani and Jonny Leota.

  3. 1850: 

    Super middleweight champion Andre Ward says he would consider a rematch with Britain's world champion Carl Froch.

    Unbeaten Ward, who beat Froch in 2011 to win the Super Six tournament, told BBC Sport: "He (Froch) seems to think he got a raw deal or the fight was closer than it really was, so why not give him another opportunity?"

  4. 1845: 

    New Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway admits he is baffled by the rivalry between the Eagles and Brighton.

    "It's not one the rest of football knows about. Even the geography doesn't really make sense," he said.

    "It's a bit weird but whatever fans think, you have to appreciate that and give a performance the fans are proud of. I've got no doubts we can do that."

  5. 1840: 

    If you have not seen it yet, Joey Barton gives Football Focus's Dan Walker a sample of the French accent that caused headlines earlier this week.

    The on-loan QPR midfielder chats to Dan about life in the South of France and why he spoke in the way he did in an exclusive interview on Football Focus this Saturday.

    Hear more from Joey Barton on this Saturday's Football Focus, 12:15 GMT on BBC One, BBC One HD and this website.

  6. 1834: 

    Ireland will face hosts Argentina in the semi-finals of the Champions Challenge 1 tournament after the South Americans beat Canada 5-1.

  7. 1827: 

    Former England international David Beckham is braced for his final appearance for LA Galaxy in the Major League Soccer final on Saturday.

    "There's an excitement around the team and around the club. It's been an enjoyable week," said Beckham, who has been at the centre of speculation about his future following the game.

  8. 1820: 

    Second row Ian Evans withdraws from the Wales side to face Australia due to injury.

    The lock is replaced by the Cardiff Blues Lou Reed, who will partner Luke Charteris in the engine room.

  9. 1815: 

    The Football Association speak to MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon urging both teams to show restraint in Sunday's first ever game between the clubs.

    "They've asked us not to incite and if you score to be respectful," said Dons captain Dean Lewington.

  10. 1809: 

    Worcestershire's picturesque New Road is flooded again after recent bad weather.

    County chief executive David Leatherdale told BBC Sport: "It's risen to 4.71m, which is our worst since 2008, the year after the summer flood, so it's certainly up there."

  11. 1803: 

    The Premier League reveals that £77,003,130 was paid to agents over the last two transfer windows. Manchester City paid the most (£10,537,982) followed by Liverpool (£8,600,444). Southampton (£646,106) paid the least.

  12. 1759: 

    Keith Farmer says his move into British Superbikes for 2013 with the Paul Bird Kawasaki team is "a dream come true".

    Farmer won the British 1000cc Superstock crown this season, to add to his success in the Superstock 600cc class the previous year.

  13. 1754: 

    Burnley manager Sean Dyche calls for the club to dominate Blackburn on and off the pitch as they meet in the first East Lancashire derby since 2010.

    "Derbies are a fantastic occasion; it's about the football, the fans and everything it brings and it makes for a good game," he said.

    "I've had some spicy ones myself and I think it's a great game. It's something to look forward to for the fans, for our players, a full house at Turf [Moor] and a great feel."

  14. 1747: 

    Former footballer Curtis Woodhouse adds on Andrew Flintoff's debut: "'Freddie' seems like one of the nicest guys ever. In boxing you do need that means streak.

    "At the bottom line you have somebody stood half a metre away from you looking to knock your head off and hurt you. It can be a very brutal sport at times. Whether it be this fight or another fight somewhere down the line, Freddie will have to get down and dirty.

    "He's going to get hurt and he has to be mentally ready for that. If he does the hard work he will be physically ready for it but when the going gets tough sometimes you have to bite that gum shield and go through the pain barrier."

  15. 1744: 

    Former England captain Andrew Flintoff makes his debut in the ring in Manchester tonight when faces American heavyweight Richard Dawson.

    Former footballer Curtis Woodhouse, who made the transition to boxing told Radio 5: "The thing that I found a real eye-opener was the amount of training you have to do to be physically fit. Just the amount of training 'Freddie' will have to do to get through four two-minute rounds will be a real eye-opener for him.

    " I was training three times a day. Coming from football, where you start training at half 10 and finish at half 12, I found the increased training very tough."

  16. 1742:  
    BBC Radio 5 live

    On Kicking Off with Colin Murray on Radio 5live at 1900 GMT tonight, Colin is joined by Pat Nevin and Perry Groves with a look ahead to this weekend's football. Plus live boxing coverage of David Price v Matt Skelton in their British and Commonwealth heavyweight title bout from 2130 GMT.

  17. 1738: 

    Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez says the team are slowly improving under his guidance.

    The Blues have drawn their last two matches but Benitez says the statistics prove that they are "slowly" heading in the "right direction".

  18. 1734: 

    Joanna Mills says she is comfortable with her decision to switch allegiance from Ireland to Great Britain even though it could deny her an appearance at next year's European Under-23 Championships in Finland.

    "There is a possibility I will have to serve a ban regarding international competition. Depending on how that falls will determine what sort of things I can do next year," said the 19-year-old.

    "It was a very difficult decision to make [to switch] and I took a lot of time over it and got the opinions of a few people that I really valued."

  19. 1729: 

    Reading boss Brian McDermott says he is the right man to keep the club in the Premier League.

