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By Sam Lyon
2215: We waited a while for it to all kick off, then - but when it got going, it did so in right royal style didn't it? A cracking win for Stoke over Birmingham and hard-fought draw between Tottenham and Sunderland provided the Premier League headlines, but there was plenty to crow about in the Championship and Johnstone's Paint Trophy as well and no mistake. I tell you what, shall we go again - even bigger - tomorrow? Oh yes. Join me then, it'll be a stonker.
Zain_Patel on Twitter:
"Liverpool could end up fifth tomorrow! Or they could end up 14th! I love the Premier League!"
Dave on 606:
"I've said it before and I'll say it again: for the squad they have, Spurs are massively underachieving."
Football League Macca: "The last of the Championship matches is done and dusted, then, with Crystal Palace beating Watford 3-2 - though it's not quite enough to lift the Londoners off the bottom of the table."
2159: A massive win for Stoke, then, who end a run of four straight defeats with a thrilling 3-2 defeat of Birmingham - a victory that pulls them away from the relegation zone and up into 15th. Tottenham and Sunderland, meanwhile, each move up a place - but with the teams around them having a game in hand that could all change tomorrow.
blackat on 606:
"Great, great point for us at Spurs, especially given that we are facing Chelsea next."
Keith, NI via text: "Well done Stoke, a result well deserved!"
mdriver11 on Twitter:
"The Spurs-Sunderland game shows that teams are starting to figure out how to play against Gareth Bale. Maicon not included."
2152: FULL-TIME Tottenham 1-1 Sunderland
2151: Deep into injury time at Spurs... can we get a winner from either side?
2149: Sunderland looking by far the more dangerous in the closing stages at the Lane, playing on the break, and only a William Gallas tackle stops Danny Welbeck strolling clear.
JPT CW: "Want goals? Want two hat-tricks in one match? All hail the Johnstone's Paint Trophy quarter finals. Ridiculous scoreline at Adams Park. Bristol Rovers go through after scoring 66.66% of just the nine goals on offer, with Jo Kuffour grabbing three as they whupped Wycombe 6-3 despite Scott Rendell's triple. Not heard about any scrap for the match ball. Elsewhere, Huddersfield walloped their Yorkshire cousins Rotherham 5-1. Carlisle beat Crewe 3-1, Peter Murphy bagging a classy late double. Charlton won 1-0 at Southend. Lucky old Tranmere, don't forget, were given a second chance in this competition after their first-round victors Accrington Stanley fielded an ineligible player. And now they're into the (Northern Section) semi-finals after winning 1-0 at Bury. And very late drama at Peter Reid's Plymouth, where former Manchester United youngster Daniel Nardiello hit a last-gasp winner to give Exeter a 2-1 win (and bragging rights in the offices of Devon tomorrow no doubt)."
2147: Bolo Zenden steps up for Sunderland... but the Spurs wall does its job and clears.
2146: Sunderland burst forward and after Heurelho Gomes gets out well to bundle away from Danny Welbeck, the Spurs keeper fells Steed Malbranque just outside the area and is booked. Great chance for Sunderland.
Football League Macca: "Full-times in the Champo except at Palace, where the hosts are leading 3-2 against Watford still. QPR clinch a point after that crazy late drama, they go two points clear of Cardiff, who are at Reading tomorrow. Boro are out the relegation zone after beating Scunny and there were wins for Forest and Barnsley."
2142: Back at White Hart Lane, Tottenham are probing but failing to create anything of note and Sunderland are looking more than comfortable. About five minutes of normal time left in that one.
Football League Macca: "Late, late, late, late, late drama at Fratton Park. Liam Lawrence, scorer of Pompey's opener, gives away a penalty for a supposed handball and is dismissed in the dying stages, showing the referee his nipple on the way off - presumably to illustrate where the ball hit. Tommy Smith steps up to score and it's 1-1. Elsewhere, Millwall have grabbed a late draw against Norwich through John Marquis. It's finished Ipswich 0-2 Derby."
