Sportsday - as it happened

Barcelona face Champions League exit, first day of Cheltenham Festival, plus latest on Reading's manager hunt.

12 March 2013 Last updated at 18:39

As it happened

  1. 1837: 

    That is it for another day of Sportsday Live. Do not miss a moment of Tuesday's Champions League action, the BBC Sport website's live text build-up and commentary is already up and running. Thanks for your company and see you back here bright and early at 0800 GMT Wednesday.

  2. 1831: 

    BBC Sport's Cornelius Lysaght: "#Cheltenham Festival officials confirm John McCririck taken to Cheltenham General Hospital after being taken ill at races."

  3. 1821: 

    Wojciech Szczesny has not travelled to Germany for Arsenal's Champions League tie with Bayern Munich. Manager Arsene Wenger says the goalkeeper has been "mentally affected" by the number of games he has had to play. Lukasz Fabianski will play in Wednesday's tie.

  4. 1810: 

    Former Reading midfielder John Salako feels Paolo Di Canio would be a good choice to replace Brian McDermott at Reading and could inspire them to Premier League safety. "This might be the perfect moment for Paolo Di Canio," Salako told talkSPORT.

    "He has fallen out with the Swindon guys, he's walked away, he's in-between jobs and he might be the perfect answer. He could come in on an interim basis, they will say to him, 'let's see how it goes until the summer. Show us what you can do'. He will go and fire up that dressing room, grab people by the neck, throw cups of tea around and not let people slack off."

  5. 1800: 

    More from Vermaelen: "We want to give the manager something because he gives us confidence and belief. We want to give something back." Wenger adds: "If we find a big game, a big win, you will see a completely different animal."

  6. 1755: 

    Wenger on the size of the task facing Arsenal: "We have big experience in the Champions League and have won everywhere in Europe. We have a right to believe." Thomas Vermaelen adds: "We know it will be difficult but football is a strange sport. We go into this game to get through."

  7. 1752: 

    Arsene Wenger describes the loss of Jack Wilshere to a damaged ankle as a "big blow" before adding: "The initial plan is three or four weeks." On Bayern Munich, the Arsenal manager adds: "They are one of the better teams in Europe. Having played all the big teams, none touch Barcelona quality wise."

  8. 1747: 

    Arsene Wenger and Thomas Vermaelen have just turned up for Arsenal's press conference ahead of Wednesday's Champions League tie with Bayern Munich in Germany. Arsenal trail 3-1 from the first leg.

  9. 1740: 

    Hungary will have to play their 2014 World Cup qualifier at home to Romania without spectators on 22 March after their request to have the sanction provisionally lifted pending an appeal was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Hungary were ordered to play the match behind closed doors after fans chanted anti-Semitic slogans and displayed offensive symbols during a friendly at home to Israel in August.

  10. 1732: 
    Joe Allen

    Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen is keen to get his shoulder operation out of the way so he can be fully fit for the start of next season. Allen will be in Chris Coleman's Wales squad for the World Cup qualifiers with Scotland and Croatia when it is unveiled on Wednesday.

    But the player is facing an extended period on the sidelines at some point after discovering a recurrence of an old shoulder injury had deteriorated to the point where further surgery is required. "I can play on, but it is all about the timing because I will be out for three months," said Allen. "Obviously, I don't want to miss the start of next season if I can."

  11. 1727: 

    BBC Sport's Francis Keogh at Cheltenham: "Sam Waley-Cohen there showing a lot of nonsense talked about his qualities as a jockey. Became a dad on Sunday, Cheltenham winner on Tuesday."

  12. 1724: 

    Rajdhani Express wins the Novices' Handicap Chase after a strong finish.

  13. 1720: 

    The first false start of the Cheltenham Festival has just happened, with Fourjacks caught in the tape, but the Novices' Handicap Chase is away cleanly at the second attempt.

  14. 1714: 

    Jessica Ennis says she has no intention of switching from her coach Toni Minichiello, indicating she is willing to provide him with financial support "if that is what it comes down to". Minichiello, who guided Ennis to heptathlon gold at London 2012, has lost his job as an Olympic coach, becoming a high-profile casualty of UK Athletics' restructuring plan.

    Ennis said: "Everything is going to stay the same, but we just need to find a way of funding it."

  15. 1705: 

    Southampton are charged with failing to control their player's during last Saturday's game at Norwich City, the Football Association announce.

  16. 1659: 

    Former England centre Jamie Noon announces his retirement from rugby at the end of the season.

    Noon played 38 times for England, and moved to French club Brive in 2010 after 10 years with Newcastle Falcons.

  17. 1654: 

    West Brom goalkeeper Boaz Myhill signs a new two-year contract at the Hawthorns.

    The contract also contains a further year's option in the club's favour.

  18. 1650: 

    Former club mates Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cisse will lead Senegal's attack in this month's World Cup qualifier against Angola after being named in a 23-man squad.

    The pair, who were at Newcastle United before Ba's move to Chelsea in January, will play together for the first time in the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after Ba missed the first two Group J matches last June.

  19. 1646: 

    Quevega takes the Mares' Hurdle for a fifth successive time, coming home with a late run at a price of 8-11. The win gives jockey Ruby Walsh and trainer Willie Mullins a treble.

