English League 1

Grigg focused on play-offs

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Mon, 04 Mar 2013 19:10:00

Phil Jones has been ruled out of Manchester United's Champions League clash with Real Madrid.

Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed on Monday that Jones has not recovered from the ankle injury he sustained during the FA Cup win over Reading a fortnight ago.

Paul Scholes (knee) is also sidelined, although fellow veteran Ryan Giggs is set to make the 1,000th senior appearance of his career.

Ferguson has a number of tough decisions to make, including whether to recall Danny Welbeck after he scored in the 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has confirmed goalkeeper Iker Casillas is not fit to face Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The Spain international only returned to training on Thursday after sustaining a broken hand against Valencia on January 23 and, although he travelled with the squad, he will not be considered.

Mourinho otherwise has a fully fit squad to choose from and is expected to make changes after resting several key players for the weekend Primera Liga win over Barcelona.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be one of those restored to the starting XI, for a match which marks his first return to United since leaving in a world-record deal in 2009.

Stanley edged out of the drop zone last week thanks to an impressive 3-0 win over local rivals Rochdale in midweek, before playing out a goalless draw at home to Torquay.

But the Reds are still only a solitary point above the foot of the table and Richardson does not want to get ahead of himself.

"I think you'll soon slip up if you look too far ahead," he said.

"If you give yourself targets you either go past them or fall short so I think they're false.

"I think you must just concentrate on the next day and then after that the next game.

"Once that's gone you can put your whole effort and your whole focus on the next obstacle that's put in front of you. That's what we're doing."

The 24-year-old left-sided player has been drafted in by Rams boss Nigel Clough following an hamstring injury to leading goalscorer Jamie Ward against Crystal Palace last Friday.

Forsyth is expected to be eligible to make his County debut at Cardiff on Tuesday.

Manager Nigel Clough said: "Craig is someone we've been aware of for a while and we've been impressed whenever we've seen him in action, so it'll be good to have a look at him a little more closely.

"The injuries we've picked up of late have obviously been frustrating, but it's presented us with a chance to bring Craig in.

"We've got options up front, despite Jamie Ward's injury, with Conor Sammon, Chris Martin, Michael Jacobs and Mason Bennett, but we've been left a little bit short in midfield so Craig's arrival certainly strengthens that area."

Scot Forsyth, who joined Watford from Dundee in June 2011, scored five goals in 22 appearances last season, but has found his first-team opportunities limited this term.

He has made two league appearances and featured twice in the Capital One Cup this campaign. He also spent two months on loan at Bradford City earlier in the season, making six appearances and scoring once.

Power has scored three times in 22 appearances for Rovers this season and his new deal runs until June 2015.

Manager Ronnie Moore told the club's official website: "Max has progressed really well this season. He's played a lot more than he would have expected after the injury of James Wallace and he has made the most of his opportunity.

"It is a big step up from reserve team football to playing regularly in League One but Max has impressed me. He's learning each match and if he continues to work hard he can be a very important player for Tranmere Rovers.

"He's scored a couple of fantastic goals for us already this season and hopefully there are one or two more to come from him in the final 10 games."

Power added: "I'm really happy to have signed my new contract. I love it here at Tranmere and it has been great to be regularly involved with the first team this season.

"Now I want to do everything I can to help the club finish in the top six this season. We've got 10 massive games left and we'll give it our all in every one of them."

Clarke, a Sky Blues fan for over 45 years, has enjoyed two spells as a director - first in the early 1990s and again from January 2011, with his latter stint always scheduled to be for two years.

But his departure comes as the financially-stricken club are embroiled in an ongoing rent row over the Ricoh Arena, which has subsequently seen their bank accounts frozen, while last week they were placed under a transfer embargo having again failed to file their annual accounts on time.

Clarke said: "It is with profound sadness that I am leaving the board for a second time.

"It was always my intention to stay on a little longer than the two years I had originally planned in order to hopefully see a resolution to the current situation. At the moment that does not appear to be the case.

"As both an associate director and more recently board director, I have been acutely aware of the fact that SISU (City's owners) have ploughed nearly ?45 million into the club, and in more recent times have streamlined the business in an effort to make it more sustainable.

"I have therefore been very unhappy as the local director on the board with the danger of an insolvency event due to the current external legal pressures. I have made it clear that I want the club to find an affordable and sustainable way to stay at the Ricoh.

"The past two years in the club has been the most challenging in my professional career and I leave in the hope that ACL (Arena Coventry Limited, who manage the stadium on behalf of joint owners the Alan Edward Higgs Charity and Coventry City Council) will come up with a resolution that will give the club a platform to build a sustainable financial future and the supporters the success they deserve."

Clarke returns to his role as one of the club's associate directors, a group of local businesses who invested in the club in 2007.

The Northern Ireland international is out of the contract at the Banks's Stadium at the end of this season but boss Dean Smith stated on Saturday that the Saddlers are in talks over a new deal with the 21-year-old striker.

It came after Grigg netted a brace to help see off Shrewsbury 3-1, adding to the hat-trick he bagged at Carlisle in midweek, taking his tally for the season to 16.

"It's where I've started my career and the gaffer has given me my chance so I would be happy to stay," Grigg told the Express & Star.

"I just want to concentrate, though, you never know where we're going to be at the end of the season so I'll concentrate on getting us into the play-offs and we'll go from there.

"I'm focusing on my football and we'll see what happens in the next few weeks."

Speaking after Saturday's victory over neighbours Shrewsbury, which left eighth-placed Walsall five points off the top six, Smith said: "He (Grigg) needs another season with us under his belt, and if he does that he can play where he wants.

"If clubs come in with an unbelievable offer you have to listen, but if he goes to a big club now he is not going to play and develop as he is with us. He needs to maintain his development."

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