Premier League

Carlisle backs Chelsea and FA

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Wed, 14 Nov 2012 15:52:00

Jermaine Pennant must be prepared to potentially lose his place in Wolves' starting line-up, according to his manager Stale Solbakken.

The winger has been an ever-present for Wolves since sealing his loan switch to Molineux, making six appearances.

But Solbakken's men have been winless in that time, slipping to 15th in the Championship table, and the Norwegian manager has made it clear that Pennant is not guaranteed a place in his first team.

He said: "He's going in the right direction but he must also be aware some games will be for him and some maybe won't.

"He came here not having played in the Championship for a long time. He played three games quite quickly and maybe he's struggling with a lack of match rhythm, and it's not easy to come in when there are big expectations.

Solbakken added: "He doesn't cover as much grass as some. But he's had some good moments."

The former Falkirk and Hibernian manager, 48, quit his post as Livingston boss to answer an SOS from Pools, who had been widely expected to install Phil Brown as Neale Cooper's successor.

"I've always wanted the opportunity to come and work in England," Hughes said. "But I leave Livingston with a heavy heart because there's a lot of good things going on up there, but to get this opportunity, and once I met (chief executive) Russ (Green) in the interview process I've been really excited, but I'm under no illusions that we've got real hard work in front of us.

"I need to get in with the players, inspire them and they have to have a real trust in each other, a belief that they can win football matches, so the quicker we do that and hopefully that can start against Coventry on Saturday and that will give us confidence and we can get momentum to get us out of the position that nobody here wants us to be in."

Pools have won only one of their 17 league games this season and are currently nine points adrift at the foot of the table, but Hughes, a former centre-half who counts Celtic and hometown side Hibernian as his former clubs, is relishing the challenge and added: "I was talking to one of my football friends in Scotland and he said he was looking for Hartlepool in the newspapers but they were that far down they had fallen off the page and it brought a smile to my face. I'm going to use that for my players because if everyone is saying that about us, then hopefully that will galvanise us and will create that siege mentality.

"I keep saying I cannot do this myself. We need the supporters, everybody engaging, taking part and supporting the team. I won't be wielding a big stick and demanding of them, footballers are at their best when they play with a smile on their faces and that can only spread throughout the community."

The 28-year-old Sunderland shot-stopper was named by manager Giovanni Trapattoni in his starting line-up on Tuesday, but he was withdrawn on Wednesday afternoon after undergoing a scan on his groin.

Westwood's place will be taken by 33-year-old Millwall keeper David Forde, who will win just his fourth senior cap.

A spokesman for the Football Association of Ireland said: "The Football Association of Ireland today confirmed that Keiren Westwood has been ruled out of tonight's game against Greece in Aviva Stadium with a groin injury.

"Keiren underwent a scan this morning, and will return to his club later this evening for treatment. David Forde will replace him for tonight's game."

Peter Herbert, chair of the Society of Black Lawyers (SBL), has hit out at the organisations for not reporting allegations of racial abuse against top-flight referee Clattenburg to the police.

The FA are investigating the matter after receiving a complaint from the club but neither body involved police.

The SBL did make a complaint to the Metropolitan Police based on media reports of the alleged incident but officials at Scotland Yard have announced no action will be taken "because no victims had come forward".

Professional Footballers' Association chairman Carlisle, speaking at the Street League Academy in Manchester, said: "I think it would have been better if it remained within the remit of Chelsea and the FA to put any subsequent case to the Met Police.

"It is an allegation they are currently investigating themselves.

"If we reported all incidents from third-party evidence, there would be many investigations the police would have to go through.

"We have to have faith Chelsea have reported the incidents in good faith and that the FA will deal with it accordingly, and report it to the police if necessary."

Clattenburg is alleged to have used a term which could be interpreted as racist to Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel during the Barclays Premier League game against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 28.

The FA is expected to announce the outcome of its investigation into Chelsea's complaint within 48 hours.

Herbert said in a statement: "It would appear that there is a cosy little agreement between Chelsea FC and the FA not to report these matters to the Metropolitan Police but to have them dealt with solely by the FA.

"The FA have a dreadful record of indifference on hate crime generally; failing to challenge anti-Semitism at Tottenham Hotspur and at other grounds; eventually finding John Terry made a racist remark but remarkably found him not to be a "racist"; whilst the derisory penalty of a four or eight-match ban [Luis Suarez] is believed to be a suitable punishment for what in any other industry would be summary dismissal for gross misconduct."

Carlisle is hopeful that the matter will be dealt with sufficiently whatever the outcome.

He said: "It is vital that, should Mark Clattenburg be found innocent by the FA and there is no charge for him to answer, as much as there was a furore around the allegation, there should be as much attention on his vindication.

"It is also equally vital that if he is subsequently charged and found guilty that the correct sanctions are imposed.

"We should not be sensationalist about this. We should focus on the mechanisms that are in place so that incidents that occur are dealt with accordingly to everybody's satisfaction."

Clattenburg, 37, returned to training with the top-flight Select Group of referees last weekend for the first time since Chelsea's complaint to the FA, but will not officiate this weekend.

Neither the FA nor Chelsea would respond to the criticism, though it is understood the governing body rejects the claims made by the SBL.

Chelsea also acted in the belief that the FA was the appropriate organisation to deal with their complaint rather than the police.

Herbert said he would raise his views with the sports minister Hugh Robertson.

The minister however said he could not issue orders to Chelsea to involve the police.

Robertson said: "They are welcome to approach me but I cannot instruct Chelsea to make criminal complaints, that is an argument he needs to have with Chelsea."

He added: "We had the Downing Street summit [on racism in football] earlier in the year and the FA are coming back to us before the end of the year and as soon as we have that response we will assess what to do next."

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