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Posts Tagged ‘ Steve Bruce ’

Ireland Striker Long Completes Move To Hull City

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Hull City have completed the signing of Ireland striker Shane Long from West Bromwich Albion for an undisclosed fee.

The 26-year-old Tipperary native has signed a  three-and-a-half year deal and completed the relevant paperwork on Friday  morning. Continue reading
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West Brom Accept Hull Offer For Ireland Striker

long

West Bromwich Albion have accepted an  undisclosed offer from Hull City for Ireland striker Shane Long.

The Tipperary native has six months left on his Hawthorns deal, plus  a year’s option in the club’s favour, and has been given permission to talk to  the Tigers, who have also signed Nikica Jelavic from Everton to partner the former Cork City star.  Continue reading

Premier League Preview: Jose’s Blues Are The Boys To Beat

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With the new Premier League season fast approaching, it’s hard to look beyond an old foe of many managers and fans alike from stealing the limelight once the season gets underway.

This summer’s transfer window and indeed all of the summer’s talk has been shaped around three men, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Arsenal’s pursuit of the Uruguayan, Wayne Rooney and his transfer request and Spur’s Gareth Bale who is being courted by Real Madrid.

One team, with the exception of a handful of Rooney rumours, has slipped under the radar as they plan to wrestle back a title that they won back to back in 2005 and 2006, and they have Jose Mourinho back to steer them there. Continue reading

Young Irish Abroad #4 James McClean

The Airtricity League is by no means known as a contributor when it comes to footballers for its national team, but after Keith Fahey, read James McClean.

The Derry born winger has declared for the Republic after rejecting a call up to represent Northern Ireland. “It was a blow seeing Irish League players being called up before me to the Northern Ireland squad, but having got the call I was relieved,” McClean said in the Belfast Telegraph. “However, it’s always been my dream to play for the Republic and hopefully that will become a reality now that I’m going to be a Sunderland player.” This was McClean speaking in August 2011 and now that he is a Sunderland player; his dream may well come true.

He is a player who is quite like the Robbie Brady, who we featured in week one,  but is more comfortable out wide left. He began his career playing with Derry City, where he made 73 appearances and scored 18 goals. His £350,000 move to Sunderland, triggered a call up to the Northern Irish Squad in the IFA’s mind, but it triggered much better thoughts in James’ mind if you’re a Republic fan.

The exciting winger is yet to prove himself on Wearside, but his exciting performances for Derry and his seven appearances as a youth player for the North show some signs of greatness, while his performances at the Dublin Super Cup may have sealed the deal in Sunderland’s eyes.  That tournament did field some criticism from within the league in Ireland, but it has seen Daniel Kearns and James McClean move across the water, as well as massive interest in Daryl Kavanagh of St Patricks Athletic and Derry full back Daniel Lafferty too.

The manager who signed McClean for Sunderland, Steve Bruce, has recently been sacked and proud Northern Irish man Martin O’Neill has taken over. This can be viewed two different ways for McClean. O’Neill could snub the Northern Irish born Republic star, or he could embrace his young talent and nurture him to becoming a top player like he did with Aiden McGeady at Celtic. The experience and fair nature of the former Wycombe, Leicester, Celtic and Aston Villa manager would lead me to believe the latter.

If McClean can race his way into the Sunderland side from the bench, then we may see a new talent emerge for the Boys IN Green. Of all the players reviewed so far, and still to be reviewed, I feel that James McClean is the rawest, but has the potential to be exciting for the Republic beyond 2012.

Follow Sunderland AFC winger James McClean on twitter @JMcC19.

Top Ten January Transfers

What a month January was in the world of football. Few would have predicted half the moves that were made and certainly the quality of players available was better than before. Here Glenn Dowd analyses what he believed to be the top ten signings of the January transfer window.

1)Fernando Torres

Roman Abramovich`s decision to splash out E50 Million on Torres is a great investment, that signals Chelsea`s intent to maintain an end of season title run. One of two major signings that shook the world of football, Torres had been expected to stay at Liverpool where he was idolised by many. However after slapping in the transfer request, he got the move he craved.

2)Andy Carroll

Future England star is a ready made replacement at Liverpool for Torres. Carroll was destined to follow Alan Shearer as the new Toon messiah but jumped at the chance to leave Newcastle for Anfield. A fee of E35 Million raised many eyebrows, with the Geordie becoming the clubs record breaking signing.

3)Luis Suarez

The star of the 2010 World Cup has also linked up with Kenny Dalglish`s men. The Scot paid just over E22 Million to nab the Ajax striker. Certainly big things in store for the Uruguayan if he can get to grips with the Premier League immediately.

4)Edin Dzeko

City`s long pursuit of Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko paid off in January, with E27 Million sealing the deal for the Bosnian. Dzeko has already bagged his first goal for the club in the 1-1 FA Cup draw with Notts County and his goals will prove the catalyst should see maintain their title challenge.

5)Darren Bent

Few would have seen this coming. The thought off Darren Bent leaving Sunderland must have never crossed the mind of Mackem`s fans. But then it happened almost immediately and the once favoured hero of Wearside became the Villain, linking up with Gerard Houliier at Aston Villa with a price tag of E18 Million around his neck.

6)David Luiz

Chelsea`s relentless pursuit of Benfica Defender David Luiz eventually paid off at the eleventh hour on deadline day. E21 Million and Nemanja Matic were enough to ensure the Portuguese international would move to Stamford Bridge.