2141: FULL-TIME Stoke 3-2 Birmingham
2138: Stoke doing a very nice job of keeping the ball up the Birmingham end here, no sign of a late rally from the visitors just yet.
Football League Macca: "Preston have thrown things away at home to Barnsley as Garry O'Connor takes advantage of an error by the home side to put the visitors 2-1 in front. It's 2-2 between Leeds and Hull and Bradley Johnson has scored at both ends."
2134: We'll have five(!) minutes injury time in Stoke.
2133: As you might expect, Birmingham throwing balls and bodies into the box now - will that suit Stoke, though? The hosts are bound to be nervous on the run they're on - but they're coping well enough and they lead with the match heading into stoppage time.
Stoke goal: What a match at the Britannia. Matthew Etherington's cross is deflected into Dean Whitehead's path six yards out and the Stoke midfielder makes no mistake from close range. Six minutes for Stoke to hang on.
2129: GOALFLASH Stoke 3-2 Birmingham (Whitehead)
2126: Lee Cattermole sparks a melee as he goes in studs up - winning the ball, to be fair - on Luka Modric. Rafael van der Vaart and a collection of Sunderland players engage in a bit of push and shove, and Howard Webb ends up booking the Black Cats midfielder. Could have been red.
Sunderland goal: Spurs' lead lasts less than three minutes. Danny Welbeck sends the ball through and Younes Kaboul and William Gallas get in each other's way, allowing Asamoah Gyan time to take a touch and slide home.
2124: GOALFLASH Tottenham 1-1 Sunderland (Gyan)
Football League Macca: "Things are really happening now and especially at Pompey. QPR are down to 10 men as Matthew Connolly is sent off for a pro foul after bringing down Dave Kitson. Liam Lawrence's penalty is saved but it is retaken and he makes no mistake second time round. Leeds are in front 2-1 at home to Hull, it's Palace 3-2 Watford after three in seven minutes, Derby and Kris Commons have a second at Ipswich, Norwich winning at Millwall, Hull are down to 10 men and Burnley have levelled at home Doncaster."
Tottenham goal: Who else? Gareth Bale crosses to the back post and Peter Crouch nods it past a stranded Craig Gordon, Rafael van der Vaart collecting and turning in his seventh goal in six White Hart Lane starts.
2122: GOALFLASH Tottenham 1-0 Sunderland (Van der Vaart)
Birmingham goal: Complete turnaround and Stoke are seriously wobbling. Sebastian Larsson is the creator, his delightful cross begging to be nodded in and Cameron Jerome rising highest to oblige with a glanced finish.
2120: GOALFLASH Stoke 2-2 Birmingham (Jerome)
Birmingham goal: Game back on? Stoke fail to deal with a long ball into the box and it falls to Keith Fahey, who takes a touch before slamming into the far corner from 18 yards.
2118: GOALFLASH Stoke 2-1 Birmingham (Fahey)
2116: Craig Gordon is looking worth every penny of his £9m fee tonight - he pulls off another fabulous one-handed save to keep out Rafael van der Vaart's downward header from a David Bentley corner.
Stoke goal: Has Stoke's luck turned? With Birmingham building a real head of steam, the hosts double their lead - Ricardo Fuller cutting in from the right, driving into the box and lashing into the far corner with a left-foot curler.
2115: GOALFLASH Stoke 2-0 Birmingham (Fuller)
2115: Scramble! Stoke are hanging on desperately as first Danny Higginbotham sends one against his own post from Cameron Jerome's cross and then Craig Gardner's follow-up effort is blocked on the line.
2114: Bolo Zenden sends in a testing left-footed free-kick that just evades the onrushing Asamoah Gyan and ends up safely in Heurelho Gomes's arms. The slighted touch on that and Sunderland would've been ahead.
Football League Macca: "Sorry about that. It went a bit quiet on the goal front. Trust red-hot Derby to sort us out. They have gone 1-0 up at Ipswich and the scorer is Kris Commons. The Rams' east Mids rivals Forest are also in front, turning round a 1-0 deficit and going 2-1 up front through Chris Cohen. Palace concede three minutes after the second half kicks off as Watford's Danny Graham makes it 1-1."
