x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Hodgson backs Meireles to make an impression

The Liverpool manager believes Raul Meireles is now finding his feet in the Premier League, while Roman Pavlyuchenko is in talks over signing a new contract at Tottenham.

Liverpool

Roy Hodgson believes Raul Meireles is now finding his feet in the Premier League and beginning to make an impact.The former Porto midfielder was an influential figure in the 3-0 victory against Aston Villa on Monday after making a slow start to his Anfield career. Hodgson, the Liverpool manager, said: "With Raul Meireles it was always just a question of time. He came from a different league but I never doubted his quality as a player. I always knew we'd get something out of him because of his exceptional ability. I'm sure we'll get even more out of him now, with the more games he plays as he settles."

Wolves

Mick McCarthy, the Wolverhampton Wanderers manager, is ready to adopt a "win ugly" policy in a bid to again steer his side away from relegation. Wolves are one place off the foot of the Premier League table and on a run of 22 games in all competitions without a clean sheet. "Winning ugly is about not taking chances in the wrong areas," said McCarthy, who is being linked with a move for Robbie Keane, the Tottenham Hotspur striker. "We need to be hooking the ball on when it needs to be hooked on, heading it, winning all the duels and tackles. We need to get back to that kind of approach."

Sunderland

Sunderland's manager Steve Bruce is keeping his fingers crossed over loan signings Danny Welbeck and Nedum Onuoha. The Manchester United striker Welbeck, 19, and his teammate, 24, who belongs to derby rivals Manchester City, are both on season-long deals at the Stadium of Light. Bruce has been delighted with the contribution of the two men, particularly in recent weeks, and admits they are the kind of players he would like to keep. Bruce said: "The one thing I have got to do is be respectful to their two clubs. They are two young players and the one thing they have benefited from is playing here, and that was the big thing. "

Bolton Wanderers

Bolton expect Stuart Holden to be back in contention for Sunday's Lancashire derby against Blackburn Rovers. The US international has missed the last two Premier League games with a thigh injury but he was back in action yesterday as Owen Coyle called his squad in for extra training in a bid to shake off the cobwebs after Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Manchester City. The Bolton manager explained that the late decision not to include Holden at Eastlands was made to avoid him having an extended spell on the sidelines.

Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, rates Paul Scholes as "doubtful" for Monday's Premier League showdown with Arsenal at Old Trafford. The midfielder has not featured since he picked up a groin injury in the victory over Glasgow Rangers last month. Scholes had been expected to play some part in United's 1-1 draw with Valencia at Old Trafford on Tuesday but, after a minor setback in training.

Tottenham Hotspur

Roman Pavlyuchenko is in talks over signing a new contract at Tottenham, according to the Russia striker's agent. Oleg Artemov claims Spurs are trying to tie Pavlyuchenko down to a new deal less than a year after he looked certain to leave White Hart Lane. Birmingham City came close to landing the forward in January but could not agree a fee with Tottenham. Pavlyuchenko has been in and out of Harry Redknapp's side this season but has still scored eight goals in 21 appearances. "Redknapp wouldn't sell Pavlyuchenko now," Artemov told Russian newspaper Sovetskiy Sport. "Three months ago, [the chariman Daniel] Levy suggested Roman sign a new contract on improved terms. We are in negotiations and discussing the details."