    "I've never had any doubts. I know how close we are [to turning things around]," he told BBC Sport.

    "We do the right things every day and if we keep doing that, the right results will come our way, I'm absolutely convinced of that."

  20. 1724: 

    Everton manager David Moyes insists it will be a level playing field when his side take on Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad on Saturday.

    "It (the match) is maybe the ones who have and the ones who have not possibly but when we cross the white line tomorrow no one is thinking what they've got and what we've not got," said the Scot.

    "At the end of the day it is 11 versus 11 and if we can continue the record of making it hard for them and upsetting them then we will."

  21. 1718: 

    Newcastle racecourse is set for an inspection at 0800 GMT tomorrow but the course is hoping the Fighting Fifth Hurdle meeting will go ahead after forecasters predicted less cold weather and some rain in the area.

  22. 1712: 

    Celtic manager Neil Lennon says he is not taking the Scottish Cup fourth round, tie against Arbroath lightly. While he has one eye on Wednesday's Champions League match against Spartak Moscow, he's keen to win through to the next round of the domestic competition.

  23. 1705: 

    Ireland's Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor says she is "taking things in her stride" but "enjoying the moment" after her success at the London 2012 Games.

    Taylor admits that life is slightly different for her in the public arena and says that she is training again after four weeks off, with a view to beginning her preparations for Rio 2016.

  24. 1658: 

    Joey Barton gives Football Focus's Dan Walker a sample of the French accent that caused headlines earlier this week.

    The Marseille midfielder became an internet sensation when he gave a news conference at his new club Marseille speaking English with a French accent.

    The on-loan QPR midfielder chats to Dan about life in the South of France and why he spoke in the way he did in an exclusive interview on Football Focus this Saturday.

    Hear more from Joey Barton on this Saturday's Football Focus, 12:15 GMT on BBC One, BBC One HD and this website.


    Gary Doyle on Twitter: "Chris Waddle was a big hit at Marseille. They absolutely idolised him at that club."

    Jbartlettcoys on Twitter: "Crouch would benefit from a move abroad, magnificent records in the Champions League and for England tell you foreign defenders can't handle him."

    Adam Plumpton on Twitter: "Beckham hands down is our best export. Played for Spanish and Italian giants and has put football on the map in the USA."

    Let us know what you think about British players moving abroad, and who you consider are the most successful examples of those who have made the switch, on Twitter by using #bbcsportsday.

  26. 1641: 

    Wales head coach Warren Gatland plays down the fact the Six Nations holders need to beat Australia on Saturday to ensure they do not drop out of the top eight in the world rankings, when speaking to BBC Sport.

    They will be in the third tier of seeds for the 2015 World Cup draw if they lose at the Millennium Stadium.

  27. 1633: 

    Fulham manager Martin Jol insists there was nothing he could have done to persuade Clint Dempsey to stay at the club and he even told the American he loved him before his summer departure to Tottenham.

    "We did everything we could do so there are no regrets," Jol says. "He wanted to be appreciated financially and he wanted a bigger club, a Champions League club, and that is what he probably got with Spurs.

    "He didn't feel appreciated financially, but I am not the one deciding over the contracts. He said it time after time again that he wanted to go to a Champions League club.

    "Even when I said in my last conversation with him that I loved him, it was not good enough to keep him here."

  28. 1620: 

    Northern Ireland's Keith Farmer says he is thrilled to have secured a ride with the Paul Bird Kawasaki team for the 2013 British Superbike championship.

    "I thought 2012 was a big year, but next year promises to be even bigger," the 24-year-old.

  29. 1610: 

    West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan and David Gold write an open letter to the club's supporters ahead of the match against Chelsea saying they "will not tolerate any form of discriminatory behaviour" following the anti-Semitic chanting against Tottenham last weekend.

  30. 1557: 

    It is 50 days until the start of the Africa Cup of Nations and the BBC's Giles Goford is examining the issues facing emergency hosts South Africa.


    Jozef Brodala on Twitter: "The recently high achieving England teams i.e. 90 and 96, had players who had played overseas we need that to give diversity."

    Adam Wilson on Twitter: "Best British export has to be Steve McManaman, was absolutely phenomenal for Real Madrid, part of the Galacticos!"

    John Tilly on Twitter: "Best export Kevin Keegan to Hamburg 1977 - 32 goals/90 games, more importantly introduced the perm to German football."

    Let us know what you think about British players moving abroad, and who you consider are the most successful examples of those who have made the switch, on Twitter by using #bbcsportsday.

  32. 1534: 

    England announce they will play three international games at Twickenham in November 2013. They will begin on the 2nd against Australia, before facing Argentina on the 9th and New Zealand on the 16th.

  33. 1528: 

    Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho dismisses suggestions he is under pressure ahead of the La Liga derby against Atletico Madrid.

    After just 13 games, the champions are already 11 points behind leaders Barcelona and eight points adrift of second-placed Atletico.

    "My relationship with the players and the club is like it has always been," says Mourinho. "I have perfect health and I am working as I have done for many years."

  34. 1519: 

    New Zealand captain Richie McCaw says his players will be ready to face England on Saturday despite a virus having struck the All Blacks squad.

    "The guys are coming right now," he says. "By yesterday [Thursday)] most of us were feeling pretty good, bar a couple."

