Thank you Barry and good afternoon all, we do have a lot of press conferences coming this afternoon so strap in for all of those updates. But first some news from women’s football. Denmark international and former Everton defender Rikke Sevecke has been forced to retire at the age of 27 because of a heart condition.
“I’m not sure how to find the right words,” she said. “But as of now I will no longer be running around doing what I’ve done my whole life, playing football.
“The past months I’ve had some tests done and I recently got the results back which says that I have a heart condition. This means I’m not allowed to continue playing professional football and I’ve therefore been forced to stop playing immediately.” Read the full story:
Handover: With plenty more managers due to speak this afternoon, I’ll leave you in the very capable hands of Sarah Rendell, who will bring you the pick of their gems of wisdom.
Done deal! The former MK Dons, Charlton Athletic and Oxford United manager is the new head coach of Salford City and will take over from Neil Wood, who was sacked by gary Neville and his fellow alumni from the Class of 91 after their team was hammered 5-1 by Tranmere Rovers on Boxing Day.
“We are delighted to welcome Karl to Salford City as our new Head Coach,” sasid Nicky Butt, one of the club’s co-owners. “Throughout the interview and appointment process he impressed us with his wealth of knowledge and ability.
“Salford City’s ambition is to play as high up in the Football League as possible so when we entered the recruitment process we felt it was important for us to appoint someone with experience of managing at a higher level, and Karl’s long-term vision for the club, drive and determination excited us”
Salford currently sit fourth from bottom in League Two and host Troy Deeney’s Forest Green, the worst side in the division, tomorrow afternoon.
Done deal! The Chilean international winger was rumoured to be undergoing a medical with the Blades this morning and it has now been confirmed that he has signed on loan from Villarreal until the end of the season.
“For me, the fact that he really wanted to come here and play in the Premier League was a big factor,” said Chris Wilder.
“I didn’t have to say much about Sheffield United because he knows all about us already, he’s done his homework and liked what he’d heard and what we had to say to him.
“Bringing players to this club, first and foremost they need to want to be here, and Ben showed a real appetite and enthusiasm for the challenge ahead, and that was key for me.”
“He’s excited about playing for this club and I have no doubt this is a signing which will be a major help to us in the second part of this season.”
Manchester City: Zack Steffen has left the treble-winners and signed a three-year deal with MLS side Colorado Rapids. The goalkeeper made just 21 appearances in four years as a City player but leaves the club with two Premier League medals and a Carabao Cup winner’s medal to his name.
The American spent last season out on loan at Middlesbrough and the one before that in Germany with Fortuna Dusseldorf. His only appearance for City this season came in their Carabao Cup defeat at the hands of Newcastle in September.
Newcastle United: Having seen his side lose seven of their past eight games, exiting the Champions League and Carabao Cup in the process, Eddie Howe is under pressure to get his Newcastle team back to winning ways. There could be few places better to do so than at the Stadium of Light, where his team will face Sunderland at lunchtime tomorrow.
Due in no small part to the weird apathy of their previous owner Mike Ashley, Newcastle’s FA Cup record over the past 20 years is pretty dismal but they have also gone out to lower league opposition in the third round on both occasions since the Saudi takeover. Cambridge United beat them in a seismic upset at St James’ Park during Howe’s first season in charge, while Sheffield Wednesday knocked them out this time last year.
“I’m we’ll aware of my record here,” he told reporters. “It’s not been good. The two games we’ve had have been really disappointing so can’t shy away from that. We need to hit that head on and try and make up for it in this game.
“It’s our opportunity to progress in a cup competition, we want to do well in and we want the extra games in the other competitions. Every part of us wants to progress and do well.”
While it has nothing to do with Howe or his current crop of players, Newcastle’s recent record against Sunderland in Wear-Tyne derbies is not good. They’ve lost six out of the past seven, while the most recent one, played in March 2016, ended in a 1-1 draw.
Liverpool: With both Kostas Tsimikas and Andy Robertson currently sidelined with shoulder injuries, the club have recalled 21-year-old left-back Owen Beck from a loan spell with Dundee. Klopp has been discussing the decision to recall a youngster who has just two senior appearances for Liverpool to his name.
“We are really positive about Owen. He had two difficult loan spells but at Dundee everything was fine. Things can happen when you move away from home. It must be the right manager, right team … another experienced left-back already there, so many things can happen. The situation here is clear; we’ve lost two left-backs, so the boy we like is available so we bring him back. That is it.”
