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    Birmingham keeper Neil Etheridge, 31, posts update from hospital bed and says he’s ‘slowly on the mend’ from coronavirus

    NEIL ETHERIDGE has revealed he is ‘slowly on the mend’ having been hospital-bound by Covid-19.The Birmingham City star, 31, was admitted earlier this week after contracting the deadly virus.
    Neil Etheridge posted an update to social mediaCredit: Instagram @neil38etheridge
    Etheridge had been back in pre-season training with the Blues before contracting the illness.
    The Filipino star has posted a picture of himself in his hospital bed on Instagram, connected to various tubes but with his thumbs up.
    He accompanied the image with the message: “Hi everyone.
    “I am feeling stronger today.
    “I will put a more detailed message out in due course but I just wanted to let everyone know I am slowly on the mend.
    “I am so overcome with the feeling of thanks that I don’t even know where to start.
    “I’ll put something out a little more detailed soon but all I can say for the time being is thank you.”
    Posting the picture on their Twitter account, Birmingham City wrote: “We’re right behind you, Ethers.”

    Blues technical director Craig Gardner said: “On behalf of the Board, the staff, the players and everyone connected to the Club, we’re all behind Neil and willing him on in his battle against Covid-19.
    “We’re in constant contact with his close family and will continue to support them in any way we can.
    “He’s in the best possible hands and we’re hopeful we can all welcome him home at the earliest opportunity.”
    Etheridge joined Birmingham from Cardiff City last year, making 43 appearances in his debut season at St Andrew’s.
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
    Neil Etheridge played 43 times for Blues last seasonCredit: Getty
    Fans may have to show Premier League Covid passport to gain entry into stadiums this season More

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    Lincoln manager Michael Appleton, 45, diagnosed with testicular cancer and set for surgery before taking break from role

    LINCOLN manager Michael Appleton revealed he has been diagnosed with testicular cancer and will have surgery. The 45-year-old also confirmed in an open letter that he will be taking a break from his managerial role at Sincil Bank to do so.
    Lincoln manager Michael Appleton revealed he has been diagnosed with testicular cancer and will have surgeryCredit: Rex
    Appleton told fans: “Although things are going well on and off the pitch at the club, I do have some news to share with you which means you’ll see and hear a bit less from me over the next couple of weeks.
    “A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with testicular cancer and will have the tumour removed this week.
    “There are some quite scary words in that sentence, but this is quite a routine operation and the indications are that I should be back up and on my feet in no time.
    “I do need to take a bit of a break, though, and after the surgery will be taking a couple of weeks to recover.”
    Appleton, who started his playing career at Manchester United, has been with Lincoln since 2019 and led them to fifth in League One last season, losing in the play-off final.
    The former midfielder will miss the start of pre-season but reassured fans he will be watching on TV.
    And Appleton will also be liaising with chief executive Liam Scully and director of football Jez George.
    He said: “Our transfer plans are all on track and won’t be affected – modern technology means there won’t be any escape from me for my colleagues and I’ll be able to watch videos from the games.

    “I will remain in close contact with Liam Scully and Jez George, and I’m looking forward to a bit of remote working to see what the fuss is all about!
    “I’m not the sort of person who goes into much detail about these things, but I wanted to make sure you were all aware so you knew why I have to sit out a few games.
    “There’s loads of advice out there about the early signs of cancer and what to look out for – if you have a lump or any other change please do get it checked out by a GP.”
    Lincoln were beaten 1-0 by Championship side Reading at the weekend, but have five more friendlies until they start their League One campaign against Gillingham on August 7.
    That includes travelling to newly-promoted Premier League outfit Norwich on July 20.
    Appleton started his statement by writing: “Hello Imps fans. I hope you’re all looking forward to the new season as much as I am.

    “We’ve enjoyed being back training at the Elite Performance Centre and there is a real belief and determination that we can build on last season.
    “Preparations are well underway, and we’ve had two good runouts at Reading and Nottingham Forest.
    “Don’t read anything into the scorelines, as they were really about building the players up towards match fitness after working them hard in training.
    “Our new arrivals Chris Maguire and Lewis Fiorini have really added to the squad.
    “I know Chris well having worked with him before, and he will bring good experience and knowhow for us – and will be a great example for our younger players to follow.
    “Lewis is really good signing for us with a wide range of passing in his armoury, and we’re confident of getting some other quality additions signed up soon.”
    Euro 2016 hero Eder brings out the trophy to put it on the plinth at Wembley More

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    Leyton Orient ban fan for three years following reports of racist abuse after England’s Euro 2020 final heartbreak