  20. 1643: 

    Zimbabwe are 91 for two at lunch on the opening day of the first test against West Indies at the Kensington Oval.

  21. 1639: 

    Rami Gershon vows to put a slow start to his Celtic career behind him and show the Parkhead faithful his true self.

    The Israeli defender arrived at Celtic in January on loan from Standard Liege but has only made two appearance.

    Gershon tells the Celtic View: "I have to take my chances and be good all the time. This is how I think. And this is the goal I have in my head now."

  22. 1634: 

    Andy Farrell is convinced England have the character to bridge the experience gap and beat reigning champions Wales to deliver a first Grand Slam crown in a decade.

    The England coach says: "When we have had a challenge thrown at us we have responded."

  23. 1629: 

    Huddersfield second row forward Jason Chan has been ruled out for between six and eight weeks with torn knee ligaments.

    The Papua New Guinea international picked up the injury in last Friday's 32-8 win at Leeds.

  24. 1624: 
    Christian Benteke

    Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert hails the impact of striker Christian Benteke, who is bidding to become the first player in nearly a decade to score 20 goals in a season for the club.

    Lambert says: "Over the course of the whole season, has been excellent for someone just 22 years of age."

  25. 1618: 

    Bryan Robson wants Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck to add goals to his game in order to become a complete striker.

    The Reds legend says: "Danny has all the attributes you need, apart from being a natural finisher.

    "The good thing about it is that is an area you can work on and improve. And I know Danny will do that because he is a keen lad with such a great mentality towards the game."


    Jonny Horsley: "Expecting a similar story tonight to the Euro 2012 final. Spain didn't have Messi. AC Milan don't have Pirlo."

    Vinay MP: "If Barcelona gets knocked out tonight,will people still debate on how La Liga is better than PL? They are supposed to be best."

  27. 1610: 

    Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is charged by The FA for gesturing to Leeds fans on Saturday.

    His manager Ian Holloway is also charged for alleged misconduct towards the match officials at that game.

  28. 1604: 

    Hurricane Fly wins the Champion Hurdle to become the first previous winner to regain the crown since Comedy of Errors in 1975. He comes home as 13-8 favourite.

    You can stay up to date with the action by following our Cheltenham Festival coverage.

  29. 1601: 

    Olympic cycling champion Jason Kenny insists he is still focused on two-wheeled success despite signing up for a full season racing sports cars this summer.

    The 24-year-old double gold medallist at London 2012, has signed up for the Ginetta GT5 Challenge series - one of the starting points for professional racing drivers.

    He says: "I want to try to do a whole season, which is seven race weekends, and I believe I can do so without it affecting my training."

  30. 1556: 

    Dereck Chisora - who had his British boxing licence removed by the Board of Control following his post-fight brawl with David Haye last year - says he is back in the fight game.

    Chisora tweets: "Good news... I've got my British License back!"

  31. 1550: 
    Mark Webber

    Mark Webber is being assured of his place at Red Bull providing he continues to deliver for the team. The Australian is 37 and only holds a rolling one-year contract.

    But team principal Christian Horner says: "The last three years have apparently been Mark's last.

    "Yet he has been retained by the team because of what he has done in the car, and again the same rules apply this year."

  32. 1545: 

    Chelsea keeper Petr Cech and Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky are named in the Czech Republic squad for the World Cup 2014 qualifiers against Denmark at home on 22 March and in Armenia on 26 March.


    Soccer Fan: "An early goal for Barca can change the whole scenario. Compare it with Man Utd Chelsea FA cup match. It's 0-2 at half time.

    Jean-Paul Breyer: "I see a draw tonight. If Milan play as well as the first leg, they won't let many goals through, even at Camp Nou."

    Ben Sese: "No team has overturned a two-goal deficit in the CL without benefit of an away goal."

  34. 1536: 

    BBC Sport's Matt Slater reports Chris Froome has failed in his bid to win the Tirreno-Adriatico race in Italy with Astana's Vincenzo Nibali taking the race.

    He tweets: "Froome takes 11' out of Nibali, it's not enough, His Nibs wins #tirreno, Froome 2nd (+23'), Contador 3rd...Tony Martin won stage."

  35. 1532: 

    Australian all-rounder Shane Watson insists his relationship with captain Michael Clarke is not rocky.

    Clarke backed the decision to drop Watson for a breach of discipline.

    He said: "I've been playing cricket with and against Michael Clarke since I was 12.

    "In the end, like you do in every relationship, it goes up and down and things are going really well at the moment with me and Michael."

  36. 1526: 

    Golden Chieftain wins the JLT Handicap Chase by 12 lengths at a big price of 28-1.

    You can stay up to date with the action by following our Cheltenham Festival coverage.

  37. 1519: 

    South Africa give national contracts to four new players - Dean Elgar, Rory Kleinveldt, Marchant de Lange and Aaron Phagiso.

    Ryan McLaren was re-awarded a contract after missing out over the last 12 months.

    Six players, including retired wicketkeeper Mark Boucher and spinner Johan Botha - who asked to be released from his contract last October - dropped off the list.

