Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kevin Doyle signs for Wolves

Wolves have signed striker Kevin Doyle from Reading for a club record fee believed to be about £6.5m.

The 25-year-old Ireland international had been linked with other top-flight clubs but has signed a four-year deal with the Molineux side.

"Wolves were the first club that came in and settled things with Reading and so they were the first club I spoke to," he told the Wolves website.

"I was expecting a long summer but Wolves were in straightaway."

Doyle scored 18 goals in the Championship last season but failed to steer Reading to promotion as they finished fourth but were beaten by Burnley in the play-off semi-finals.

He becomes manager Mick McCarthy's third summer signing following the arrivals of midfielder Nenad Milijas and keeper Marcus Hahnemann

"I'm delighted to get the move sorted and can't wait to get going," added Doyle.

"I spoke to the manager and chief executive Jez Moxey over a week ago and came to the training ground to see everything.

"I've been making my mind up over the last couple of weeks and am just really pleased the decision has been made.

"The facilities here are top class and it's great to be going back into the Premier League again."

Doyle had a stint in the Premier League with Reading and scored 13 goals in 32 outings in the 2006/07 campaign.

But he notched just eight in 36 the following season as the Royals were relegated.

He added: "I'm sad to be leaving Reading because I had some great years there but I'm going with their blessing as well which is nice. This is a fresh start."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wolves confident of Kevin Doyle signing

Wolves owner Steve Morgan believes the club are still in the running to sign Reading striker Kevin Doyle.

Bolton Wanderers have matched the £6.5 million asking price with Fulham and Sunderland also thought to be interested in the Ireland international.

Newly-promoted Wolves have held talks with Doyle and Morgan maintains manager Mick McCarthy can bring the player to Molineux.

'Kevin Doyle is a quality player and all the players we’re talking to are quality players,' said Morgan.

“If someone like him becomes available, then we have to be interested. We’re having very constructive talks with several players at the moment.”

“'I’d like to think we’ll make further announcements in the next week or two. I wouldn’t say we’re pushing the boat out – the club has a budget that we will work to.”

'But we’re determined to bring quality to the club

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dunne a Sunderland target

Sunderland face an anxious wait to see if they can attract defender Richard Dunne away from Manchester City.

New Black Cats boss Steve Bruce has been heavily linked with a £5million move for the 29-year-old Ireland international since his unveiling as Ricky Sbragia's replacement.

Dunne has emerged as a target amid speculation big-spending City are eyeing Everton's Joleon Lescott and Arsenal's Kolo Toure this summer, but the Black Cats still do not know whether City manager Mark Hughes will be prepared to let the Dubliner leave Eastlands even if he does land his defensive targets.

And even if he is allowed to go, Sunderland are certain to face competition for a player who starred in his country's 1-1 draw in Bulgaria at the start of this month as they edged closer to next summer's World Cup finals.

In the circumstances, they are adopting a measured approach to their summer recruitment programme, which has already seen them touted as potential purchasers for a series of players in a variety of positions.

The acquisition of an experienced central defender to partner £8million signing Anton Ferdinand is a priority, with the former West Ham man having been made to pay for a series of lapses in concentration during his first season on Wearside.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stephen Kelly joins Fulham

Ireland defender Stephen Kelly has become Fulham manager Roy Hodgson's first summer capture after leaving Birmingham City to sign a three-year deal at Craven Cottage.

"I'm delighted to have joined a progressive club which has recently achieved its highest ever top-flight finish," the defender said.

The 25-year-old made six appearances while on loan at Stoke last season.

He also played every minute of Blues' unsuccessful fight against Premier League relegation in 2007-8.

Kelly missed much of the early part of last season with a thigh injury and was allowed to leave for a temporary stint with Tony Pulis's Stoke side in February, after the arrival of fellow Ireland international Stephen Carr and Portsmouth's Djimi Traore at St Andrew's.

But he made only two starts for the Britannia Stadium side as he found his way into the side blocked by the solid form of right-back Andy Wilkinson.

