It appears Reading are close to appointing ex-Southampton manager Nigel Adkins as the replacement for Brian McDermott, who was sacked two weeks ago. Gus Poyet was said to have turned down the post last week and the Royals have also been linked with Paolo Di Canio and Roberto Di Matteo. Whoever does take over will have a mountain to climb as Reading currently sit in 19th and seven points adrift of Premier League safety.


Southend have appointed former Hull manager Phil Brown as the replacement for Paul Sturrock, who departed the League Two club on Sunday. Brown is being tasked with reviving the Essex club’s ailing promotion dream and has to make up six points in the remaining seven games to reach the play-offs.


Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has said it would be ‘a pleasure’ to work with Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho  but insisted it is unfair to talk about the possibility of the Portuguese manager taking the helm at Stamford Bridge while Rafa Benitez is still in charge.


Michael Owen has told Sky Sports that once he retires from playing at the end of the season he still intends to remain involved in the sport. “I would like to do some TV work, maybe write blogs and different things media related, I would also like to set up a management business that predominately looks after young players, and see them throughout their career to take them from the start,” he said.


Lukas Podolski has rubbished reports that he is looking to leave Arsenal, insisting he is happy at the north London club. In an interview he said he cannot help if clubs are interested in him but it makes him proud as it is a sign he is doing well at the club. “I feel really comfortable in the town, at this club,” he insisted.


Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova will return to Spain this week after two months in New York receiving cancer treatment, the club have announced. The Catalan giants have said that although they are unsure when their man will return to first team duties, he will be warmly welcomed by the players and staff when he does.


Joleon Lescott has admitted that he will seriously consider his future with Manchester City at the end of the season in the hopes of playing for England in the Brazil World Cup.


Sunderland are awaiting results of a scan to find out the extent of Steven Fletcher’s injury. The striker was stretchered off after just two minutes of Scotland’s defeat to Wales on Friday after landing awkwardly on his right ankle.


After England’s 8-0 thumping of San Marino on Friday they travel to Montenegro tomorrow night for the real test and for a chance to move top of the qualification tables. Good luck lads.