Liverpool: Juregen Klopp has been attending to his media duties ahead of Liverpool’s third round showdown against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. He confirmed that midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai will miss the game with a hamstring injury and was asked how he bade farewell to Mo Salah and Wataru Endo when they set off to compete in the Africa Cup of Nations and Asian Cup respectively.
“I said if I wish them good luck it would be a lie,” he said. “From a personal point of view, I would not be overly unhappy if they went out in the group stage, but it is probably not possible.
“But no, it’s fine, of course, I would be happy for them to go on and win it. I said good luck and come back healthy – that is pretty much the words and that is it. Now we have to deal with it and we will deal with it. I am pretty positive we will find a way but obviously we have to show that on the pitch.”
Newcastle United: Eddie Howe’s side will make the short 14-mile journey to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light tomorrow for the first Wear-Tyne derby in almost eight years.
Much of the pre-match hoopla has revolved around the Sunderland hierarchy’s baffling decision to redecorate one stadium bar with Newcastle colours and slogans ahead of the FA Cup tie, a move that has prompted understandable outrage from their fanbase and no end of derision from Newcastle supporters.
“These things can happen,” said Howe, with the faint traces of what could definitely be described as a smirk playing on his lips. “It’s up to Sunderland what they do with their stadium, it’s nothing to do with us.”
Asked about his plans for January, Howe said he had been given no assurances he will be given funds to spend this January but also claimed he is looking forward to freshening up his squad, whether it was with new faces or the more familiar ones of players returning to action after spells on the sidelines with injury.
“We will assess the month as it goes on,” he said. “In the short term there’s a need to bring players in with the dynamic of the squad currently. We hope we can get players back towards the end of January that will make a difference.”
Sheffield United: The Blades travel to Gillingham in the FA Cup tomorrow to negotiate what can safely be labelled a “potential banana skin”. Ahead of the game, Chris Wilder remained tight-lipped about the club’s efforts to bring the former Blackburn striker Ben Brereton-Diaz to Bramall Lane on loan from Villarreal, where he has failed to make much of an impact since moving to Spain in the summer.
“There’s names that have been put to us and we have talked to them and I have put the phone down and gone ‘No, it’s not the right one.’,” said Wilder. “We have to make that assessment. It’s everything – from a physical point of view with the way the Premier League is now, as we need some robust players and physicality about our play to freshness coming into the group, which I am sure we will get back.
“I want players who want to come here as well, which is massive and I believe that all those who come here will make a difference and the mentality will be good and strong and they will want to improve the group and themselves and make a difference to our results.” Sky Sports News are reporting that Brereton-Diaz is undergoing a medical with Sheffield United this morning.
Brentford: With top strikers thin on the ground and so many elite clubs in need of one, Ivan Toney is a player who will be in big demand once his ban for illegal betting activities ends on 20 January. The Brentford striker scored 21 goals in 36 appearances in all competitions last season but has not played since being disciplined in May.
Despite fears the 27-year-old may be a little ring-rusty upon his return to action, there is likely to be plenty of interest in Toney but his boss insists any club wishing to secure his services will have to pay top, top, top, top dollar.
Speaking ahead of Brentford’s FA Cup third round match against Wolves tonight, Thomas Frank said he hoped Toney wouldn’t be going anywhere. “He is a Brentford player,” he said. “He is here. Clearly, we miss a few offensive players and I can’t see why we should sell him. I would love to have him here for a long time. It would need to be an unbelievable price (for us to consider selling him), so he will stay here.”
The Brentford manager refused to talk numbers, or be drawn on what kind of price he would consider “unbelievable”, telling one reporter “you have a good imagination so you can figure it out”.
West Ham: Thilo Kehrer has finalised his loan move from the Europa Conference League champions to Monaco. Signed from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2022, the 27-year-old German centre-back has not started a single Premier League game for David Moyes’s side this season and will move to Monaco for an initial loan deal of £431,000, with a £9m option to make it permanent at the end of the season.
Good day, everyone. It being the Friday of a massively busy weekend of FA Cup third round action, managers the length and breadth of the UK will be pulling up chairs in media rooms around the country, ready to face barrages of questions regarding their January transfer plans, among other topics of interest.
While most, if not all of them will be keeping their cards close to their chests at this early stage of the window, we’ll bring you all the news that’s fit to print and some that will almost inevitably prove not to be as the day’s media briefings unfold.