2110: Spurs are convinced they should have a penalty now as David Bentley goes down over Bolo Zenden's sliding challenge in the box, but referee Howard Webb books the Spurs man for diving instead. Replays show the home midfielder was on the way down - but Zenden has got none of the ball and a lot of the player there. Interesting.
2109: And Spurs go almost as close at White Hart Lane, Rafael van der Vaart - totally unmarked - heads wide from Alan Hutton's cross.
2108: Good header, good save. Roger Johnson powers on to a corner to bullet a header at goal, Asmir Begovic tipping it over the bar.
JPT CW: "They'll be singing on the streets of Brentford tonight because, yep, Brentford are through to the semi-finals (Southern Section) of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. They've shown Swindon how to take penalties on their own Wiltshire patch, winning the shoot-out 4-2 with Robbie Simpson notching the clincher. That's big. Elsewhere, Plymouth HAVE EQUALISED through Chris Clark against Exeter. Penalty shoot-out on the cards there? Bristol Rovers now 4-1 up at Wycombe, and Huddersfield romping to victory at Rotherham by the same score."
Infostrada Sports tell me, meanwhile, that Peter Crouch hasn't scored a goal in his last seven matches coming on as a sub... since coming on to net in Spurs' 3-1 defeat at Sunderland last season. Hhmmm.
2104: With the big man up front, Tottenham immediately look to go direct into the box - but first Benoit Assou-Ekotto's centre from deep and then David Bentley's cross are well cleared by the Sunderland backline.
2102: Peter Crouch does indeed come on for Tottenham, with Danny Welbeck on for Sunderland. Roman Pavlyuchenko and Christian Riveros the men replaced.
2059: Looks like we're going to have a change at White Hart Lane, with Peter Crouch coming on.
JPT CW: "Full time in the Swindon-Brentford clash, 1-1, and the rules of the competition mean we don't bother with extra-time - why would we do that? - and we go straight to penalties. I'll keep you posted."
2055: He's looked so dangerous all night, and Robert Huth again has the beating of the Birmingham defence to meet Matthew Etherington's corner - only to send his effort wide.
2052: Good back-tracking from Barry Ferguson, the Blues midfielder dropping deep to snuff out the danger when Ricardo Fuller gets in behind the Stoke defence.
2050: We're back under way at the Britannia.
JPT CW: "Second halves just about to get under way in five of seven ties and there's a huge amount of pressure on Peter Reid's Plymouth to prove they are the Pride of Devon. Why? Local rivals Exeter are leading 1-0 in their back yard at the moment. Another managerial former midfield terrier Lee Clark must be happy though. His League One high-fliers Huddersfield are cruising 3-1 at Rotherham in the other big Johnstone's Paint Trophy quarter final derby. Their League One rivals Charlton still lead Southend thanks to Thierry Racon's goal. Crewe need to start chugging: Clayton Donaldson's own goal means they trail Carlisle 1-0. Same goes for in-form Bury, with Tranmere beating them 1-0 at Gigg Lane. Bristol Rovers still bossing Wycombe 2-0 thanks to Jo Kuffour's double with 30 minutes remaining. And in the 1930 kick off, Brentford are holding Swindon 1-1 at the County Ground. Five minutes remaining of the 90 Watch this space."
2047: HALF-TIME Tottenham 0-0 Sunderland Jonathan Stevenson's
HT snap-shot: "Sunderland have parked the bus and though they've defended well, they look there for the taking. Spurs need more from Van der Vaart & Modric."
2046: And there's the half-time whistle at the Lane.
2044: Apart from that, it's Tottenham v Craig Gordon - and so far the Sunderland keeper is winning. This time the Scot gets across brilliantly to tip David Bentley's left-foot stinger away from his top corner on the stretch.
2043: Excellent keep-ball around the Tottenham box from Sunderland as the visitors switch play from one side of the pitch to another with nice, one-touch play... only for Jordan Henderson to get caught on the ball by Gareth Bale and the move comes to nothing.