    LEYTON ORIENT have banned a fan for racially abusing England players online after the penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy.Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford have been subjected to abuse from vile trolls after each missing a spot-kick.
    Gareth Southgate consoles Bukayo Saka after his penalty miss
    Jadon Sancho was also devastated after Gianluigi Donnarumma saved his attempt
    The FA has issued a statement to condemn the abusers but Orient have gone one step further by issuing a three-year ban to one individual.
    Orient explained they were made aware of the person’s comments on Twitter late on Sunday before quickly deciding to ban them.
    The club re-asserted their zero-tolerance approach to racial abuse and discrimination while declaring how proud they are of the club’s diverse history.
    It is a history that includes club icon Laurie Cunningham, the first black player to represent an England national team.
    However, Orient did decide to refund the supporter’s season ticket for the upcoming season.
    But the League Two side have acted following the words of condemnation from Gareth Southgate, Prince William and Boris Johnson.
    Southgate told a news conference this morning: “It’s just not what we stand for.
    “We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody, and so that togetherness has to continue.
    “We have shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together.”

    Prince William added: “The Duke of Cambridge, who serves as president of The FA, tweeted: “I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night’s match.
    “It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour.
    “It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable. W.”
    Boris also lamented the abuse, saying: “This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media.
    “Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.”
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
    Marcus Rashford could not believe his penalty came back off the post
    Laurie Cunningham became the first black player to play for England, featuring for the Under-21s in 1977
    Gareth Southgate confirms he wants to lead England into 2022 World Cup but says ‘I never want to outstay my welcome’ More

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    Liverpool’s forgotten man Ben Davies set to leave after ZERO appearances despite £2m transfer from Preston in January

    BEN DAVIES could be in line for an Anfield exit with Celtic reportedly keen on the Liverpool centre-back. And the former Preston North End player could end up leaving Merseyside without having played a single game for the Premier League giants. 
    Liverpool’s Ben Davies has attracted interest from Scottish giants CelticCredit: Reuters
    The Daily Mail claims the Scottish Prem runners-up came close to sealing a £2million agreement with the Cumbria-born ace in January.
    This was before their move was thwarted by a surprise bid from Jurgen Klopp’s side. 
    Preston accepted a £500,000 fee plus add-ons, rising to around £1.6m, for their star.
    However, Davies appears to have fallen down the pecking order at Anfield with other players including Joel Matip, Fabinho and Nathaniel Williams starting. 
    And it is thought the player, 25, will be further away from a starting spot with Virgil van Dijk battling his way back from injury. 
    Davies, who signed for the Prem Champs on a long-term deal, played his most recent game back for his old side in January. 
    And that was a 1-0 loss to second-tier rivals Sheffield Wednesday 

    The Mail claims Liverpool would be keen on making a decent profit should they sell the former Deepdale player. 
    And it is reported Championship club Bournemouth and several English sides are interested in the centre-back. 
    It is thought Scott Parker’s side are seeking to bring the player to Dean Court on a one-term loan.
    And Danish champs Midtjylland are reportedly eyeing the player as a possible addition to their defensive ranks. 
    Davies is yet to make an appearance for Liverpool following his January 2021 moveCredit: PA

    The club’s new manager Ange Postecologou is thought to be eager to boost his squad ahead of their Champions League qualifier on July 20. 
    Davies began his career as a senior Preston player in 2013, made 145 appearances for the side across all competitions before leaving the club in January. 
    Should the former Championship ace remain at Liverpool reports claim he could still be seen as a back-up to Van Dijk should there be a delay to the Netherlands star’s recovery. 
    Khabib Nurmagomedov backs England to beat Italy in Euro 2020 final More

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    EFL set for a fierce transfer embargo crackdown on clubs to leave Wayne Rooney’s Derby and Sheff Wed on red alert

    THE EFL are set for a fierce transfer embargo crackdown on clubs.And Wayne Rooney’s Derby and Sheffield Wednesday, the two sides which battled out a relegation decider on the last day of the season, are on red alert.
    Wayne Rooney is facing significant signing restrictions this summerCredit: PA

    Rams face NEW EFL punishments, despite winning the fight to stay in the Championship.
    Relegated Owls are also ‘under watch’ over late payments to players.
    As many as TEN other clubs could also be brought into line for Financial Fair Play issues as a hawkish group of chairmen push the EFL to throw their weight about.
    The Rams will be under severe signing restrictions in the summer transfer window.
    And that will hurt Rooney’s hopes of putting together a new squad.
    The Owls finally paid overdue wages but this will also affect their ability to sign new faces.
    Meanwhile, QPR have joined the hunt for Wednesday midfielder Josh Windass.
    And they are willing to double his wages.

