Stoke City has drawn Wolverhampton Wanderers for the Fourth Round Proper of the FA Cup tournament. The match schedule was set today, with Stoke’s game to take place Sunday, January 30, at 8am EST (13:00 GMT) at Molineux.
If they draw, the replay will take place Tuesday, February 15, at Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Kent. This is later than the customary one week holdoff due to a FIFA international matchday.
The club has also announced a one-year contract extension with backup goalkeeper Carlo Nash. He has one appearance this year in the first round of the Carling Football League Cup, getting 3 saves in a 2-1 win over Shrewsbury.
The Potters’ next Premier League game is this Saturday at Fulham. They are currently tied for 7th (8th on goal differential) with Bolton Wanderers at 30 points, and have a game in hand.
When Brian Laws was fired as Burnley’s manager just before the death of 2010, the Clarets were stuck in 9th in the Football League npower Championship. They’ve held steady under Stuart Gray’s caretakership, but yesterday announced the hiring of Eddie Howe as their new manager.
Howe was hired from AFC Bournemouth, where he earned the team promotion from League Two to League One (League One is directly under the Championship in English football). He leaves Bournemouth in second position in League One–a position where they would earn automatic promotion to the Championship if they ended the season there.
So assuming he can’t earn Burnley promotion to the Premier League by the end of the season (they are 10th, six points out of the promotion playoffs and 10 points out of automatic promotion with 21 games to go), there’s a chance he might have to coach against his former club next season.
Burnley’s next Championship game is this Saturday at Scunthorpe United.
Monterrey has begun the 2011 Clausura, the second half of Mexico’s Premier Division season. They entered the league competition as winners of the 2010 Apertura, but slipped out of the gates, currently 0-0-2 after losses to San Luis and Estudiantes Tecos.
Los Rayados are playing in the same group of six as in the Apertura, competing directly with UANL Tigres (also in Monterrey), Santos Laguna (Torreon), Chivas de Guadalajara, Estudiantes Tecos (also Guadalajara) and Necaxa (Aguascalientes City).
The three groups of six are only for ranking purposes for the end-of-season 4-team tournament. Each team plays all 17 of the other teams once each during a season.
Juan Terrazas, a Mexican cartoonist who specializes in Mexico’s soccer scene using avatars for each of the teams, has an interesting take on it. (WARNING: one of the comics currently on for January 2011 is NSFW.)
(Refined translation – Santos Laguna: “I’m a runner-up with a dark future.” UNAM Pumas: “Don’t despair… If only you could see the champs…” In the distance is his avatar for Monterrey.)
Mexico’s Premier Division also ranks its teams by its average finish over the current and previous five seasons (three years total), with the bottom team being relegated to the Second Division after the Clausura. Monterrey is currently second place in this classification (behind Toluca, winners of the 2008 Apertua and 2010 Clausura/Bicentenario), with Necaxa currently at the bottom and, thus, at risk of relegation.
Los Rayados next play this Saturday night, hosting Atlante.