  38. 1514: 

    Blackburn defender Adam Henley is expected to be out for the rest of the season and definitely misses tomorrow night's FA Cup quarter final replay against Millwall because of a hamstring injury, says the Lancashire Telegraph.


    Tom Holmes: "It's impossible to tell with Barca, they have the capability to make it through but a solid AC defence would see them through."

    Jacob Harris: "Think Barca will just come short, Milan have some pretty handy players themselves and can see them nicking a goal."

    Tell us if you think Barcelona can stun AC Milan and overturn their two goal deficit in the Champions League tonight using #bbcsportsday.

  40. 1505: 

    Scotland forwards coach Stevie Scott has promised there will be no repeats of the scrummaging debacle that cost them dear against Wales when the Dark Blues travel to France this weekend.

    Scotland lost 28-18 to Wales after conceding numerous penalties at the scrum.

    Scott says: "The problems we had against Wales are gone. They are out of our system."

    BBC Radio 5 liveFOOTBALL

    There is some important action in the Championship tonight with leaders Cardiff taking on play-off hopefuls Leicester.

    You can hear coverage of the game on Radio 5 live from 19:45 GMT.

  42. 1455: 
    Ryan Giggs

    Ryan Giggs has the potential to manage Manchester United when Sir Alex Ferguson eventually calls it a day, according to his former team mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

    The Norwegian says: "Giggsy is going to play another year but I'd say he's got his eyes and ears open more to what the manager is doing.

    "He's looking at that United job for himself, Giggsy. He's got top potential."


    Rory George Wheble: "Di Matteo is surely not foolish enough to take the Reading job, talk about a poisoned chalice, certain to go down."

    Alexander: "As a Charlton fan I would love to see Curbishley back in management and I think Reading would be a good fit for them both."

  44. 1445: 

    Odds on favourite Simonsig wins the Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase although he pushed all the way by Baily Green, who finishes second.

    Simonsig comes home at odds of 8-15. Keep up to date with all the racing with our Cheltenham Festival coverage.

  45. 1442: 

    Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes maintains his side cannot switch off against Arsenal tomorrow night - even though they already have one foot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

    The runaway Bundesliga leaders could be forgiven for thinking the hard work had been done after delivering a European masterclass with a 3-1 win in London a fortnight ago.

    However, Heynckes warns: "Last year Arsenal lost 4-0 away to AC Milan, then in the second leg they won 3-0 - they could have won 4-0, they had the chances, so it shows they are a strong team and capable of making up the gap if they have to."

  46. 1437: 

    Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor wins the toss and elects to bat first in the opening test of a two-match series against West Indies in Bridgetown.

    Fast bowler Chris Mpofu misses the game through a muscle strain, with Tendai Chatara making his test debut in his place.

    West Indies go into the game with a three-man attack, including recalls for Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach.

  47. 1435: 

    Denmark coach Morten Olsen says striker Nicklas Bendtner "needs to get his life back on track'' before he can be considered for the national team after a drunk driving incident.

    Olsen says it was "plain stupid'' of the Arsenal striker, currently on loan at Juventus, to drive with a blood-alcohol content of 1.75, 3.5 times higher than the legal limit.

    Last week, Bendtner was fined and banned from driving for three years following the incident on 3 March.


    Barcelona are staring down the barrel in the Champions League after losing the first leg of their Champions League clash to AC Milan.

    Having lost 2-0 in Italy, Lionel Messi and his pals need to put on a five-star show if they are going to book a place in the quarter-final.

    Gary Lineker feels his old club are going to come up short. What is your view? Tell us using #bbcsportsday.

  49. 1425: 

    BBC Sport's Frank Keogh reports the Cross-Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival will not take place today as the frost-hit ground is deemed unraceable.

    The race has been moved to 1715 GMT on Thursday. Six races, rather than seven, will now take place today.

  50. 1423: 

    Today's #QSTeaser asked: "Who are the six Americans to reach the men's final at the Indian Wells Masters since 2000?"

    The answer, in chronological order, is Agassi, Sampras, Blake, Fish, Roddick and Isner

  51. 1420: 

    BBC Sport's Ian Dennis understands Reading are unlikely to appoint a replacement for Brian McDermott this week.

  52. 1415: 

    Former England keeper David James is looking for a new club after seeing his contract at Bournemouth terminated by mutual consent.

    The 42-year-old made 19 appearances in six months with the Cherries.

  53. 1410: 

    Champagne Fever, ridden by Ruby Walsh, wins the Supreme Novices´ Hurdle at a price of 5-1. The favourite, My Tent or Yours was second. Keep up to date with all the racing with our Cheltenham Festival coverage.


    Chris Reinholter: "McD was a great manager for us, sad to see him go. Hearing rumours of Di Matteo and Atkins... No to Di Canio!"

    femi ogunbodede: "Matteo should reject it. Reading will go down .A man who won the UCL a year ago shouldn't be coaching a club in a lower division."

  55. 1358: 

    Three players have been suspended after a brawl during Hull FC's 52-0 win over Castleford.

    Castleford winger Justin Carney has been handed a two-match ban while forward Weller Hauraki has been banned for one match.

