Karanka wary of Tigers threat

Aitor Karanka has warned his Middlesbrough players to avoid complacency when they face injury-ravaged Hull City at the Riverside Stadium on Monday.

After making a poor start to the campaign Boro have improved of late, beating Bournemouth and losing narrowly to leaders Chelsea, as well as securing impressive draws at Arsenal, Manchester City and Leicester City.

In contrast the Tigers have plunged down the table after making a good start to the season and Mike Phelan is having to contend with several long-term injuries to key players – including Will Keane, Alex Bruce and Moses Odubajo.

In addition, Sam Clucas is suspended for the trip to Teesside, but Karanka thinks Hull could be on a high after knocking Newcastle United out of the EFL Cup last week.

The Boro boss is taking nothing for granted, saying: "They have had injuries but they are in a good moment having reached the semi-final and they are only one point below us.

"We know them from last season but it is going to be a completely different game. We have to avoid complacency thinking we are playing really well or we are playing at home against Hull who have a lot of injuries.

"We have to forget everything and only think that we have a tough game and an important game, and just focus on us."

George Friend remains sidelined for Boro with a knee injury so former Manchester United star Fabio is expected to continue at full-back.

Middlesbrough, 1/2000 to be relegated this season, can be backed at 5/1 to beat Hull 1-0 on Monday with Alvaro Negredo 6/5 to score at any time in the match.

Sky Blues go six clear

Sydney FC extended their lead at the top of the A-League table to six points as they beat Newcastle Jets 2-0 at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Graham Arnold's side couldn't break through in the first half against an injury-hit Jets team, but scored two excellent goals after the break through Milos Ninkovic and substitute Bernie Ibini.

The Sky Blues, showing four changes from the side that lost the FFA Cup final in midweek to Melbourne City, with marquees Bobo and Filip Holosko among those left out.

Milos Dimitrijevic, who had played just 12 minutes over the first eight league games, was impressive on his return to the starting side.

Dimitrijevic set up a chance for skipper Alex Brosque early on and it was his through-ball that led to the opening goal on 65 minutes.

Ninkovic picked up the ball 30 metres out and surged into the Newcastle penalty area, beating four defenders before curling a shot into the back of the net.

Newcastle looked dangerous at times on the break, but when Ibini notched the visitors' second 10 minutes from time it was game over.

The striker weaved his way through the defence as he surged into the area, and though his initial shot from a tight angle was well saved by Jack Duncan he bundled in the rebound.

Arnold indicated after the game that Bobo and Holosko may not return for next weekend's clash with second-placed Melbourne City.

The pair have recently struggled to emulate their scintillating early-season form. Arnold says Holosko has been suffering knee tightness in recent weeks.

"What I want is performance and for me the scales of whether you play or not is (based) on performance," said Arnold. "Whoever performs and plays well, plays.

"So Filip and Bobo are just like normal players – perform and they play."

Sydney FC are 1/1 to beat City, who are 14/5, with the draw 12/5.

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Places under threat at Jets

Newcastle Jets' under-performing players have been put on notice that their places are in jeopardy.

Coach Mark Jones issued a warning after seeing his side go down 2-0 to leaders Sydney FC. The Sky Blues were guilty of wastefulness in the final third, but were still able to secure a comfortable victory.

It was a seventh game in a row without a win for the Jets and left Jones frustrated with the team's tendency to turn the ball over at key moments.

"That's extremely frustrating because that's all we work on at training," said Jones.

"(I told the players) it's not good enough; we need that quality and if we don't have that quality then we need to find players that do have that quality."

The Jets coach said he'd instructed his players to press up high and have a go at the Sky Blues.

"I expect them to be able to execute and play through and keep the ball in tight areas through the middle of the park," he added.

Not helping Jones is the fact that his team has been beset by injuries in the opening eight rounds, with skipper Nigel Boogaard (knee) one of those to be forced onto the sidelines.

There is better news on the horizon, though, as Newcastle could have up to four players back for next weekend's trip to Perth Glory.

Winger Andrew Nabbout and young defender Lachlan Jackson are both hoping to overcome ankle injuries ahead of the nib Stadium clash. Key defender Daniel Mullen (knee) and Danish attacker Morten Nordstrand (hip flexor) could also be back.

Ben Kantarovski limped off against the Sky Blues, on his club-record 135th appearance, but Jones said the makeshift defender is not in doubt for the game against the Glory.