    Sheffield Wednesday’s Josh Windass is being chased by several clubs, including QPRCredit: Getty

    Rangers are rivalling Millwall and Birmingham in the transfer race.Wednesday are holding out for a staggering £5million fee.
    Windass, 27, and several other players had the option of cancelling their contracts in a row over unpaid salaries.
    However, that situation was finally sorted out last week.
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
    Gareth Southgate piles praise onto players following Ukraine win More

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    Sheff Weds stars ‘handed in notice’ over unpaid wages before club chiefs finally cough up

    SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY have reportedly finally coughed up a ‘significant portion’ of backdated player wages – after two stars handed in their 14-day notice.The Owls were relegated from the Championship to League One after failing to make up a six-point deduction for breaching EFL spending rules.
    Two Sheff Wed players reportedly handed in their 14-day notice over unpaid wagesCredit: Reuters
    Chairman Dejphon Chansiri’s relationship with both fans and the squad looked to have broken down as he was blamed for the troubles and failed to pay players their full salary for May.
    That was not the first time that wages were unpaid for both the playing and backroom staff.
    It emerged a month ago that the players were set to hand in their 14-day notice to quit the club.
    Now The Athletic claims that two contracted members of the Sheff Wed squad did give their notice.
    Although they also state the Hillsborough side have paid a significant portion of the backdated wages due to players.
    The publication states ‘that players under contract have been paid in full but that some out of contract players are still waiting on part of their wages’.
    And that wage issues were first reported back in March.
    Leading up to the most recent payday, which a source told the media outlet was ‘massive’ for the Owls, players were forced into action and at least two gave their notice.

    Club captain Barry Bannan recently told BBC: “It’s a bit up in the air at the minute.
    “There’s a lot of people leaving behind the scenes, so it’s not a great place to be at the minute.”
    There are still other players who have now become free agents who are receiving guidance on how to collect their unpaid cash.
    However, a significant amount of money owed was allegedly paid to them on the last pay day.
    Fifa rules state players who have not received their wages on time for two months can hand in their notice – that gives clubs a 14-day period to raise the owed funds.
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
    Derby celebrate surviving Championship relegation after final day thriller vs Sheffield Wednesday More

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    Fulham outcast Aboubakar Kamara wanted in Greek Super League transfer as Aris make £3.5m bid

    FULHAM have received a bid for striker Aboubakar Kamara.The offer is from Greek Super League side Aris and worth £3.5million with a possible £1m in add-ons.
    Aboubakar Kamara could be on his way out of Fulham to Greek side Aris this summerCredit: Getty
    Kamara, 26, has been at Craven Cottage since 2017 but was shipped out on loan to French outfit Dijon in January.
    It remains to be seen as to whether he is part of Fulham’s plans following relegation. 
    Kamara is a controversial character and has hit the headlines for his disruptive behaviour in the past.
    In 2019 he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a security guard at Fulham’s Motspur Park training ground.
    He also had to be dragged away from fellow striker Aleksandar Mitrovic after he refused to let the Serb take a penalty.
    And the pair also clashed after Kamara was talking during a team yoga session.
    Meanwhile, the Cottagers are expected to part ways with boss Scott Parker in the coming days via mutual consent.
    Parker, 40, is then set to take over at Bournemouth.

    Though SunSport understands that Fulham are refusing to pay Parker a penny in severance pay as he nears an exit away.
    Swansea gaffer Steve Cooper would then be eyed up by the West Londoners to replace the former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder.
    And Fulham would pay the compensation figure for Cooper and his team, which is only £3.5m for a Championship club — £1m less than if a Premier League side took him.
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    Wayne Rooney will consider QUITTING Derby if they are relegated to League One before season starts

    WAYNE ROONEY will consider quitting as Derby manager if the club are relegated to League One.Derby have been fined £100,000 after an independent panel found they wrongly valued players.
    ⚽ Follow ALL of the latest news and updates from Euro 2020 with our live blog
    Wayne Rooney could walk away from Pride Park if Derby are sent down into League OneCredit: Rex
    But the EFL refused to rule out a points deduction which would relegate them.
    Yesterday, the EFL published next season’s fixture lists which have the Rams and Wycombe interchangeable between the Championship and League One.
    The disciplinary process has still not been completed.
    Rooney has told friends he may walk if the Rams are dropped down.
    The ex-England captain has two years left on his £90,000-a-week contract,
    And that could prove hard for the club to meet given the financial implications of entering the third tier.
    SunSport also understands Rooney, 35, has concerns that the project of leading cash-strapped Rams in League One would not be the best fit for his fledgling dugout career.


    The former Manchester United star replaced the sacked Phillip Cocu last November.
    He kept Derby up by a point on the final day — amid issues with the payment of wages and a collapsed takeover.
    The Rams, who also face a transfer embargo, said: “The club disputes that a points deduction is appropriate and disputes that it is lawful for the EFL to seek to impose one retrospectively.”
    Derby thought they secured their status in the Championship on the final day of the seasonCredit: Getty
    Derby fined £100k as EFL develops fixture lists featuring Rams in both Championship and League One More