    Hull second rower Danny Tickle has also accepted a one-match ban for his part in the fighting while team-mate Mark O'Meley will face a disciplinary hearing later today.

    In other news, Hull FC will be without centre Kirk Yeaman for six weeks because the centre has a broken thumb.

  56. 1353: 

    Shall we start to keep a tally? The next match to fall foul of the frozen pitch is League One's Bury v Scunthorpe.

  57. 1346: 

    A small nugget of team news from Blackburn ahead of their FA Cup quarter-final replay against Millwall tomorrow.

    Blackburn are waiting on the fitness of David Bentley after he took a knock to his knee during Sunday's goalless draw at The Den. The medical team are having a look at swelling around his knee.

    In other Blackburn news, Danny Murphy has lost the captaincy for Wednesday's game with Scott Dann coming in as the new skipper.

  58. 1344: 

    A few more of tonight's football matches added to the postponed list - Dorchester v Farnborough and Cambridge City v Chippenham.

  59. 1340: 

    The BBC's Honest Frank is at the Cheltenham Festival which will get under way in about half an hour.

    He has this update: "Going at Cheltenham now Soft, Good to Soft in places (Chase and Hurdle). Was Soft. Now, where's that formbook of mine?"

  60. 1337: 

    Match of the Day presenter - and Barcelona old boy - Gary Lineker gives his verdict on tonight's big Champions League match between Barcelona and AC Milan.

    Gary Lineker: "Hope I'm wrong but can't see Barca turning things around tonight."

  61. 1330: 

    A bit more on injured Wales captain Ryan Jones from Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde: "He has broken a bone in his shoulder and he is now under the management of the Ospreys.

    "It looks as though he will be out for six to eight weeks."

    Sam Warburton, who led Wales to the Six Nations title and Grand Slam last season, is now expected to regain leadership duties against England.

  62. 1321: 

    England's defence coach Andy Farrell has been speaking to Sky Sports.

    On the absence of Ryan Jones, he said: "He's a good leader for them but they would have been in a selection dilemma anyway."

    England are training today ahead of Saturday's showdown with Wales and Farrell added: "We can't go too hard and too intense today.

    "We've not been in this position before going for a Grand Slam - 11 players in our squad haven't even played at the Millennium Stadium. We're up against it but we back our belief of what we've achieved in these big games."

  63. 1313: 

    Wales captain Ryan Jones is ruled out of Saturday's Six Nations title decider against England because of a shoulder injury.

    Jones, who has skippered Wales a record 32 times, went off early in the second half of last weekend's game against Scotland at Murrayfield.

  64. 1307: 

    Another match succumbs to the weather. Dartford v Braintree in the Blue Square Bet Premier is postponed.

  65. 1306: 

    More Arsenal news. As well as missing midfielder Jack Wilshere for Wednesday's Champions League match at Bayern Munich defender Bacary Sagna remains sidelined with a knee injury.

    Left-back Kieran Gibbs is available again after his thigh injury while midfielder Abou Diaby and striker Lukas Podolski are also in the squad after concerns over their fitness.

  66. 1300: 

    The debate over who you fancy as the new Reading manager continues to bubble nicely on #bbcsportsday.

    Rich Barber: "Di Matteo's a good choice. Comes in at Chelsea with everything doom & gloom and wins FA Cup & CL #GoodFinisher"

    Martandvic: "Sacking Mcdermott was spot on, just the timing was awful. Di Canio will now come in and keep us up, you heard it here first."

    Sam Scott: "The next @ReadingFC manager should be Curbishley. A man with a plan regardless of impending relegation."

  67. 1249: 

    Millwall manager Kenny Jackett names an unchanged squad for Wednesday's FA Cup quarter-final replay at Blackburn.

    James Henry remains sidelined by a knee injury and fellow winger Martyn Woolford is cup-tied.

  68. 1245: 

    MotoGP fans. BBC pit-lane reporter Azi Farni needs your help.

    She says: "BBC Sport will be catching up with @BradleySmith38 tomorrow, do you have a question that you want us to ask him? #BBCAskBrad"

  69. 1234: 

    This chilly weather is taking its toll. Tonight's League One match between Doncaster and Carlisle has been postponed because of a frozen pitch.

  70. 1226: 

    UK Athletics have named a 23-strong squad for the World Cross Country Championships in Poland on 24 March.

    Steph Twell, who missed out on selection for the London Olympics, because of a right ankle injury continues her comeback.

  71. 1221: 

    Not such good news in for Crewe and Sheffield United. Their League One match this evening has been postponed because of a frozen pitch. No new date yet.

  72. 1218: 

    A smidgeon of team news from Barcelona ahead of their second leg Champions League match against AC Milan tonight.

    Barcelona report: "Xavi Hernández declared fit to play,"

  73. 1211: 

    Injury doubts over Kevin Pietersen have been banished. He's been named in the England side who face New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in tomorrow evening's second Test.

    Pietersen took part in practice despite having to wear strapping on his painful right knee.

  74. 1200: 

    Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston has cut season ticket prices for the next campaign as a thank you to supporters.

    He's also marking the 60th anniversary of the club's famous 1953 FA Cup win over Bolton, when football legend Stanley Matthews spurred Blackpool on to success.

