x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Miners have kickabout with United squad

And Nottingham Forest look to extend Aaron Ramsey's loan spell and Frank Lampard champions Chelsea's title chances.

Manchester United

Some of the Chilean miners rescued in October took part in a training session with Manchester United yesterday, hours before going on to watch the team's Premier League match against Arsenal. The miners arrived in Manchester on Sunday and were taken to a reception at Old Trafford hosted by United great Sir Bobby Charlton, who is the son of a miner. Charlton said: "I can't believe these are the same people the whole world dropped everything for. You took it in your stride and everyone around the world is very proud of you." Along with a session at the club's Carrington training ground the miners will also meet Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager.


Sunderland fear central defender Anton Ferdinand could be out for a month with a hamstring injury. Ferdinand limped out of the goalless draw with Fulham and could miss the busy winter period. The injury is a fresh blow to Sunderland manager Steve Bruce who was already without centre-backs Titus Bramble and Michael Turner until the new year. Bolton, Manchester United, Blackpool and Bolton are Sunderland's upcoming opponents and Nedum Onuoha, the center-half, said: "The opportunity is there to get points on the board, and with the ambition this side has we want to bag as many as we can."


Despite their recent poor run of form, Frank Lampard has "no doubt" Chelsea will retain their crown if they repeat Sunday's performance at Tottenham Hotspur. Lampard made a surprise comeback - playing the last 12 minutes - from three-and-a-half months out injured in the 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane. The result extended Chelsea's worst run for a decade but was a step in the right direction from their previous four league matches without a win. If we play with the spirit we played, I have no doubt we'll win the league, because we've got the quality in our team," Lampard told Chelsea TV. "Injuries have been tough on us, certain moments have been tough on us. But with the spirit and ability we've got in our team, if we play like that, I've got all confidence that we can do it."


Nottingham Forest will look to extend Aaron Ramsey's loan spell further into the new year. The highly-rated teenager has been at the Championship club since November 25 as Arsenal look to get him match-fit again after nine months out with a broken leg. However, the postponement of Forest's last two league matches means Ramsey has managed just 30 minutes as a second-half substitute in the defeat at Leicester. He can now only play in five more games before his loan ends on January 3. "When we get closer to the time, we will look at that option and the possibility of trying to extend his loan," Billy Davies, the Forest manager, told the Nottingham Post. "That would be nice because he is an exceptional talent. You can see that in how he handles himself."

Aston Villa

Stiliyan Petrov, the Aston Villa captain, has set his sights on returning to action for the derby clash with Birmingham City at St Andrew's on January 16. The Bulgarian international has been sidelined since late October with a knee problem he suffered against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. "It has been a painful experience for me," Petrov said. "Throughout my career, I've never missed too many games through injury and it's not something I've enjoyed. I just have to be patient for a little longer but my knee is now well and truly on the mend. I've really stepped up my work rate recently and I'm looking to be back in training within the next couple of weeks."