Newcastle are 9/2 to beat Perth, who are 8/13, with the draw 3/1.

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Phoenix coach Merrick resigns

Ernie Merrick has resigned as Wellington Phoenix head coach after his team fell to the bottom of the A-League.

The New Zealand side suffered a 2-0 defeat to previously-winless Adelaide United on Sunday, and Merrick took responsibility for their poor start to the season.

Wellington find themselves five points off the top six, having lost six of their first eight games.

Merrick had said before the season began he felt the squad was the strongest he had had during his time at the club and could challenge for the championship.

It hasn't panned out that way, with the team managing just six goals in their first eight games – five of them from striker Roy Krishna – and Merrick addressed the team after the Adelaide game to say he would be resigning.

He said: "I feel that I have not performed well enough as head coach, as we have a very strong squad that should be higher up the table.

"It's therefore the right time for me to step aside and allow someone else to take over. We have a run of home games coming up and I think this will give my successor the best opportunity to take the team forward."

Merrick lost half of the 90 games he presided over as Phoenix manager, with 30 wins and 15 draws.

Club legend Ben Sigmund, who retired earlier this year, said he was disappointed to see Merrick leave.

"It's a sad day to be honest because even though the results haven't shown and we haven't won anything, he's changed this whole club in terms of the professionalism, the way we should play football and the structure of the club," added Sigmund.

Long-time assistant coach Chris Greenacre is likely to take over on an interim basis.

Wellington are 8/15 to win their next game against Central Coast, who are 5/1, with the draw 10/3.

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Klopp hopes lessons are learned

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hopes that his players will learn from their dramatic 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth on Sunday.

The Reds led 3-1 at the Vitality Stadium thanks to goals by Sadio Mane, Divock Origi and Emre Can only for Bournemouth to produce a stunning comeback, with Ryan Fraser, Steve Cook and Nathan Ake all scoring as Eddie Howe's side clinched an outstanding victory.

Liverpool had been on a 15-game unbeaten run heading into the match on the south coast, while their only previous defeat in the Premier League had been against Burnley in August, but Klopp had no excuses after the game.

The former Borussia Dortmund manager said: "First of all I have to say a deserved win for Bournemouth.

"But we gave the game away at a decisive point. We opened the door and they ran through and scored some wonderful goals. So that's the deserved result.

"It doesn't feel too good right now but sometimes we need it. Of course this can help us. No road is without rocks and stones.

"It's three points, no more. These things happen. You cannot be champions in December, relegated, promoted or whatever. The base is pretty good but we need to use our quality more."

Liverpool are now 4500/1 to win the Premier League title outright while they are 9/1 to beat West Ham United at Anfield in their next match on Sunday 2-1.

Henrique brace lifts United

A double from Henrique gave Adelaide United their first victory of the A-League season as they beat Wellington Phoenix 2-0.

The Coopers Stadium victory saw the Reds leapfrog the visitors, moving off the bottom of the table as they finally ended an eight-match winless sequence.

It proved to be Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick's last game in charge, as he told his players after the game he was stepping down.

Former Brisbane Roar favourite Henrique scored twice in a 15-minute spell in the first half. James Holland gave him the chance to break the deadlock on 26 minutes, when he played the Brazilian-born livewire into space, with Henrique fizzing a left-footed shot into the net.

He got his second when he was set up by Isaias from a United corner, his 20m effort giving the hosts some breathing space.

United, again missing coach Guillermo Amor from the sidelines as he sat out his second game through suspension, had keeper Eugene Galekovic to thank for preserving the clean sheet before Henrique's brace.

The skipper made a diving stop to keep out Roy Krishna's 20th-minute penalty, which took the wind out of the Phoenix's sails.

Wellington had opportunities, mostly prompted by playmaker Kosta Barbarouses, and had the ball in the net in the second half only for substitute Hamish Watson's effort to be adjudged offside.

The Reds will hope the victory kick-starts their season just as it did last term when they were in a very similar postition. Bottom of the table after eight games without a win to start the season, Amor's side rarely looked back once they were off the mark and went on to win the double of Premier's Plate and championship.

Adelaide are 13/5 to win their next game against Brisbane Roar, who are 21/20, with the draw 5/2.

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Bruce happy for Kozak to leave

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce has admitted that Czech striker Libor Kozak could be heading out of the club in January.