    Oyston has set the prices for 2013/2014 at £195.30 to mark the year 1953.

  75. 1148: 

    We have a new date for the postponed League One match between Oldham and Hartlepool, The match will now be played on 19 March with a 1945 GMT kick-off.

  76. 1145: 

    We've been asking for some of your thoughts on the Reading story. Would you fancy Di Matteo or Di Canio? #bbcsportsday

    Matty Strawn: "Totally the wrong decision to sack Brian McDermott, we will go down, and the best man to get us back up, is Brian McDermott..."

    InkTanks: "Di Canio unlikely to save Reading, but hope he gets the job for sheer entertainment value."

    David Miller: "Can't believe Steve McLaren isn't getting a mention for Reading. Loads of experience."

  77. 1135: 

    The Reading Post is reporting that former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has been approached for the vacant Reading manager's job.

    The newspaper is also reporting that owner Anton Zingarevich is also keen to speak to Paolo Di Canio - ex-boss of rivals Swindon Town.

  78. 1131: 

    A bit more on those wintry Cheltenham conditions from Radio 5live weatherman Simon King:

    "It's going to be a pretty cloudy afternoon although the sun may break through the clouds at times to give a few sunny spells.

    "Although the cloud may be thick enough to give a very light wintry flurry, it'll stay mostly dry with a maximum temperature of three degrees celsius. However, with a brisk north-easterly wind it'll feel more like freezing or below!

    "Another frost is expected tonight with temperatures falling to minus two by Wednesday morning."

  79. 1128: 

    An update from the BBC's Frank Keogh at Cheltenham: "Going at Cheltenham remains SOFT ahead of Festival. The famous Cheltenham roar to greet opening Supreme Novices about 1405."

  80. 1126: 

    Australia vice-captain Shane Watson has arrived back in Australia from the cricket team's tour of India. Watson is one of four players dropped for breach of discipline.

    "The reason I have come home is wholly and solely to be with my wife and the baby," he told Sky Sports News.

    "I left it with my wife that we would not talk about the baby before the next Test match.

    "But after what happened, she told me things had stepped up and that is the reason I came home."

  81. 1121: 

    Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis and her coach Toni Minichello have given the thumbs up to plans to redevelop the site of the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield - the city where she trains.

    "If we get the funding to do it, it will be good," Ennis said. "I'm happy to have input and offer bits of advice where I can."

    Minichello added: "It's a superb plan. It isn't about Jess, it's about the next six-year-old that's now out there on the track. That's the generation that's been inspired by Jessica and by the Olympics."

  82. 1112: 

    Not a great day for Arsenal with the news of Jack Wilshere's injury but boss Arsenal Wenger is remaining positive about his side's Champions League chances.

    Arsenal are trailing Bayern Munich 3-1 and go to Germany on Wednesday for the second-leg tie.

    Wenger told the club website: "It is not mission impossible. Let's start strong. We have to create doubt in their mind and you only do that if you have a real go. We can have a real go without being silly."

  83. 1100: 

    It's time for the #QSTeaser from @QofS_Official - and with Andy Murray in action at the Indian Wells Masters, today's question has a tennis theme.

    "Who are the six Americans to reach the men's final at the Indian Wells Masters since 2000?"

    We'll have the answer for you here at 1400 GMT. And remember, it's just for fun. But no Googling.

  84. 1057: 

    BBC Radio 5 live's Juliette Ferrington has bad news for Wigan fans on Twitter:

    "Ryo Miyachi's season could be over. Roberto Martinez waiting on scans to confirm but fears ankle ligament damage."

    The Japanese winger, on a season's loan from Arsenal, was carried off on a stretcher during Saturday's 3-0 FA Cup quarter-final win at Everton.

  85. 1053: 

    Wilshere missed the whole of last season with knee and ankle problems, but Wenger is hopeful this latest injury will clear up quickly.

    He adds: "Hopefully for the Premier League he will miss only one game. After there is an international break. We can slowly prepare him.

    "It is more about prevention. He has some bone bruising. The last time it deteriorated into a stress fracture. That's what we don't want to happen."

    Wilshere will miss England's World Cup qualifiers in San Marino a week on Friday (22 March) and Montenegro the following Tuesday (26 March).

  86. 1047: 

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirms that midfielder Jack Wilshere will be out for three weeks with an ankle injury, missing tomorrow's Champions League match against Bayern Munich, Saturday's Premier League trip to Swansea and England two World Cup qualifiers later this month.

    "Jack Wilshere is out," Wenger says. "He has an inflamed ankle, the other ankle to one he injured [previously]. He will be out for three weeks and will not be available for Munich, Swansea and will not play for England."

  87. 1044: 

    The first Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Galle has ended in a draw.

    Both captains agreed to call a halt as Bangladesh, chasing 268 to win, reached 70-1 with only 14 scheduled overs remaining.


    Who's going to be the next Reading manager? #bbcsportsday

    Jan Kalinowski: "Adkins to Reading and he saves them from relegation in front of Southampton... That would be something!"

    Richard Faulkner: "Adkins would be a bizarre choice given he's spent a significant chunk more than McDermott and has achieved similar results?"