  35. 1506: 

    Malaga is facing Uefa sanctions for failing to pay £7.3m worth of players' wages on time, and will likely have some prize money from their debut Champions League campaign withheld.

    The Spanish club is due at least £20.3m in prize money, bonuses and a share of Spanish television revenues from the governing body after making the last-16 of the competition this season.


    Nicholas Jones on Twitter: "Britain's best footballing export? Gary Lineker at Barca possibly. 42 goals in 103 games & hat-trick for 3-2 v Real Madrid."

    Jordan Manton on Twitter: "Five goals in eight games... Best export has to be none other than Emile Heskey."

    Doyin Ogunbiyi on Twitter: "GB nations will only get limited results whilst national teams are dependent on players based in domestic leagues."

    Let us know what you think about British players moving abroad, and who you consider are the most successful examples of those who have made the switch, on Twitter by using #bbcsportsday.

  37. 1447: 

    World discus champion and Olympic silver medallist Darya Pishchalnikova is being investigated by the sport's world governing body (IAAF) after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.

    Pishchalnikova was among seven leading female Russian athletes found guilty of manipulating drug samples before the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

  38. 1437: 

    Swindon loanee John Bostock is willing to consider making a permanent move to the County Ground when his deal at Tottenham comes to an end this summer.

    "If I'm playing and the gaffer has a plan for me, then I don't see why Swindon would be a bad place for me.

    "It's a bit early to say if I'd be here permanently but I'm open minded," the 20-year-old tells BBC Wiltshire.

  39. 1429: 

    Wales face Australia on Saturday at 1430 GMT, and in preparation, BBC Sport looks back at two wonderful Shane Williams tries against them.


    After Joey Barton's declaration that he wants to stay in France, who do you think has been the United Kingdom's best footballing export?

    Also, do you think the Home Nations sides would improve if more of their players moved abroad? Are there any players you think would especially benefit from a stint away and why?

    Let us know on Twitter by using #bbcsportsday.

  41. 1417: 

    Joey Barton tells Football Focus he believes his parent club QPR will be relegated from the Premier League barring "a massive turnaround in fortunes" but thinks if anyone can do it, new boss Harry Redknapp can.

    Barton is on loan at French side Marseille until the end of the season and also says he hopes to remain there, rather than return to London.

    Watch Football Focus, Saturday 1 December, 12:15 GMT on BBC ONE, BBC ONE HD and this website.

  42. 1409: 

    Multiple Olympic champion Marianne Vos tells BBC Sport she does not feel like "a victim of sexism" despite the disparity in prize money, sponsorship and media interest between men and women's cycling.

  43. 1359: 

    All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu believes New Zealand will be facing the toughest test of their autumn tour when they tackle England at Twickenham on Saturday.

    "I think they've had some good patches in the last couple of game that we've seen," Mealamu told Sky Sports. "I know it is going to be different for us given all the history we have between each other. We know both teams will raise their performances. We know we will be facing the best team we've faced on tour."

  44. 1357: 

    England defender Joleon Lescott is prepared to bide his time after losing his spot in the Manchester City side to Matija Nastasic.

    Lescott, who was troubled by a back injury earlier this month but has been available for the last four games, told the club's website, "I've been fit for a couple of weeks now and while it was disappointing to be left out of the squads at Chelsea and Wigan, the manager has to pick a team and bench that he thinks can do a job on the day and I respect that. I'll just do my job, train hard and wait for my chance to get back in the team. In the meantime, I'll be rooting for the lads the same as if I was out on the pitch."

  45. 1351: 

    Snooker's second most prestigious tournament, the UK Championship, breaks off on Saturday at the Barbican Centre in York.

    Seven-time world champion and BBC Sport analyst Stephen Hendry, who played in 10 UK finals, gives BBC Sport his lowdown on the main contenders, which you can read on this very website.

  46. 1346: 

    England captain Chris Robshaw admitted he has learned some hard lessons about the pressures of international rugby over the last week. The 26-year-old's decision-making has been under the microscope after perceived errors of judgment with his kicking against Australia and South Africa.

    "There have been a lot of lessons for myself to learn and move forward, whether it is decision-making or other things on the pitch," said Robshaw. "We have learned the hard way and unfortunately that happens in sport. We have to take those lessons and look forward. We can't be dwelling on what happened the last couple of weeks."

  47. 1340: 

    Chelsea remain without John Terry, Frank Lampard and Daniel Sturridge for Saturday's Premier League game at West Ham.

    Terry (knee) and Lampard (calf) are back in training but interim manager Rafael Benitez is refusing to rush either back with the Club World Cup on the horizon. The game also comes too soon for Sturridge (hamstring), meaning FernandoTorres will once again lead the line.

  48. 1335: 

    Mark Twigg on Twitter: "Darren Bent should come home to Charlton... Played well on his own up front for us so what is Lambert on about??"

    Joe Robinson on Twitter: "In Lambert we trust, we can sell Bent and buy three more players to thicken our squad. We are staying up!!"

    Jonny Williams on Twitter: "Darren Bent needs to look at Chicharito. He doesn't just stay on the shoulder of the last defender, he drops deep to link play"

    Have your say using the hashtag #bbcsportsday on Twitter.

  49. 1330: 

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels the next 12 matches will determine whether his side can force their way back into contention for a shot at the Premier League title. The Gunners head into Saturday's clash against Swansea down in seventh place, some 12 points behind leaders Manchester United.

