Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The end for Nile?

Nile Ranger’s future at Newcastle United looks increasingly uncertain after the striker was banned from training and sent a written warning this week regarding his behaviour at the Tyneside club.

Ranger, who is yet to make an appearance for Newcastle this season, received a final warning from the club after persistently turning up late for training. So bad has his recent training-ground behaviour become that Ranger was even late for his own disciplinary meeting to address his tardiness issues earlier this season.

The striker has been banned from training with the first team until he turns up at the club on time every day for the next six weeks – a task manager Alan Pardew doubts he’ll accomplish:

“This guy is late so often, it is unbelievable. He’s still at this football club and we’re still trying to do something with him.

“But he will still not get back in the team unless he has a period of six weeks where he isn’t late. I don't think it is going to happen,” the boss admitted.

This warning comes just a week after Ranger admitted to assaulting two police officers during a night out in August last year. The 21-year-old was handed a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to monetarily compensate the officers involved.

It appears Ranger may be a case of a player being given too much, too soon. His unprofessionalism has already forced him down the pecking order at Newcastle and Pardew is not a man to be played with for too long. Newcastle’s recent success has stemmed from dressing-room harmony and a work ethic completely detached from single-minded, egotistical individuals.

If Ranger wants to be part of this team he must buck his ideas up and realise life at a Premier League club can be short, despite the four-year contract he recently signed.

Don’t forget to check out the Betfair Premier League  micro-site for all the latest news, prices and expert opinion, including the favourite winning odds premier league.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Taylor calls for calm ahead of derby clash

Newcastle defender Steven Taylor says he’s excited about the build-up to Sunday’s local derby against Sunderland but has warned his team-mates that they cannot afford to get carried away with their emotions.
The Magpies are slender favourites in online gambling markets after having lost only one of their last 15 meetings with the Wearsiders. They will be looking to get back on track following their disappointing 3-0 defeat to Manchester United last time out.
Alan Pardew’s men have made a solid start to the season but Taylor admits the defeat against the Red Devils has hit his side hard, especially after they went into the game fancying their chances of sealing the three points against Sir Alex Ferguson’s depleted side.
They now have the perfect opportunity to get their season back on track when they meet their local rivals at the Stadium of Light, for one of the most passionate derbies in the country.

Having grown-up on Tyneside, the match understandably means a lot to Taylor but unfortunately he’ll miss the clash due to injury.
Speaking to sport news before the game he insisted he will be there to offer his team-mates his advice and has warned them that they will have to control their emotions going into the game, otherwise they could get caught-up in the electric atmosphere
 "Playing in the Tyne-Wear derby is what it's all about if you're a Newcastle player, and the build-up will grow and grow over this week as the game draws near,” he said. “There's always a massive build-up, and that's the way it should be."
"As a squad, we won't be doing anything different ahead of the derby - the gaffer will pick the team
in the usual way - and it's all about keeping cool heads on the day and keeping 11 players on the pitch."

Friday, October 12, 2012

Crook plays down derby hype

Some managers might try to contain their excitement and refuse to get caught up in the hype that has NSW salivating at the prospect of a much-anticipated derby - not Ian Crook.

Far from shy away from the headlines being generated and column inches spared, the Sky Blues boss said he will tell his players to seize the moment and enjoy the big stage.

It a commendable attitude from the 49-year-old because for years now Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets fans have been pining for a domestic dust-up to savour - and why shouldn't the A-League embrace its day in the sun?

Saturday's match has been billed as the clash of the new arrivals, Alessandro del Piero and Emile Heskey, with A league betting markets involving the two imports proving popular, but there is a wider point here.

Both sides bombed in the opening round of fixtures and the Allianz Stadium showdown offers the chance to get points on the board.

An estimated 35,000 sell-out crowd is expected and Crook knows the arrival of the Azzurri legend means Sydney FC are an even bigger scalp.

"Sydney FC had that tag of 'bling' in year one, and since then it's carried on, and everybody wants to beat us," he explained.

What tends to happen is that the arrival of marquee players like del Piero not only raises his team-mates' game but also the opponents - as was proved last week against a fired-up Wellington.

Both clubs have raised the bar in terms of profile and it seems the FFA now has a product that is on the up and capable of making news soccer headlines across the country.

If Crook is to be believed, then it appears his players are ready to enjoy the ride and meet that challenge head on.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Heskey makes losing start

It turns out the A-League upsets were not confined exclusively to star Sydney FC signing Alessandro del Piero.

Another high-profile arrival, Emile Heksey of Newcastle Jets, lasted just 72 minutes of a 2-0 defeat by Adelaide United at Hunter Stadium.

The former England striker only arrived in Australia 10 days ago but was lauded by coach Gary van Egmond for a performance packed with enthusiasm but lacking the panache to ever suggest the outcome would be different.

Much of the post-match reflection will centre on a day to forget for Heksey but Adelaide, who were outsiders in the A league betting, also deserve the column inches for a display which belied a stamina-taxing extra-time quarter-final Asian Champions League defeat by Bunyodkor in Uzbekistan less than four days ago.

Reds coach John Kosmina, whose side spent 33 hours making the 11,000-kilometre journey from Tashkent to Newcastle, admitted it had been a "long week" but was encouraged by a "fantastic effort".

Heskey alone was not to blame as the Jets succumbed to goals from Dario Vidosic and Iain Ramsay in front of 14,868 fans. The goal which killed the contest came three minutes after he had got the hook after all.

Punters betting on soccer will have noted that Newcastle lacked the craft and guile in the final third to ever threaten Adelaide and the red card shown to goalkeeper Mark Birighitti on 56 minutes changed the whole dynamics of the game.

Heskey will have better days ahead and van Egmond admitted an obvious area for improvement is getting players buzzing in and around the 34-year-old to feed off his scraps.

The Jets could not be faulted for not trying but a run of three straight defeats carried over from last season is becoming a worry.