    Andy Myers: "I think Mark Hughes would be a great fit at Reading, but believe Di Canio will get it. McDermott right to go for me."

  89. 1040: 

    BBC Sport's Frank Keogh on Twitter: "Gates open at Cheltenham and cheers from delighted punters as the news they wanted filters through - the Festival is ON."

  90. 1038: 

    BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at Cheltenham: "After passing morning inspection, the start of Cheltenham Festival's opening day will be delayed by 35 minutes to 1405 GMT to allow temperatures to rise following severe frost.

    "An inspection will take place at 1415 GMT to determine whether the Cross-Country Chase (originally scheduled for 1600 GMT) goes ahead. If it passes an inspection, that race will be the last on the card at 1745 GMT."

  91. 1035: 

    The Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham, originally scheduled to go ahead at 1600 GMT, will be subject to a course inspection at 1415 GMT, reports BBC Sport's Frank Keogh.

    If the race goes ahead, it will take place at 1745 GMT.

  92. 1030: 

    The first day of the Cheltenham Festival will go ahead, but the opening race will start 35 minutes late.

    The Supreme Novices' Hurdle, originally scheduled to start at 1330 GMT, will now start at 1405 GMT.

  93. 1020: 

    Australia's media has been busy dissecting the decision to drop national vice-captain Shane Watson and three other players for the third Test in India for a breach of discipline.

    The Age newspaper reports that a press conference to endorse the decision to suspend the players soon became a discussion about Watson, his future in the game and his troubled relationship with Australia captain Michael Clarke.

    "I'm not going to get drawn into that conversation," says Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's general manager of team performance. "The captain and vice-captain have got to sort their issues out."


    More of your thoughts on the Reading managerial vacancy following Brian McDermott's departure yesterday. Keep them coming, please. #bbcsportsday

    Adam Whalley: "McDermott - has had a poor season and it's right he's gone. He'll learn and come back stronger, and so will the team."

    Chris Griffin: "Di Matteo can't save Reading without Drogba surely?"

    Doug Neuhofer: "Reading were destined for relegation and a change of manager is the only thing that could make a difference. Adkins maybe?"

  95. 1012: 

    BBC Sport's Frank Keogh on Twitter: "Cautious optimism at Cheltenham that the Festival first day will go ahead. There's a possible doubt over Cross-Country Chase at 1600 GMT as ground more exposed."

  96. 1007: 

    Tonight's League One match between Oldham and Hartlepool has been postponed because of a frozen pitch.

  97. 1004: 

    BBC Three broadcast a documentary last night focusing on the trial of Oscar Pistorius.

    The Olympic athlete, who is accused of shooting model Reeva Steenkamp at his home last month, denies the charges of premeditated murder, saying he mistook her for an intruder.

    Oscar Pistorius: What Really Happened? is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.


    Victor Chatfield: "Wilshere injured for Montenegro game? Oh dear, England won't be qualifying for the World Cup then!"

    Ashley Smith: "Any slim chance Arsenal had of progressing tomorrow I fear has well and truly gone out the window with Wilshere's injury."

  99. 0955: 

    Caborn admits the plans for Don Valley are at an early stage, but is optimistic.

    He tells a news conference: "This is the result of intensive work by a small group of significant organisations in the Sheffield city region to consider a future for the Don Valley Stadium.

    "It is a unique scheme which has already received funding to go to the feasibility stage."

    The decision to close and demolish the Don Valley Stadium was announced as part of council cost-cutting measures earlier this month and drew criticism from Jessica Ennis and her coach Toni Minichiello.

  100. 0950: 

    Former sports minister Richard Caborn reveals a £40m redevelopment plan for Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium, which will close and be demolished in the autumn.

    Plans for the site of the condemned stadium, which produced Olympic champion Jessica Ennis, include a refurbished athletics track at nearby Woodburn Road, a high-performance centre and new homes for Sheffield Eagles and Titans rugby union clubs.

    However, Sheffield Council has warned that it will not be able to put up any funding for the project.

  101. 0945: 

    There's plenty to discuss in the football world right now, and Mark Chapman is joined by Monday Night Club regulars Steve Claridge, Ian McGarry and former Bolton manager Owen Coyle to talk about the latest headlines on BBC Radio 5 live's Football Daily podcast.

    They review all the big talking points, including the dismissal of Brian McDermott at Reading. The panel also discuss the world of free-kicks, and the introduction of the 'Knuckleball'. Please don't call or text as lines are now closed.


    George Maddocks: "Owner has done McDermott a favour by saving him the trouble of a relegation on his CV. Reading are a dead cert to go down."

    Adam Lunnon: "No to Di Canio. Di Matteo is only man capable of saving our season. Still don't agree with the sacking."

    Mohammed Hafeji: "No-one can keep Reading up now. There is no manager who can make a sudden impact with nine games left. Bad decision."

    Keep your thoughts coming on the Reading managerial situation. #bbcsportsday

  103. 0937: 

    To confirm: Jack Wilshere's ankle injury keeps him out of England's next two World Cup qualifiers - away to San Marino a week on Friday (22 March) and Montenegro the following Tuesday (26 March).