    "We will come back. Now we have six games, four at home, and if we do well in this block I think we have a chance to come back, but of course it is vital for us to do well in these games," Wenger told Arsenal Player. "At the moment the two Manchester sides are top. They have not been spectacular, but efficient, and they have made the maximum of the chances they have created."

  50. 1324: 

    QPR boss Harry Redknapp says he has not asked about the possibility of signing Aston Villa's out-of-favour striker Darren Bent or Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole.

    "Darren Bent's a good player, Villa paid £20m for him. I haven't asked about him," said Redknapp. "I've always liked Joe Cole, I signed him as an 11-year-old. No one knows him better than me. There's still a top player in there. I like him as a person as well as a player, but I've not made any enquiries."

  51. 1319: 

    Jermain Defoe has claimed David Beckham would be welcomed at Tottenham with open arms if he decides to move back to the Premier League. The 37-year-old former England captain's five-year stay with the Los Angeles Galaxy comes to an end this weekend.

    Defoe told Absolute Radio's Rock 'N' Roll Football: "He can come to Spurs if he wants - we'll have him here. He's a fantastic player and I think a credit to the game. If you talk about someone that's done everything in a game and to still want to play and still have another challenge and still want to achieve something, when you've achieved so much, I think that's a special person. He's someone that I look up to, a legend in the game."

  52. 1313: 

    Friday afternoon's Musselburgh race meeting in Scotland has been called off due to a frozen track. The decision to abandon was made 10 minutes before the fixture was scheduled to start. You can follow all the latest going reports, non-runners and results on the BBC Sport website.

  53. 1309: 

    Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is refusing to accept that the Premier League title race is as a two-horse race already. A point in front of Manchester City at the top of the table, the Red Devils are now seven ahead of third-placed Chelsea but Ferguson said: "You can't be certain of saying it's going to be a two-horse race at this stage. The important thing to do is just look at yourselves - we want to be up there all the time. We need to stay up there and this is not an easy league to do it in."

  54. 1305: 

    Major League Soccer executive vice-president of communications Dan Courtemanche believes David Beckham's impact on the league's exponential growth over the last half-decade to be incalculable. Beckham, who joined LA Galaxy in 2006, will bid farewell to the club and MLS after this weekend's season-ending MLS Cup final.

    "David has over-delivered by every measure, specifically with the media coverage MLS has received; there is arguably not a football fan now who does not know the LA Galaxy," said Courtemanche. "With the global appeal he has he was able to put the spotlight on Galaxy and MLS in every continent on the planet. We have tried to measure the media coverage and put a dollar value on it, but that is just impossible due to the global appeal David has."

  55. 1300: 

    Simon Laws on Twitter: "People commenting on here obviously haven't watched Villa recently. Benteke helps the team to play, Bent doesn't - simple."

    Have your say using the hashtag #bbcsportsday on Twitter.

  56. 1250: 

    Blackburn boss Henning Berg says no other game he played in matched the "intensity" of the East Lancashire derby against Burnley.

    Berg, who won the Premier League title as a player at Rovers in 1995, leads his side into Sunday's encounter at Turf Moor after taking the helm at Ewood Park following the departure of Steve Kean.

    Watch a snippet from the interview with Berg that will feature on this Saturday's Football Focus (BBC1, 12:15 GMT) on the BBC Sport website.

  57. 1245: 

    British Paralympic great Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has been appointed to the three-person commission that has been set up by the International Cycling Union (UCI) to investigate the Lance Armstrong affair. The chairman of the panel will be former Court of Appeal judge Sir Philip Otton, with Australian lawyer Malcolm Holmes being the third member of the independent body.

    The UCI set up the commission in response to a damning report from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) into a decade of cheating by Armstrong and his team-mates.

  58. 1240: 

    Neil Williams on Twitter: "Liverpool can't afford Bent, they still owe us for Downing. Not sure why PL is freezing Bent out but we do need him"

    Dan Robinson on Twitter: "Bent creates no chances for himself and misses most of those he gets from others. Lambert's right not to play him - overrated."

    Pipey on Twitter: "Bent to Reading on loan? Would love it, but don't know they'd give us him as a following struggling club"

    Have your say using the hashtag #bbcsportsday on Twitter.

  59. 1236: 

    Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has rated both defender Gary Caldwell and midfielder David Jones as "50/50" for Monday's Premier League clash against Newcastle at St James' Park. Jones picked up a knock to his calf during Wednesday's 2-0 defeat by Manchester City while Caldwell is recovering from a hamstring problem.

    Midfielders Albert Crusat (knee) and Ben Watson (broken leg), winger Ryo Miyaichi (ankle), forward Shaun Maloney (groin) and defenders Antolin Alcaraz (groin) and Ivan Ramis (hamstring) remain on the sidelines.

  60. 1230: 

    David Parker on Twitter: "Villa should get rid of Bent in January. He's a lazy, old fashioned, stay in 18 yard box poacher. Need players like Benteke."

    Darren Wells-Burr on Twitter: "Can understand a lower league club avoiding playing players with appearance fees, sad day tho if a prem club can't afford it."

    Have your say using the hashtag #bbcsportsday on Twitter.

  61. 1226: 

    This Saturday's Football Focus will feature an interview with Marseille midfielder Joey Barton, conducted by Dan Walker. If you want to read Dan's thoughts ahead of the screening you can on this very website.