The 27-year-old has only featured in two Championship matches for Villa this season and none since former Hull City boss Bruce replaced Roberto di Matteo in the Villa Park hot-seat.

His last first-team appearance came in August's defeat at Bristol City and, since he joined the club from Lazio in the summer of 2013 for £7million, he has only featured in 20 league matches, finding the net on just four occasions.

"Certainly Kozak needs to go and play somewhere. He's been fit for the last four or five weeks. He scored twice in the under-23s at Stoke on Saturday," Bruce said.

"To be fair to the boy, he's just got himself back training and fit. It's been a disaster and maybe a change of scenery for him is probably inevitable.

"He needs to go and play football so if we could get a home for him to go and play football, that would probably be good."

Villa, 4500/1 to be promoted from the Championship this season, are 7/4 to beat Leeds United at Elland Road on Saturday evening.

Rowett keen to keep Jutkiewicz

Gary Rowett hopes he can persuade Burnley striker Lukas Jutkiewicz to make his transfer to Birmingham City permanent next month.

The 27-year-old could move to St Andrew's for £1million in January but Rowett is unsure whether the forward wants to leave the Premier League at this stage in his career.

Jutkiewicz has scored five goals in the last couple of months and is believed to be interesting several other clubs.

Rowett remains upbeat though, saying: "I have sat down with him, we are talking at the moment and hopefully before January we could potentially reach a solution. When we do then everyone will know about it.

"I am hopeful that we can maybe get something sorted with him but I am never too presumptuous about these situations.

"He is certainly a player I believe that with a bit more stability there is more to come. If he can stay fit and keep working hard – which he does – I believe there is more to come."

Birmingham, 4500/1 to be promoted from the Championship, can be backed at 11/10 to beat Barnsley on Saturday with Jutkiewicz available at 6/4 to score at any time in the encounter.

Schweinsteiger set to stay

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has hinted that he will not be selling Bastian Schweinsteiger in January.

The 32-year-old German is under contract at Old Trafford until 2018, but was thought to be deemed surplus to requirements at United by Mourinho.

However, Schweinsteiger made his first United appearance since March as a late substitute in Wednesday's 4-1 EFL Cup win over West Ham and Mourinho has suggested there is every chance the midfielder could stay until the end of the campaign.

"Of course he can [stay]," Mourinho said ahead of Sunday's Premier League trip to Everton.

"In the summer we tried to make something happen for Bastian to get a different future. If you have a contract with the club you are the powerful one that can decide your future.

"He decided to stay even in difficult circumstances. He worked for that and deserved that little happiness of the last month.

"He is another in the squad who is working to try to have more chances."

Schweinsteiger has featured in 18 Premier League matches since joining the club in a £14.4million deal from Bayern Munich almost 17 months ago.

United, 4500/1 to win the Premier League title this season, can be backed at 8/1 to beat Everton 2-1 on Sunday at Goodison Park.

Arnold confirms Brosque for Jets clash

Skipper Alex Brosque will definitely start Sydney FC's clash with Newcastle Jets on Sunday.

Coach Graham Arnold has confirmed the marquee will back up after playing in Wednesday's FFA Cup final defeat to Melbourne City.

Left-back Michael Zullo has also been given the green light to face the Jets.

The defender pulled up sore after the cup decider – he was hurt in tackles from Tim Cahill and Luke Brattan – and didn't take part in Friday's light training session.

But the 28-year-old, who was initially thought to be in doubt for the Newcastle game, will be available for the trip to McDonald Jones Stadium.

Brosque has been managed in the early part of the season but this time Arnold isn't concerned about him playing two games in the space of five days.

The coach feels former Socceroo David Carney should get a starting spot against the Jets.

"Our set pieces haven't been fantastic and we miss his delivery so we need a way to get him on the pitch," he said.

Sydney failed to lift a first trophy in six years when they went down to City in Wednesday's decider, and have drawn their last two league games.

Arnold has seen his team – who won their first six games of the season – brought back to the chasing pack and they went into the round just four points ahead of second-placed City.

Speaking of his team's performance in the final, he said: "It was good except the last ball, the execution. We need to be better at the final decision, which we have been in the first six weeks of the league.

"We'll use (the loss) to make sure we're better – no one wants to feel the way they felt after the game."

The Sky Blues are 7/10 to win their next game against Newcastle Jets, who are 15/4 with the draw 3/1.

Sydney FC are 7/1 to win the game 2-1.

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