    The trip to Montenegro will be particularly significant, as they currently lead Group H by two points from England.

  104. 0932: 

    From BBC Sport's John Southall, at an Arsenal press conference this morning:

    "Jack Wilshere has been ruled out for three weeks with an ankle injury, meaning he'll miss Arsenal's Champions League tie against Bayern Munich tomorrow, and England's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro later this month."


    With Brian McDermott leaving Reading, we asked you if a change of manager so late in the season could save a club from the drop. #bbcsportsday

    Jordan King: "When has sacking a manager in March ever ended well? New manager needs to have an immediate impact. If not, Reading are down."

    Garry: "Lawrie Sanchez kept Fulham up in 2007 after taking charge in the April... Trouble was he then believed the hype!!"

    Robert Sadler: "Make or break time for Reading. Wolves were in the same place a year ago and look where we are now..."

  106. 0922: 

    Sri Lanka have declared on 335 for 4 in their second innings on the final day of the first Test against Bangladesh in Galle - a lead of 267 runs.

    Tillakaratne Dilshan (126) and Kumar Sangakkara (105) both completed centuries before lunch, but the match looks set for a draw, as Bangladesh have just 35 overs to chase a victory target of 268.

  107. 0915: 

    The Reading Post reports this morning that Reading have approached Roberto Di Matteo for the vacant manager's job.

    Di Matteo, who led Chelsea to last season's Champions League title but was sacked in November, could be handed the job of keeping the club in the Premier League with a contract running until 2015, the paper reports.


    Keep your thoughts coming, please, on the managerial vacancy at Reading. #bbcsportsday

    And can any of you recall a manager joining a club late in the season and saving them from relegation?

    The office's resident Macclesfield Town expert recalls Brian Horton doing a late salvation job in the Third Division in 2004, but there don't seem to be many examples around at the top level.

    Moe Muntz: "Di Canio in the Premier League? Fireworks ahead. If he does well, Chelsea will snap him up in the summer."

    Danny Needham: "Reading won't need a Premier League quality manager as they won't be there next season."

    Alex Byrne: "The only person who can replace Brian McDermott this season and help us avoid relegation is Steve Coppell."

  109. 0903: 

    Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen will face three months out if he has surgery on a shoulder problem, the Liverpool Echo reports.

    Allen has been hampered by the problem since October and, even though he is happy to play on, manager Brendan Rodgers is said to be unwilling to postpone surgery until the end of the season.

  110. 0900: 

    Don't be too downhearted, Reading fans. Remember, there's always someone worse off than you.

    Take the footballers of Caerphilly Castle Ladies in the Women's Welsh Premier League, who lost their last match 43-0, having already suffered 36-0, 28-0 and 26-0 defeats this season.

    In 10 matches this season, they have scored one goal and conceded 219, after suffering an exodus of players.

    Chairwoman Julie Boyce says: "We're putting a brave face on things, but yes it's tough, and if it went on indefinitely, it would threaten the future of the club."


    Jake Waring: "Sorry to Reading fans but I really want them to go down as a lesson to club owners. Stop sacking managers mid-season!"

    Edson Madeira: "Reading's potential new manager has eight games left, as Saturday's game at Manchester United is already a write-off given the mood leading up to it."

    Kanayo Umeogu: "Give that job to Di Matteo. Only he can keep Reading up."

  112. 0851: 

    A little background on the managerial situation at Reading: Brian McDermott's exit comes with the club lying 19th in the Premier League, four points from a position of safety.

    They have lost their last four league matches, suffering a 2-1 defeat at home to relegation rivals Aston Villa on Saturday.

    Before that, though, they had been showing signs of improvement after a difficult start, winning four successive games in all competitions as McDermott was named Premier League manager of the month for January.

  113. 0844:  
    BBC Radio 5 liveFOOTBALL

    Former Reading captain Ady Williams tells BBC Radio 5 live that Brian McDermott's departure from Reading is badly timed, coming with just nine games of the season to go.

    He says: "I think it is a statement of intent by the owner [Anton Zingarevich]. The results are poor, we've got the worst away record in the League, just one win away this season. I think its bad timing, I really do.

    "Manchester United and Arsenal are the next two games, they're away and I think with nine games to go, you've got to stick with Brian. If it was going to happen, I would have sooner it had happened before Christmas."

  114. 0840: 

    BBC Sport racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght reports on Twitter that it has started snowing again at the Cheltenham Festival: "Not trying to be overly gloomy but it's not improving much at the moment; what sun there was has gone in and there are snow flurries."

    There is an inspection scheduled for 1030 GMT.


    Some early thoughts from you on the managerial vacancy at Reading. Keep them coming, please. #bbcsportsday

    Matt O'Riordan: "Di Canio would turn the club into a circus, we don't want him. Roberto Di Matteo or Nigel Adkins seem popular among the fans, if a bit optimistic."

    Josh Waughman: "Di Canio won't go to Reading, there's only one club in the Premier League he'll manage and that's West Ham."

    Ben Pathe: "Baffled by Brian McDermott sacking. How can someone make a significant impact with nine games to go?"