    Football Focus is on BBC1 this Saturday at 12:15 GMT.

  62. 1221: 

    Can England beat New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday? Former England player Jeremy Guscott gives BBC Sport his views on this year's final Autumn test.

    "Everyone has to understand where England are at the moment. It's very easy to be critical, it's harder to look at good points and positives," says Guscott. "Too many people are saying 'look, this side should start winning now'. It is what it is, it's not the best team in the world - they're ranked fifth, so people should bear that in mind."

    Read more on the BBC Sport website.

  63. 1215: 

    Rangers manager Ally McCoist believes fans should have a say in any plans to re-name Ibrox. Reports suggest Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is in talks with Light Blues chief executive Charles Green over a lucrative deal that would promote his Sports Direct retail firm with Rangers are also reportedly considering other stadium re-branding proposals.

    "I can appreciate it's a really delicate issue and I would imagine it would split fan opinion," said McCoist. "I've got to be honest and say I'm pretty open-minded about it. At the same time, I definitely think the fans would certainly have to have a voice and an opinion on the final decision. We saw the reaction of the Newcastle fans when it happened down there and I'd imagine a good percentage of our support would feel the same way."

  64. 1208: 

    Christian Foy on Twitter: "Rodgers should try and get Bent on loan till the end of the season. Liverpool need that kind of player in the box to mop up."

    Phil Broeders on Twitter: "It will be ironic if Villa save £3m by not playing Bent and then lose £20m by getting relegated!"

    Adam O'Connor on Twitter: "One time we scrape relegation in 6 years and were now a club in trouble! We will survive this year and build with Lambert"

    Have your say using the hashtag #bbcsportsday on Twitter.

  65. 1203: 

    Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has had some interesting things to say regarding former Spurs midfielder Luka Modric suggesting winger Gareth Bale should join him at Real Madrid.

    "It is extremely difficult if not impossible," said Villas-Boas. "Modric is aware of Gareth's performances because of his love for Tottenham and the fact that he is very connected with him and this whole club.

    "The club has to protect our assets regarding our objectives. We have to qualify for the Champions League as Luka says and for that to happen we need the players that can make a difference. In the end we are not looking to sell. Modric now needs to worry about getting into the quarter finals of the Champions League and Atletico Madrid this weekend. He should focus more on his club."

  66. 1159: 

    QPR boss Harry Redknapp today declared he would allow Joe Jordan to become Scotland coach if he was interested in the post. Jordan has been identified as a potential successor to Craig Levein, who was sacked by the Scottish Football Association earlier this month.

    "I think Joe was probably interested. They haven't done anything yet," said Redknapp. "If they came calling it would be up to Joe, it's his life. If he said to me he wanted to manage Scotland I'm not going to argue with him, that's for sure. Joe's a good man, a top man. I'm pleased to have him and Kevin here. Kevin and Joe are all sorted."

  67. 1154: 

    Rob on Twitter: "Lambert is talking nonsense. It's obvious he's not in the squad because of a payment due. Why wouldn't he be on the bench?"

    Mitchell Baker on Twitter: "Lambert surely needs Bent's predatory instincts in the box for an Aston Villa team not exactly scoring for fun right now."

    Jack Simpson on Twitter: "A team like Villa need to go down a restart again. They can't keep scrapping survival. They can't compete in the Premier League!"

    Have your say by using the #bbcsportsday hashtag on Twitter.

  68. 1150: 

    An inspection is likely to be held later today or in the morning to decide whether the Fighting Fifth Hurdle meeting at Newcastle can go ahead. Frost is now a problem after waterlogging earlier in the week. You can follow the latest going reports, non-runners and results on the BBC Sport website.

  69. 1148: 

    Paul Lambert confirms Aston Villa have received no enquiries for out-of-favour striker Darren Bent and that the England international has not handed in a transfer request. The Villa manager also denied there is a clause requiring the midlands club to make a £3m payment to Sunderland if Bent makes 50 league appearances for the club.

    "Have there been any enquiries for Bent? No. Has he asked to be put on the transfer list? No," said Lambert. "Is there a clause? That's not true. I'm not sure where that came from."

  70. 1143: 

    South Africa are once again indebted to new boy Faf du Plessis as they fight back on day one of the third and final Test against hosts Australia. Du Plessis's unbeaten 78 lifted South Africa to 225 all out in Perth after they had slumped to 75-6 after winning the toss. Australia are 33-2 at the close.

  71. 1140: 

    QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar is rated doubtful for Saturday's Premier League clash with Aston Villa at Loftus Road. Cesar was replaced at half time of the goalless draw with Sunderland in midweek after sustaining a minor groin tear.

    Rob Green will continue to deputise if Cesar fails to recover, while strikers Bobby Zamora (hip) and Andrew Johnson (knee) are longer-term concerns.

  72. 1136:  
    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty:

    "Lambert's explanation for not playing Bent is perfectly understandable. One man [Benteke] up front playing well. But not even on the bench?"

  73. 1133: 

    West Ham will have midfielder Mark Noble back from suspension for Saturday's Premier League game against Chelsea at Upton Park. Noble missed the midweek defeat to Manchester United after picking up five bookings this season.

    Striker Andy Carroll has a slight knee problem and will be assessed before manager Sam Allardyce names his team.