2038: A rare attack from Sunderland now, but Bolo Zenden's cross is behind Asamoah Gyan, whose tame header is easily collected by Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes.
2037: Craig Gordon is keeping Sunderland in it at White Hart Lane, the Scot this time tipping David Bentley's whipped free-kick behind for a corner.
2035: HALF-TIME Stoke 1-0 Birmingham Phil Dawkes' HT snap-shot: "It's been far from a classic but Stoke's efforts have been rewarded right at the end of the first half through Huth's goal. Birmingham will have to change the containing game plan now if they want anything out this."
2034: Lovely move from Tottenham, Rafael van der Vaart swapping passes with Tom Huddlestone to burst into the box, Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon beating the Dutchman's near-post effort behind for a corner.
2033: Right on the stroke of half time it could be 2-0 Stoke, only for Robert Huth to see his towering header from a corner ricochet away from goal off team-mate Ricardo Fuller.
Football League Macca: "A couple of levellers on the stroke of HT as Radoslaw Majewski equalises for Forest at home to Coventry and Adam Hammill does similarly for Barnsley at Preston."
Stoke goal: At last Stoke have a first-half goal - for only the second time this season - and it's no less than the hosts deserve. Matt Etherington's cross is teed up for Ricardo Fuller, whose shot is deflected into the path of Robert Huth to smash home.
2029: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-0 Birmingham (Huth)
Football League Macca: "Some much-needed smiles at Selhurst. Palace, who have not tasted victory in front of their own fans since 14 September, are in front against Watford through Darren Ambrose. Leeds are level through Bradley Johnson and Coventry have just nudged ahead at Forest through a Luke Chambers og. Burnley have just missed a penalty at home to Doncaster, who maintain their 1-0 lead."
2027: Rafael van der Vaart goes for goal with a free-kick right by the byeline, but Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon watches it all the way and punches clear.
2026: Good goalkeeping again at the Britannia, Birmingham keeper Ben Foster tipping Kenwyne Jones' header from Jermaine Pennant's corner over the bar.
2023: Stoke continuing to persevere with set-pieces and balls direct into the Birmingham box, no joy so far, though. I'd say we need a Premier League goal don't we?
JPT CW: "Half-way through the first half of most matches, and Plymouth really reeling with local rivals Exeter leading 1-0 after Ryan Harley's second-minute goal. Peter Reid must be livid to concede so early. Jordan Rhodes notched for Huddersfield in the first 60 seconds in the other big Johnstone's Paint Trophy quarter final. Rotherham did hit back through Ryan Taylor, but Rhodes has just bagged a second. Thierry Racon has just given Charlton the lead at Southend. Clayton Donaldson's own goal means Carlisle are beating Crewe 1-0. Same goes for Tranmere, who are one goal to the good at Bury. Bristol Rovers making easy meat of Wycombe: 2-0 right now and approaching half time. And in the 1930 kick off, Brentford are holding Swindon 1-1 at the County Ground. Well into the second half there. Breathless."
2018: Early change for Sunderland, Phil Bardsley on for Anton Ferdinand.
2017: Bosh. A corner is half-cleared to Tom Huddlestone who pings a first-time effort at goal, the ball crashing off the angle of post and bar via a slight deflection. So close.
Football League Macca: "Middlesbrough fans who have opted to spend the evening in Scunthorpe will feel like they're halfway to the moon. Their side, with just a single point on their travels, are 2-0 up at Glanford Park courtesy of a Scott McDonald effort. No goals in the big games at Pompey or Portman Road as yet."
2013: And now a Rory Delap long throw causes problems in the Birmingham defence, keeper Ben Foster only getting half a punch to it before Scott Dann clears.
2012: Stoke still on top at the Britannia, piling plenty of balls and plenty of bodies into the box. Birmingham holding firm for now, though.
2009: First effort of note from Sunderland, now, with Lee Cattermole holding off Tom Huddlestone before clipping off-target from 20 yards. Moments later, Kieran Richardson sees his snap-shot deflected behind for a corner off Younes Kaboul.