  116. 0833:  
    BBC Radio 5 liveHORSE RACING

    Clifton adds: "We can remove the covers in two hours, so we have time to play with. We don't need to be getting the covers up at 0800 GMT or anything. The ground remains soft underneath the covers and on the majority of the course, its soft all-round, so that will be the going once we get the go-ahead at 1030 GMT, hopefully."

    The four-day meeting is scheduled to start with the Supreme Novices Hurdle at 1330 GMT. There will be commentary on every race on BBC Radio 5 live or 5 live sports extra, with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website from 1230 GMT.

  117. 0830:  
    BBC Radio 5 liveHORSE RACING

    Andy Clifton, the communications manager at Cheltenham racecourse, tells BBC Radio 5 live: "Ninety-five percent of the track is absolutely fine under the covers. There are just one or two areas that are causing a small amount of concern, so we remain very confident, but we have called a 1030 GMT inspection."

  118. 0826: 

    BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at Cheltenham: "'For Cheltenham, read Chill-tenham. With wind chill, the temperature at the racecourse overnight ahead of its four-day Festival meeting dropped to -12C.

    "A precautionary inspection has been called for 1030 GMT after small parts of the track were found to be frozen under the frost covers.

    "Officials remain confident racing will start as planned, with the famous Cheltenham roar from a 60,000 crowd greeting the opening Supreme Novices' Hurdle at 1330 GMT.

    "Sleet showers, followed by sunny spells, have given the last hours before the big meeting a surreal feel, but there is a buzz among early media arrivals at the Gloucestershire course.

    "Some racing fans refer to the day before the Festival as Cheltenham Eve as the waiting for the much-anticipated 'greatest show on turf' is nearly over. Few could have predicted a white 'Christmas' in March."

  119. 0823: 

    Federer and Nadal both admit that they were shaken up by an earthquake just south of Indian Wells on Monday.

    The quake, which measured 4.7 on the Richter scale, struck deep beneath a mountain range just before 17:00 GMT, around 22 miles south of Palm Springs.

    Federer says: "For the first few seconds I wasn't sure what was happening. I ran outside.

    "Thank God my family wasn't in the house."

    Nadal adds: "I was very scared. I was on the massage table preparing for my warm-up. I think the massage table moved even more."

  120. 0820: 

    British number one Andy Murray, who faces Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei in his third-round match at Indian Wells later today, is out of the doubles.

    Murray and brother Jamie have lost 6-3 7-5 to Treat Huey of the Philippines and Poland's Jerzy Janowicz in the second round.

  121. 0818: 

    Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are on course to meet in the Indian Wells Masters quarter-finals after reaching the last 16.

    Federer, ranked second in the world, has beaten Croatia's Ivan Dodig 6-3 6-1 in the third round, while Nadal has gone through on a walkover after Argentine opponent Leonardo Mayer withdrew because of a back injury.

  122. 0813: 

    Can a managerial change work for a club this late in the season? Wolves replaced Mick McCarthy with Terry Connor in February last year and were relegated, while Alan Shearer couldn't keep Newcastle in the Premier League in 2009 after taking over in the April.

    What do you think? Is Paolo Di Canio the man to save Reading? Or could Roberto Di Matteo or Nigel Adkins be the man? Can anyone save them from the drop? Let us know your thoughts via Twitter, please, using the hashtag #bbcsportsday

  123. 0810:  
    BBC Radio 5 liveFOOTBALL

    Former Reading captain Ady Williams tells BBC Radio 5 live that Paolo Di Canio could be the man to keep Reading in the Premier League.

    "Paolo di Canio has done a fantastic job at Swindon, gaining promotion from League Two last year and when he left the club, they were bang involved at the top of League One, so results wise, Di Canio has done a fantastic job.

    "But Paolo brings a lot to the table, not just on the pitch, but away from it as well, so it will be very interesting to see who is going to come in."

  124. 0808: 

    Reading are looking for a new manager after the departure of Brian McDermott yesterday.

    Former Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio is the favourite to get the job, according to the back pages of several newspapers this morning - including the Daily Mirror, the Sun and the Daily Express.

  125. 0806: 

    More from Simon Claisse on the conditions at Cheltenham: "The wind chill dropped to -12C overnight and it was still -9C at 0500 GMT today.

    "The is sun is out now and if we get an hour or two of sunshine on it, it should start to move.

    "If we get some cloud cover, the rate at which that will happen will obviously slow."

  126. 0804: 

    Simon Claisse, clerk of the course at Cheltenham, says: "We are frozen in places but it seems to be small areas. We can't really tell the extent of the frozen areas until we start to take the covers up.

    "If the weather does what we expect it to and the temperature gets up to 3C by 1200 GMT, we should be kicking off as planned at 1330 GMT."

  127. 0802: 
    Cheltenham racecourse

    Cheltenham will have to pass a 10.30am inspection if the opening day of the Festival meeting is to go ahead.

    The covers were put down at the track over the weekend, but officials report the track to be frozen in a few places this morning after cold weather overnight.

  128. 0800: 

    Hello and welcome along to another Sportsday, from the BBC Sport Centre in Salford Quays. Plenty to get through this morning, including the latest on the managerial vacancy at Reading, but we'll start with a weather update from the Cheltenham Festival.

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