Five days to the weekend

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The best sporting action coming up this week


MARK McGHEE is due to be officially unveiled as the new Scotland No 2 to Gordon Strachan, while the Monday-night action from the Barclays Premier League comes from Southampton – where the hosts will be playing under new manager Mauricio Pochettino for the first time following the controversial sacking of Nigel Adkins. Everton, who are chasing a Champions League spot, are the visitors. There’s also football from the African Nations Cup, featuring the Group C games between Zambia and Ethiopia and Nigeria v Burkina Faso.


CELTIC, who won at a canter against Hearts at the weekend, will be looking to extend their nine-point lead at the top of the SPL when they host a Dundee United side buoyed by their win at Rugby Park. In England, giant killers Bradford City will be hoping to complete a Capital One Cup semi-final victory over Aston Villa as they travel to face Paul Lambert’s toiling Premier League side in the second leg, holding a 3-1 advantage from the first leg. There are also a handful of fixtures scheduled for npower Leagues One and Two, including Bury v promotion hopefuls Sheffield United.


ARSENAL, who are toiling to stay in the running for their usual Champions League place, have a chance to climb closer to the top four in the Barclays Premier League when they host West Ham at the Emirates. In the African Nations Cup, South Africa face Angola and Morocco take on Cape Verde Islands. Cricket’s fourth one-day international between India and England takes place in Mohali, while in rugby this season’s Six Nations is launched in London.


IN golf, the Commercialbank Qatar Masters – featuring a number of the world’s top players – enters its second day, while Tiger Woods is due to tee off in Calfiornia as the Farmers Insurance Open gets under way. The African Nations Cup continues with Group B clashes featuring Ghana v Mali and Niger v DR Congo. The Australian Open in Melbourne heads into its decisive phase, while the day’s racing comes from Fakenham, Kempton, Southwell and Warwick.


ASTON Villa face their second test of the week when they travel to Millwall in the fourth round of the FA Cup. The African Nations Cup action features Zambia v Nigeria and Burkina Faso v Ethiopia in Group C. In cricket, the third one-day international between South Africa and New Zealand gets under way in Potchefstroom. There’s a press conference in Glasgow ahead of Saturday’s Aviva International Match at the new Emirates Arena – an event previously held at the Kelvin Hall. Racing is at Doncaster, Huntingdon, Lingfield and Wolverhampton.