Football League Macca: "Leeds's last three home results have been 0-4, 1-2, 4-6. It's not been a great start at fortress Elland Road as John Bostock puts Hull in front. Doncaster lead at Burnley through James Hayter and have edged up to seventh in the as-it-stands table."
2007: Cracking effort from Roman Pavlyuchenko, who runs at the Sunderland defence before whipping a fierce effort just past the post. Tottenham looking very much up for this in these early stages.
2006: It's calmed down a touch in the Stoke-Birmingham clash, where there's plenty of physicality but not a huge amount of guile so far. Some of you might be experiencing technical problems with Final Score by the way, our wizards are on it. Thanks.
2005: Younes Kaboul drills a Tottenham free-kick a yard or two wide from about 30 yards.
2002: And it's as lively at the Lane as it is at the Britannia, where Luka Modric has just forced a sprawling save from Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon with a low 20-yard effort.
2000: Tottenham kick us off at White Hart Lane. Refresh for your audio links on the right-hand side.
1958: Just over 10 minutes in at the Britannia and already all eyes are on referee Mark Clattenburg. Ben Foster dashes out to bravely clear at the feet of Danny Higginbotham, who is dumped to the ground inside the box with Stoke claiming a penalty. Clattenburg is having none of it - and TV replays show Foster probably just about got enough of the ball. Ricardo Fuller, on the follow-up sees his snap-shot deflected wide by Stephen Carr, meanwhile. Lively at Stoke.
Football League Macca: "We have our first goals in the Championship. They've both come at the lower end of the dogfight as Preston's Craig Morgan pounces with a header after about 211 seconds of their home game with Barnsley. A few moments after that Kris Boyd pops Middlesbrough in front at Scunny. Tony Mowbray working some magic?"
1956: Here come the Tottenham and Sunderland players at White Hart Lane, atmosphere building nicely.
1953: And now Stoke threaten, Kenwyne Jones getting on the end of a beauty of a cross from Jermaine Pennant but sending his header, via a deflection, narrowly wide.
1952: Birmingham midfielder Sebastian Larsson tries his luck from range with a dipping effort that creeps inches over Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic's crossbar.
PaulSeaton on Twitter:
"That EuroClubIndex re: 1938 is good fun, but Tottenham seven places below Liverpool? How far does it go back for stats, 1990?!"
1949: Jean Beausejour, making his first Premier League start of the season, charges at the Stoke defence and looks at one point to have gained half a yard for a shot - but he is soon squeezed out of it by Robert Huth. The hosts bounce up the field and Matthew Etherington looks to get his effort off, it's blocked though. Bright start.
1946: Over at White Hart Lane, meanwhile, injured Tottenham duo Michael Dawson and Jermain Defoe are shown sat in a private box smashing down what appears to be chicken, burger and chips. Might need a second sauce on that, though. Ahem... sorry.
1945: Started at the Britannia Stadium.
1944: Right then, the first of our Premier League matches Stoke-Birmingham is about to get under way. Ready?
1942: Following on from 1922, by the way,
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp had this to say
before tonight's Sunderland match: "Getting into the Europa League would be a nightmare. The managers are getting in the Europa League and then every game you see they're all putting their reserve teams out. You can imagine them all saying 'Thursday night? What a bleeding nuisance this is.' It's not the Champions League - that's the competition you've got to want to be in if you can, so we've really got to try to finish again in the top four if we can, which is a difficult task." Time tonight for Redknapp's side to underline where their bread is really buttered this season then?
gavgavgavgavgav3 on 606:
"Please please please let there be goals and controversy galore tonight, Ive got an assignment due in tomorrow and I need a good excuse for not doing it."
From James, Horsham via text: "Re: 1928 - promises to be a cracker then surely?!"
deltrasoph on 606:
"Wet and windy at Fratton Park, just hope Adel Taarabt is up for it. Let's go four points clear QPR!"