7) Stephen Pienaar

Definitely the bargain of the transfer window. With Stephen Pienaar`s contract coming to an end in the summer, Everton decided to cash in on their star player, after realising he would not renew his deal. The South African turned down Chelsea in favour of a move to Spurs,providing  a E3 Million bargain for Harry Redknapp.

8)Robbie Keane

The Irish striker has moved to West Ham on loan until the end of the season. He may well be the man to keep the Hammers up. Avram Grant has added some good signings in this window with Wayne Bridge,Demba Ba and Gary O`Neill all moving to Upton Park. Should the Hammers survive, Keane will sign a permanent contract.

9)Roque Santa Cruz

The Paraguayan has returned to Ewood Park, his first home in English football. After an unsuccessful spell at Man City, Santa Cruz welcomed a move back to Blackburn. The stiker has intially arrived on loan but if he can find his form again he will be an astute signing.  

10) Sulley Muntari

Few would have predicted somebody who won the Champions League last year to arrive at Sunderland, but thats what has happened. Sulley Muntari, the Ghanaian international, has arrived on loan at Steve Bruce`s side from Inter Milan. A valuable addition to any squad.

Premier League Preview

This weekend`s fixture list throws up some exciting derby matches as the Premier League resumes following last week“s FA Cup third round matches.   

 

West Ham V Arsenal

 

With the backing of their tremendous fans, the Hammers may well pull off a result in what would appear to be Avram Grant`s last match in charge. However, Arsenal will be eager to avenge their recent results, with a 1-1 FA Cup Draw with Leeds and a 1-0 defeat to Ipswich in the League Cup semi final leaving Gunners fans aggrieved.

 

Verdict: Draw

 

Liverpool V Everton

 

This Merseyside derby always serves us a tense battle and Kenny Dalglish will be eager to get his first win as Liverpool manager over their arch enemies. He will have to do so without the services of the influential Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. Dalglish will be hoping his side can improve on their disastrous midweek performance, where Blackpool came from a goal behind to beat the Anfield side for the second time this season.

Everton manager David Moyes will be hoping like Blackpool, that his side can do the double over Liverpool this season. However Everton may well struggle for goals as top scorer Tim Cahill is away on international duty with Australia. Expect the home side to edge this one with Fernando Torres putting his critics to shame.  

 

Verdict: Liverpool

 

Spurs V Man Utd

 

Man United travel to Spurs on Sunday for what should be an intriguing tie. United will find it tough against Harry Redknapp`s men and their unbeaten record in the Premier League this season faces a real threat.

 

Spurs will definitely frustrate the Red Devils, with a draw the most likely outcome.

 

Verdict: Draw

 

Chelsea V Blackburn

 

Chelsea host Blackburn Rovers at Stamford Bridge as they aim to put together a steady run of results following their desire form as of late. Roque Santa Cruz`s return to Lancashire will boost Steve Kean`s men and they will certainly be up for this match. However with their inconsistent form this season Rovers may just fall short.

 

Verdict: Chelsea   

 

Man City V Wolves

 

Roberto Mancini`s men will be aiming to crank up the pressure on Manchester United at the top of the table this weekend but they must not underestimate a Wolves side, who have beaten both Liverpool and Chelsea in recent weeks.

Mick McCarthy`s men will travel to Eastlands in a confident mood but the relegation candidates may well fall fowl to Edin Dzeko, with City`s new 27 million striker the catalyst for a title tilt.

 

Verdict: Man City   

 

Stoke V Bolton

 

Bolton travel to the Britannia Stadium this weekend hoping to maintain their push for  Europe. While the Trotters have produced some outstanding displays this term they may well come unstuck against Tony Pulis` men. A draw is the most likely result.

 

Verdict:Draw  

 

West Brom V Blackpool

 

Ian Holloway`s side will roll into the Midlands this weekend in confident mood after putting Liverpool to the sword in midweek. Blackpool have every reason to be confident ahead of this match as West Brom are on an alarming slide down the table after their early season exploits.

 

Verdict: Blackpool

 

Wigan V Fulham

 

Wigan will be eager to start putting more points on the board as they currently sit second bottom. A win over Mark Hughes` men may well move them out of the relegation zone but they must rely on results elsewhere. Fulham will provide stiff competition for the Latics as they are in a similar position. Should Roberto Martinez`s side win they will jump above the Cottagers but this match has draw written all over it.

 

Verdict:Draw

 

Sunderland V Newcastle United

 

Sunderland host their fierce rivals in the second Tyne Wear derby of the season, with manager Steve Bruce still smarting after the Geordies thrashed the Wearsiders earlier this season.

 

Sunderland may well fall short again with key players missing through injury and suspension. Newcastle are no different with Andy Carroll set to miss out yet they still possess the quality to to the double over their neighbours.

 

Verdict: Newcastle  

 

Birmingham City V Aston Villa

 

These two sides meet at St Andrews with only a point separating them. This season has proved to be a frustrating one for both sides as they languish in the bottom half of the table. For Birmingham, its been a case of lacking goals while for Villa it has just been one long slide under Gerard Houllier. Birmingham look set to appease their goal drought with the signing of Spurs striker Robbie Keane while Villa are in the market for some new players, with Jean Makoun of Lyon undergoing a medical at Villa Park.

The incentive is their for both sides but Alex McLeish`s men may prove too strong for Villa.

 

Verdict: Birmingham City

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