  74. 1126: 

    Philip Airson on Twitter: "Maybe controversial but I'd take Bent back at Sunderland! Need a goal atm"

    Luke Russell on Twitter: "Even if Benitez finds a winning formula at Chelsea the hardest thing might be convincing the fans"

    Richard Knight on Twitter: "Walcott deserves a chance to play up front, he is Arsenal's top scorer this season!"

    Have your say using the #bbcsportsday hashtag on Twitter.

  75. 1123: 

    Defender Steven Caulker has overcome illness and is fit for Tottenham's Premier League game at Fulham on Saturday. Caulker missed the midweek win over Liverpool and now must wait and see if he regains his place.

    Emmanuel Adebayor completes his three-match suspension, but Scott Parker (Achilles), Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul (both knee) are out.

  76. 1118: 

    Manchester City midfielder James Milner has been ruled out of this weekend's Premier League clash with Everton. The 26-year-old limped off with a hamstring injury soon after scoring City's second goal in their 2-0 midweek win at Wigan and could also be a doubt for next week's Champions League trip to Borussia Dortmund and the derby with Manchester United which follows. "James is out for tomorrow. We will try to recover him for next Sunday but we don't know," said City manager Roberto Mancini.

  77. 1111: 

    James Ash on Twitter: "Just because Benteke is playing well, doesn't mean Bent can't be a sub. It's always financial reasons at Villa. Shameful."

    Have your say using the #bbcsportsday hashtag on Twitter.

  78. 1106: 

    The team news is starting to filter through for this weekend's Premier League fixtures. As always there is plenty to discuss. Will Rafa Benitez be able to find a winning formula for Chelsea, will Theo Walcott start up front for Arsenal and is Darren Bent set for another afternoon in the stands at Villa? Have your say using the #bbcsportsday hashtag.

  79. 1100: 

    Aston Villa left-back Enda Stevens has been ruled out of tomorrow's Premier League clash at QPR with the ankle injury. Eric Lichaj is set to replace the 22-year-old.

    Skipper and centre-back Ron Vlaar is a major doubt with a calf problem but midfielder Chris Herd is back in contention after recovering from a knee injury.

  80. 1054: 

    Ferrari say they received "tens of thousands of queries" relating to footage which appeared to show Sebastian Vettel pass the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne in an area where yellow flags (which signify no overtaking) were being waved.

    They added: "It was incumbent on us to take the matter further, asking the FIA to look into an incident that could have cast a shadow over the championship in the eyes of all Formula 1 enthusiasts, not just Ferrari fans."

  81. 1048: 

    Northampton will be boosted by the return of Ben Foden and Dylan Hartley from injury when they face Sale in the Premiership tonight.

    However, coach Jim Mallinder expects a tough test from a Sharks side buoyed by John Mitchell's arrival. The former New Zealand coach has returned for a second stint with the club.

    Mallinder said: "They have talented players who will no doubt be looking to prove a point, and after having won their last three home matches in all competitions they have developed a winning habit in Salford."

  82. 1042: 

    Winger Pablo Hernandez is to miss Swansea's visit to Arsenal after picking up a thigh injury. Jonathan de Guzman is set to return to the starting line-up in his place.

    Defender Chico Flores is expected to be be available despite a shoulder problem, while striker Danny Graham will not be risked despite returning to training after an illness.

  83. 1036: 

    Ferrari considers the controversy over Sebastian Vettel's driving in the Brazilian Grand Prix "closed", reports chief F1 writer Andrew Benson.

    The Italian team have now received an official response from governing body the FIA after requesting clarification on whether Vettel overtook illegally during the race.

    Ferrari says it "takes notice" and "considers the matter closed", adding the team raised the issue because the incident "could have left a shadow in the eyes of all the fans of Formula 1".

  84. 1032: 

    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says the next six games will be pivotal in his side's Premier League aspirations and insists they can still close the gap on leaders Manchester United. Wenger said: "We have six games, four at home, if we do well in this block of matches, I think we have a chance to come back."


    Shayek Srahmed on Twitter: "The #Flintoff boxing fight should be a good watch tonite if he can throw a punch as well as his threw a cricket ball."

    Have your say using the #bbcsportsday hashtag on Twitter.

  86. 1027: 

    Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts and American Bill Haas lead the way in the second round of the Sunshine Tour Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa on two under par. Britain's Justin Rose is six shots off the pace.

  87. 1022: 

    Newcastle boss Alan Pardew will be without James Perch for Monday's home Premier League fixture with Wigan because the defender is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Stoke.

    Central defender Steven Taylor (hamstring), midfielders Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring), Gabriel Obertan (toe) and Yohan Cabaye (groin surgery) and striker Shola Ameobi (groin) are also unavailable.

  88. 1017: 

    British skeleton slider Shelley Rudman says she is not concerned by her early results in the World Cup series.

    Rudman won the title last term - claiming five podium finishes out of the eight races - but this season has finished seventh, fifth and ninth.

    "I can't focus on winning at the moment," she told BBC Wiltshire. "My results have been a little bit off, which I expected, but it's about trying to find my limits on the sled and I need to be testing things in races."

  89. 1012: 

    Australia's nightwatchman Nathan Lyon survives a few scares to help the hosts to 33-2 at the end of the first day's play in the deciding Test after dismissing South Africa for 225 in Perth. You can check out the latest scorecard on the cricket pages.