He will compete with John Pantsil for the same role at Craven Cottage and will face a similarly tough task to win a regular first-team slot after the Ghana international missed just one game of the west London side's Premier League campaign.

"Stephen is a talented young full-back with experience of playing in the Premier League as well as competing at international level," said Hodgson.

"He will be a useful addition as we look to improve our squad ahead of the start of next season and I am hopeful that we will be able to announce further additions in the coming weeks."

Kelly is a graduate of Tottenham's youth academy and played 44 times for Spurs before heading to Birmingham in a £750,000 switch in June 2006.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

St Ledger hails Dunne influence

Preston and Ireland defender Sean St Ledger has paid tribute to Richard Dunne following his Ireland debut against Bulgaria on Saturday.

Highly-rated St Ledger marked his international bow with an assured display alongside Manchester City centre-back Dunne in the 1-1 draw in Sofia.

Giovanni Trapattoni's side remain well placed to qualify for next summer's World Cup finals, as St Ledger and Dunne restricted Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov and City forward Valeri Bojinov to just a handful of chances.

St Ledger told the Preston North End's official website: "I think we complement each other quite well. You look at his performance on Saturday and he was magnificent, in their box and in ours.

"He made it easy for me, his talking was good. It is easy to play in that back four, the experience that they have all got, they've all played in the Premiership and Richard Dunne is a great, great player."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dunne delighted with Irish point against Bulgaria

Richard Dunne believes Ireland are on course to qualify for the World Cup finals after a deserved draw in Sofia against Bulgaria last night.

Dunne was on target against Bulgaria for the second time in the campaign to keep them unbeaten in competitive matches under Giovanni Trapattoni.

"The main aim was not to lose so we are pleased with the point," said Dunne.

"It was a good way to end the season and we can go into the new one full of hope about making it to the finals."

Defender Dunne's header had Ireland ahead for five minutes in the first half before Bulgarian midfielder Dimitar Telkiyski equalised.

"Unfortunately, when we scored we sat back a bit and they got the goal quickly enough," said Dunne.

"They really needed to win so they were always going to come at us and everyone just dug in a defended really well.

"I was delighted to get the goal. John O'Shea blocked Berbatov and it was a free header."

Trapattoni was encouraged by the contributions from his emerging players.

"Tonight we saw Folan, Best and St Ledger and slowly I think we are building a great team," said the Ireland manager.

Trapattoni happy with Ireland result

Giovanni Trapattoni was keeping his feet firmly on the ground despite seeing his Ireland side take a significant step towards World Cup qualification in Bulgaria.

A 1-1 draw at the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia kept the Irish five points clear of their hosts in Group Eight with world champions Italy only a point better off.

Trapattoni said: "We have a little advantage, but only a little advantage. I do not talk about percentages. I know that wood is wood and the ground is the ground."

He added: "I always thought that this was going to be a more difficult game for us than Italy away because Bulgaria are a very dangerous team.

"They showed that when we conceded the goal so soon after scoring and I was a bit afraid we would lose the game. But I am happy now with the good result. We have a long way to go yet before we can talk about South Africa.

"I have always said that it will be a long qualifying campaign, but I am happy with this result."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Trapattoni wants Ireland to lead group over the Summer

Ireland Manager Giovanni Trapattoni wants to send his squad on holiday with a spring in their step by topping their World Cup qualifying group over the summer months.

The Irish can leapfrog world champions Italy with victory over Bulgaria in Sofia on Saturday and, despite the trip coming at the end of a long domestic season, Trapattoni feels his side are capable of maintaining their unbeaten run in Group Eight.

Ireland secured a confident 1-1 friendly draw with Nigeria at Craven Cottage last Friday night and Trapattoni wants one final push from his players.

"Why not, After the game with Nigeria we showed we can play well and with confidence," he said. "The players have played well in qualifying and they will get stronger. I have confidence in them."

Tottenham striker Robbie Keane sat out training on Tuesday with a foot problem, but Trapattoni is certain he will be fit for the weekend qualifier.

"It was just as a precaution, he has some inflammation under his foot, it's nothing serious and he will be fine for Saturday," he added.