herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

Bassong to stay in lane

Tottenham defender Sebastien Bassong has declared his intention to stay and fight for his place at White Hart Lane ahead of his side's FA Cup fourth round trip to Fulham.

Bassong had been linked with a move away after losing his regular place in the centre since the return from injury of Michael Dawson, whom boss Harry Redknapp has preferred to partner William Gallas.

However Bassong, who has been linked with Paris St Germain in particular, told a French newspaper: "I will stay at Tottenham. I have had approaches from other clubs but this is outdated now. It is in the past."

Meanwhile, Fulham boss Mark Hughes is ready to admit defeat in his quest to sign Manchester City's Shaun Wright-Phillips, with the player's wage demands believed to be the stumbling block.

Manchester City travel to Notts County with keeper Joe Hart itching to prove a point after he was blamed for gifting Darren Bent his opener in the defeat to Aston Villa last weekend.

Hart has been strongly backed by City boss Roberto Mancini who said: "He can become one of the best goalkeepers in England and the world -- but for this to happen he has to want to work and to improve."



Upset

Everton's hopes of causing an upset at home to Chelsea are likely to be bolstered by a fully fit squad. Phil Jagielka and Louis Saha both returned last week and only Tim Cahill -- on Asian Cup duty with Australia -- is absent.

Aston Villa prepare to face Blackburn at Villa Park with boss Gerard Houllier hinting at significant squad rotation, while Steve Kean's improving Rovers can also expect to see changes.

Fresh from leading his side to the Carling Cup final, Birmingham boss Alex McLeish will hope to see his side move closer to a second Wembley trip when they meet Championship side Coventry at St Andrew's.

However, Coventry will be keen to bring their Midlands rivals back down to earth with a bang.

Bolton boss Owen Coyle is set to name a strong side for the visit of Wigan to the Reebok Stadium after insisting this week: "I would love to have a cup run. For me the FA Cup is the best cup competition in world football."

In another all-Premier League clash, Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has also pledged to name a strong side for the Molineux clash with Stoke, whose much-weakened side saw off Cardiff in a third round replay.

Meanwhile West Ham, languishing at the foot of the table and disappointed by their Carling Cup semi-final loss to Birmingham, will look to bounce back at home to Nottingham Forest.

Stevenage manager Graham Westley insists his side will respect Reading but will not be overawed by their opponents as they look to make the fifth round for the first time.

"Football matches are about 11 people taking the field against 11 other people and I said it in the last round, they (Reading) are going to have fallibilities and it's our job to magnify the fallibilities and to dismantle them," Westley said.



History

Hereford, rich in FA Cup giantkilling, are also looking to make the fifth round for the first time in their history as they travel to Hillsborough to take on League One Sheffield Wednesday.

Torquay host Crawley Town -- the only remaining non-league side in this year's competition -- while Paul Peschisolido's Burton go to Burnley.

League One leaders Brighton, conquerors of Portsmouth in round three, will be looking for another Championship scalp in the form of Watford.

As will Leyton Orient, who travel to Swansea keen to repeat their success at fellow high-flyers Norwich three weeks ago.

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