  90. 1008: 

    Midfielder Lucas Leiva will return to Liverpool's match-day squad to face Southampton at Anfield tomorrow after spending three-months out with a thigh injury while Joe Cole has overcome a hamstring problem which forced him out of Wednesday's defeat at Tottenham.

  91. 1003: 

    Bangladesh beat West Indies by seven wickets in the first one-day international in Khulna to go 1-0 up in the five-match series.

  92. 0959: 

    Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says captain Nemanja Vidic could make his return from injury in Wednesday's Champions League group game with CFR Cluj.

    The Serbian central defender's been out since September because of a knee injury but has returned to training this week.

    Paul Scholes is back from suspension for Saturday's Premier League game at Reading, but winger Nani could be out for another four to five weeks with a hamstring injury.

  93. 0954:  
    BBC Radio 5 liveBOXING

    Undefeated British boxer David Price, 29, will put his British and Commonwealth titles on the line against veteran Matt Skelton in Liverpool this evening. You can listen to live commentary of that fight on BBC Radio 5 live and online from 2100 GMT.


    Phil Broeders on Twitter: "Freddie is very brave but can you learn to box in a few months and beat a hardened professional? No."

  95. 0949: 

    Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has told his players to ease the burden on captain Steven Gerrard.

    "He's carried this club for nearly 13 years and it's about time there was more than Steven picking up the baton of responsibility," said Rodgers. "There are others that we want to step up to the plate and get the goals."

  96. 0944: 

    Arsenal right-back Bacary Sagna is a doubt for Saturday's Premier League home game against Swansea because of a foot injury.

    Forwards Theo Walcott (ankle) and Lukas Podolski (virus) will also be assessed while defender Andre Santos (stomach muscle) and midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) continue their rehabilitation.

  97. 0939: 

    Australia's batsmen are also struggling in Perth against South Africa, and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon comes in ahead of the retiring Ricky Ponting after Ed Cowan and Shane Watson go cheaply.

    You can check out the latest scorecard on the cricket pages.

  98. 0935: 

    Croatia playmaker Luka Modric has told his former Tottenham team-mate Gareth Bale to join him at Real Madrid to realise his dream of winning the Champions League, reports the Daily Mail.

    Modric said: "We used to talk and I know he wants to play Champions League football every season and has a big dream of winning the Champions League. Madrid would be a great club for him to achieve his dreams."

  99. 0930: 

    Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert says it's "absolute drivel" to suggest that striker Darren Bent is not playing in the first team for financial reasons, reports BBC Sport's Pat Murphy.

    Murphy adds: "It had been rumoured that Aston Villa would have to make another payment to Sunderland if Bent made 50 starts for the first team - he's on 47 - but Lambert said football reasons, not money, were behind his exclusion."

    Lambert says: "You need to look at the formation we're playing, with one man up front - and Christian Benteke has been brilliant for us."


    Lewis Powell on Twitter: "Cant understand decision 2 take on boxing I think it will end in disaster Bit like chambers & rugby league! Good luck to him."

    Rory Boyle on Twitter: "Freddie Flintoff = Absolute Tank. Has the drive to be a successful boxer. Keep faith."

    Have your say using the #bbcsportsday hashtag.

  101. 0924: 

    Newbury is preparing for the second day of its three-day meeting, and there will be commentary on four races from 1325 GMT in a two-hour programme on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra.

    You can follow the latest results on the BBC Sport website. A total of 19 runners have been declared for Saturday's big race, the Hennessy Gold Cup.

  102. 0920: 

    After Manchester United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard called for a "gay hero" in football, former England international Gareth Southgate tells BBC Sport gay players "would be accepted" in the sport.

    "It's the next taboo. It will take someone who is brave enough to be open and honest." said Southgate. "I'm sure there might be some reaction from crowds but within dressing rooms I think it would be accepted."

  103. 0916: 

    An inexperienced England hockey squad is about to go "in at the deep end" at the Champions Trophy in Australia, according to coach Jason Lee.

    There's a good number that had to go back to work or university to finish exams or pay bills," says Lee, coach to both England and GB. "The profile in our country is still that hockey players are mostly full-time workers. England take on India tomorrow at 0530 GMT.

  104. 0912: 

    South Africa are all out for 225 as Morne Morkel becomes spinner Nathan Lyon's third victim. Australia will have an hour at the crease before the close of play on the first day of the deciding Test. You can check out the latest scorecard on the cricket pages.

  105. 0908: 

    Former Chelsea midfielder and current Brighton manager Gus Poyet says he was surprised by Chelsea's decision to sack Roberto di Matteo.

    "I didn't expect it," he said when speaking at the England Footballers Foundation charity football event. "Everyone was looking for the Champions League trophy and he did it. For me he was the manager of Chelsea for the next 10 years or 20 years."

  106. 0903: 

    Reading midfielder Jimmy Kebe remains a major doubt for tomorrow's Premier League home fixture against Manchester United with a groin injury. Danny Guthrie should be available following a thigh problem but Alex McCarthy and Jem Karacan remain sidelined.

  107. 0858: 

    Southampton goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga, 20, who has made a series of high-profile mistakes of late, looks set to start against Liverpool tomorrow.

