Striker Arouna Kone is still at least a month away from fully recovering from a knee injury which kept him out for most of last season while Kevin Mirallas, like his Belgium team-mate Lukaku, is still getting up to speed having returned to training later than many of his team-mates due to his World Cup commitments. Steven Naismith is another alternative up front or off the right but Ghana international Atsu will give Everton something extra in the same way Barcelona forward Gerard Deulofeu did in his loan spell last season. “We are hoping that the deal can be formalised and finalised by Thursday,” Martinez told evertontv. “That would be a really good positive move to boost the squad. How ready he will be to have him in the team, it’s too early to tell b ut we want Christian to be part of the squad as soon as we can. “We are really excited and are desperate to welcome him to Finch Farm (training ground) to allow him to feel the Everton way quickly. “Christian is an experienced young man and to be that experienced at a young age is incredible. “He had a really good spell in Portugal then a big move and has played a lot of games in Holland. Playing in a World Cup with Ghana will give him a lot too. “He can play on both wings, play through the middle and has appreciation of space. “Technically he is very gifted and will fit in extremely well. He has the hunger and desire to want to show what he can do in the Premier League and we feel we are ready to give him that opportunity.” Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes the loan signing of Chelsea forward Christian Atsu will add another dimension to his attacking options. The Spaniard is hopeful the deal to bring the 22-year-old to Goodison Park will be concluded by Thursday. Atsu’s arrival would supplement the resources Martinez already has at his disposal, led by marquee summer signing Romelu Lukaku – also from Chelsea. Press Association
The Wildcats have won seven in a row and can secure at least a share of the regular season SEC title with a victory. The Tigers won the first match-up 75-66 on Feb. 1, their second straight victory over Kentucky and fourth in the last seven meetings. Since that loss the Wildcats have won five times by a total of 31 points. Kentucky’s streak is its longest this season and has been led by guard Immanuel Quickley, who has averaged 21.5 points during the run.Michigan State at Maryland highlights a strong slate of weekend matchups in the Big Ten as the conference race enters the closing stretch. The ninth-ranked Terrapins are 15-0 at home. They beat the Spartans 67-60 on the road two weeks ago. Maryland has a two-game lead on 24th-ranked Michigan State with three games left in the regular season. Illinois, Penn State and Wisconsin are in a four-way tie for second place with the Spartans. The Terrapins haven’t finished first in conference play since tying Duke for first place when they were still in the ACC in 2009-10.Also Saturday, No. 7 Duke will be looking to bounce back from its double-overtime loss at Wake Forest when it visits Virginia. The Blue Devils have won three straight on Virginia’s home floor and swept the eventual national champions in two regular season meetings last season. Virginia is surging with five straight wins and has locked up no worse than fourth place in the ACC this year.There are two intriguing games in the Big 12 that feature teams that are likely locks for the NCAA Tournament against teams that have some work to do. The first is in Lubbock, where Texas is taking on No. 22 Texas Tech in a game that could help to solidify the Longhorns’ at-large resume. The second happens in Morgantown, where Oklahoma plays No. 20 West Virginia. Elsewhere, top-ranked Kansas visits Kansas State in the first meeting between the schools since their game in Lawrence ended in a brawl that spilled into the stands.OLYMPICS-US MARATHON TRIALS Associated Press Virus worries affect more sportsUNDATED (AP) — Concerns about the new coronavirus continue to have an impact on sporting events around the world.In Japan, baseball games were played in empty stadiums Saturdayday and horse races were held without spectators. Sunday’s Tokyo Marathon, one of the world’s largest races, has been restricted to elite runners.In France, Sunday’s Paris half-marathon has been called off due to the outbreak. Organizers said the race involving some 44,000 competitors would be rescheduled for a date to be determined.Five Serie A soccer games in Italy were postponed on Saturday. The matches were originally due to be played without fans this weekend but the decision to call them off was taken by the league as part of “urgent measures for the containment and management” of the COVID-19 disease. