Pulis defends Walters for Irish absence

STOKE CITY boss Tony Pulis has spoken out following claims that Jon Walters was missing from the Ireland squad this week without permission.

Walters was not fit to face Northern Ireland in Tuesday’s Carling Nations Cup tie against Northern Ireland but was not absent without leave, said Pulis.

“Jon picked up a shoulder injury against Wigan last Sunday,” Pulis explained, “So he rang the Irish doctor to tell him. He said he was willing to go over to Ireland to have it tested there, but the doctor got back to him to say not to bother coming over. So I know for a fact Jon is covered and he had got permission. He is clearly keen to play for them and wouldn’t do anything to put that in danger.”

Pulis said he was still investigating Marc Wilson’s absence from the squad after Trapattoni accused the defender of being AWOL.

Bale pleads with Redknapp to stay

GARETH BALE wants Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp to stay at White Hart Lane amid reported interest from Chelsea.

The Blues are looking for a new manager after sacking Carlo Ancelotti following their trophy-less season.

Redknapp has distanced himself from reports and Bale, the PFA Player of the Year, credits Redknapp with bringing stability to White Hart Lane following the exit of Martin Jol and the failed reign of Juande Ramos, and is pleading with him to stay.

“I want him to stay, definitely,” Bale said.

“Since I’ve been at the club we have had three managers and it’s nice to have him there because he has brought a bit of stability.

“We have got used to him and how he manages and how he wants us to play so it will be great to keep him.

Desailly: Right to sack Carlo

MARCEL DESAILLY has little sympathy for Carlo Ancelotti’s demise at Chelsea and urged the club to appoint a successor as soon as possible. Ancelotti departed Stamford Bridge last Sunday after presiding over a trophyless season.

Chelsea great Desailly, who made 156 appearances for the club between 1998 and 2004, understands the thinking behind the Italian’s removal. “That is the life of a manager,” said the former France centre-back. He did well in the first year and won two trophies, but the owner did not support the fact that this year he won nothing.”

Rock set for playoff

ROCKMOUNT will meet Douglas Hall in a play-off to decide the destination of the Beamish Munster Senior League Premier Division after being held 0-0 by 10-man Avondale at Rockmount Park last night.

Avondale were up against it when defender Paul Triggs was harshly sent off for two bookable offences after only nine minutes but Rockmount couldn’t take advantage as John Cotter’s side matched them in all departments.

ROCKMOUNT: O’Connell (Krawiec 71), Hoey, Montgomery (O’Riordan 60), Cunningham, Reardon, Buckley, Gaffney, O’Callaghan, O’Leary, Butt (King 79), O’Connor.

AVONDALE UNITED: O’Keeffe, Hartigan, Cahill, Triggs, Mulconroy (O’Brien 79), Caulfield, Kiernan (Doody 86) Cotter, Lougheed, Spratt, O’Sullivan.

Referee: F Murphy (Cork).

— David Ludzik

- PREMIER LEAGUE new boys Norwich City have made their first signing of the summer, brining in striker James Vaughan from Everton on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

- WALES finished their Carling Cup with a 2-0 win over the North at the Aviva last night. Aaron Ramsey put them ahead on 36 minutes and Rob Earnshaw got the second on 69 minutes.

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