    Left-back Danny Fox could return from a knee complaint, while defender Frazer Richardson and midfielder Richard Chaplow are closing in on a return.

  108. 0853: 

    Coverage of the UK Championship will be live across BBC TV and online. The action begins at 1100 GMT with TV coverage starting at 1300 on BBC One with Hazel Irvine.

  109. 0850: 

    Snooker's UK Championship begins tomorrow without four-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan who has withdrawn for the remainder of the season. Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry casts his eye over this year's contenders, starting with world number one Judd Trump. "Judd will start as the favourite and he is the form man at the moment," says Hendry. "He is full of confidence. You expect him to be at the top for the next 10-15 years if he applies himself."


    Jamie Pratt on Twitter: "I support Freddie going into the ring. He's got a lot of natural attributes to be a good boxer. Just concerned about his knee."

    Joe O'Rourke on Twitter: "Freddie Flintoff - great cricketer, hopefully he can win tonight great guy too!"

  111. 0846: 

    Australia's new look pace attack are in blistering form at the Waca in the first day's play in the deciding Test against South Africa. The Proteas are currently on 210-9 after Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and debutant John Hastings all took wickets.

    The only resistance has come from Faf Du Plessis, who again is proving a tough opponent after his heroics in the drawn second Test.

    You can check out the latest scorecard on the BBC Sport website.

  112. 0841: 

    Red Bull's Mark Webber says he is looking forward to a break so he can recharge his batteries in his latest column. The Australian flew back to his native country on Tuesday night where he'll attend his Tasmania Challenge, a charity endurance event, before having scheduled surgery on the leg he broke in a mountain bike accident in 2008.

  113. 0836: 

    Britain's top skier at the last two Winter Olympics, Chemmy Alcott, will make her return to the sport today at the World Cup in Lake Louise, Canada. The event will be held on the same mountain where Alcott suffered a crash that left her with a broken bone protruding from her lower right leg.


    Sunil Parmer on Twitter: "Re 0820. Agree with Vieira. Got to the stage where it's that bad. 1st - pts docked. 2nd - games behind closed doors. 3rd - chucked out."

  115. 0832: 

    Winger Alex Cuthbert says Wales need to beat Australia on Saturday to salvage their autumn campaign. Wales are still looking for their first victory of their autumn Test series, having lost to Argentina, Samoa and New Zealand.

    Cuthbert said: "We just have to have a big collective effort, play our game and have discipline, which cost us in the summer, and if we do that, we can get the win."

  116. 0828: 

    Former Doncaster captain Shaun Leaf has rejoined his old club after completing an 18-month ban for betting on his team to lose matches.

  117. 0824: 

    Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic is back in full training and could return to first-team action within a fortnight, reports the Daily Mirror.

    The United skipper has been out of action since late September after undergoing a meniscus operation on the same knee that saw him miss most of last season.

  118. 0820: 

    Former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder Patrick Vieira has called on football's leading authorities to introduce new rules that recommend clubs are docked points or thrown out of European competition for repeat racist abuse.

    Vieira told the Times: "That will stop it, of course. If you kick a club out of Europe because they couldn't control their fans, it will happen once and I can guarantee it's not going to happen twice."

  119. 0816: 

    Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell has got off to a good start at the World Challenge in California, sharing second place after shooting a round of 69. American Nick Watney leads by two with defending champion Tiger Woods three spots off the pace.


    Former England cricket captain Andrew Flintoff makes his boxing debut in Manchester tonight against American heavyweight Richard Dawson. What do you make of the 34-year-old's decision to take up boxing? How do you rate his chances of success? Have your say using the #bbcsportsday hashtag.

  121. 0812: 

    West Indies are all out for 199 runs against Bangladesh in the first one-day international of a five-match series at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna. Debutant Sohag Gazi, 21, took four wickets, including Chris Gayle of his second ball, to help restrict the visitors.

  122. 0808: 

    When asked about the reports, former England captain David Beckham said: "I heard the Monaco thing on the way to training this morning from a friend in London who said: 'I hear you are going to Monaco?'

    "That was the first I had heard of that. I am very flattered by some of the serious interest I have had and it is always nice to be recognised by good managers with Carlo Ancelotti, Harry Redknapp and Sam Allardyce saying they would love me to play - it means a lot to me."

  123. 0806: 

    On Thursday evening, BBC Sport's Ben Smith reported David Beckham is set to begin talks with French side AS Monaco, with negotiations expected to take place after Saturday's MLS Cup final. The 37-year-old is understood to be open to a move, having announced his desire to leave Los Angeles Galaxy.

  124. 0803: 

    As usual, here are three highlights from Friday's gossip column.

    Chelsea have given striker Fernando Torres, 28, a month to prove himself - and are planning a bid for Metalist Kharkiv's Brazilian striker Taison, 24, if he fails. (Daily Mirror)

    West Ham are planning a move for Ajax winger Miralem Sulejmani, 23, after missing out on him in the summer. (Daily Mail)

    Roma are lining up a shock bid for Newcastle defender Danny Simpson, 25. (talkSPORT)

  125. 0800: 

    Hello and welcome to Friday's edition of Sportsday live.

    Today, we will be bringing you all the press conferences and team news ahead of another exciting weekend of Premier League action, build up to David Price v Matt Skelton and the latest on former England captain David Beckham's talks with AS Monaco.

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