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditT25 MEN’S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULESome key matchups on the Saturday scheduleUNDATED (AP) — No. 8 Kentucky is set to host No. 15 Auburn Saturday afternoon to highlight the Southeastern Conference’s weekend slate of games. Virus threat to Olympics casts shadow over marathon trialsATLANTA (AP) — The nation’s top distance runners are competing in Atlanta Saturday for spots on the U.S. Olympic marathon teams. The top three men’s and women’s finishers in the afternoon trials will earn spots on the team that will compete in the Summer Olympics in Japan.Runners are trying to put aside concerns about the coronavirus and the possibility that it could force the cancellation of the Tokyo Games, which open July 24.The Olympic marathon is scheduled to be staged in Sapporo, a couple hours from Tokyo. The event was moved to protect the runners from the heat in Tokyo.VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTS Update on the latest sports ROMO-CBSRomo remains with CBS after agreeing to long-term contractUNDATED (AP) — Tony Romo will remain with CBS as its top NFL analyst after agreeing to a record extension.CBS Sports spokeswoman Jen Sabatelle said that the network and Romo have agreed to a long-term contract. The New York Post reported that the former Dallas quarterback’s new deal is worth $17 million a year.CBS’ deal with the NFL expires after the 2022 season, but Romo’s contract goes beyond that. CBS is expected to retain their rights when the next round of negotiations start, which could happen this year once a new collective bargaining agreement with players is finalized. WORLD CUP-WOMEN’S SUPER-GOrtlieb wins 1st World Cup, Brignone extends overall leadLA THUILE, Italy (AP) — Austria’s Nina Ortlieb edged Federica Brignone (feh-deh-REE’-kah breen-YOH’-nay) of Italy by one hundredth of a second Saturday to win a women’s World Cup super-G in Italy. It was her first career victory.The win for the daughter of 1992 Olympic downhill champion Patrick Ortlieb came one week after she earned her first podium result in a downhill.Brignone extended her lead in the overall standings to 153 points from the absent Mikaela Shiffrin. The American three-time overall champion is taking a break from the sport since the death of her father. Corinne Suter was third and remained in the lead of the super-G season standings. February 29, 2020 Romo was hired by CBS in 2017 when he retired after 14 seasons and signed a 3-year deal that averaged $3 million per season. He quickly made an impact being paired with Jim Nantz and was widely hailed as the best analyst to debut since John Madden. Romo’s new contract eclipses the $8 million per year that Madden received with Fox. Adjusting for inflation, the current value of Madden’s contract is $14 million.
KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – Football Federation president Captain Horace Burrell has pointed to a change of policy in selection for the national team, with more emphasis to be placed on home-based players in the future.The veteran administrator said with a new attitude emerging from many of the young players who played domestically, overseas-based professionals were no longer guaranteed of automatic places in the Reggae Boyz squad.“What we are seeing from the young players is a major difference right now in terms of attitude, in terms of really getting out there, doing it, and I think this is one area that we must concentrate on and so the days of players coming from overseas and walking into the national team, those days are behind us,” the Gleaner newspaper quoted Burrell as saying.He added: “In fact, when you look at the players on the field of play, you realise that there is something different, and speaking with my colleagues in CONCACAF, they, too, have noticed that there is a difference, and so we intend to continue along this line, and I am sure that everything will fall into place in the right order.”Foreign-based pros have become a feature of Reggae Boyz sides over nearly the last two decades, as Jamaica have become one of the most powerful nations in Caribbean football.Seven members of their historic World Cup squad in 2002 were based in England and successive World Cup campaigns have seen increasing numbers of players who ply their trade outside of Jamaica.In fact, at the last CONCACAF Gold Cup two years ago when the Reggae Boyz were good enough to reach the final, only two of the 23-player squad were based at home.Jamaica’s failure to reach the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 World Cup may have influenced the new approach but Burrell reiterated it was time to change course.“We have to be man enough to say it has not worked and, therefore, after meeting with all the stakeholders, the Jamaica Football Federation decided to embark on a new initiative by including the youngsters and the local-based players who are hungry and who really want to make an impression, and we’re getting the results,” Burrell said.Jamaica are currently preparing for two major tournaments – the Caribbean Cup finals June 22-25 and the CONCACAF Gold Cup July 7-26.