1938: Now then, with all that in mind and with kick-off merely minutes away, what are your predictions people? Lawro has already lent
his expert opinion to the Premier League ties,
so who wants to stick their neck on the line with a few Championship and JPT predos? To help you, how about a bit of
Infostrada Sports' Euro Club Index?
Well Stoke, ranked 107, are rated as having a 48% chance of beating Birmingham (123), who have a 22% chance. Tottenham, ranked 17th, are rated as 68% against Sunderland's (124) 10%. Make sense? Good.
1935: If you give this page a cheeky refresh, by the way, the magic of the Final Score video will appear at the top of this page. Jubbly.
1934: TOTTENHAM v SUNDERLAND Jonathan Stevenson
reports: "So, Tottenham make four changes after the 4-2 thumping at Bolton, with Rafael van der Vaart fit again and David Bentley making his first league start of the season, with Tom Huddlestone and Roman Pavlyuchenko also recalled. Sunderland bring six players in after their 2-0 win over Stoke, with keeper Craig Gordon back alongside Anton Ferdinand, Titus Bramble, Cristian Riveros, Bolo Zenden and Kieran Richardson."
Anthony, Middlesbrough via text: "Middlesbrough to kick-start their season tonight against Scunthorpe, 2-0."
RKW on 606:
"Stoke are due a bit of luck, aren't they? And Spurs to be held to a draw tonight."
1930: TOTTENHAM v SUNDERLAND Tottenham: Gomes, Hutton, Kaboul, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto, Bentley, Huddlestone, Modric, Bale, Van der Vaart, Pavlyuchenko. Subs: Cudicini, Jenas, Palacios, Crouch, Bassong, Kranjcar, Corluka. Sunderland: Gordon, Onuoha, Turner, Bramble, Ferdinand, Henderson, Cattermole, Riveros, Richardson, Zenden, Gyan. Subs: Mignolet, Bardsley, Malbranque, Angeleri, Da Silva, Welbeck, Elmohamady. Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
1928: Before Spurs-Sunderland gets under way, though, we have the Stoke-Birmingham match-up - a clash that, on paper anyway, promises to be... well... interminably dull, if I'm honest. Not because of the usual nonsense cliches about the two teams' style of football or anything like that, but because of what
the match stats tell us.
For example, the two teams have managed 22 goals in 22 league games between them this term, the last five matches between the sides have yielded three 1-0s and two 0-0s, Stoke have failed to score in their last seven matches against the Blues and Birmingham's top-scorer in the Premier League this season is defender Liam Ridgewell (three). But when have the stats ever told the full story?
TheIncredibleRiseOfGomes on 606:
"Anyone else think it could be a mistake playing Van Der Vaart with Pav and not with Crouch. Hasn't he assisted all his goals?"
Eli_Emilien on Twitter:
"Think Birmingham could be a threat this season with a new found Zigic-Jerome partnership up front."
1924: The day after that Redknapp battle cry,
Tottenham beat Fulham
to end the day joint second in the Premier League and all looked rather rosy at White Hart Lane. Since, however, things have gone awry - in the league, at least - leaving Spurs as close to the relegation places as fourth spot. With Sunderland, level on points with the Londoners, due in town tonight, is anyone any clearer as to whether Spurs can juggle their domestic and European responsibilities this season? And if Redknapp's men really are title contenders -
as Black Cats boss Steve Bruce insists they are
- just what are Sunderland capable of this season? Answers on a postcard.
1922: "The League position is all-important. We must finish in the top four. We want a good run in the Champions League and go as far as we can, but if you go out of the competition early and finish halfway up the table it's not good. The Premier League is our priority." Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp, 15 October 2010.
JezzaSCFC on 606:
"Pulis has got the changes to the team just about right - the organisational skills of Higgy, the pace and power of Ricardo Fuller to spearhead our attack and the return of the Delapidator's throws: it is not pretty, but it sure is effective."
Tom, Edinburgh via text: "Re 1906. Twice European champions Forest play for a bacon roll - how the mighty have fallen."
Hintonian on Twitter:
"Grayson playing 4-5-1 at home to Hull seems very negative to me. Somma should definitely be starting, he's Leeds' top scorer."
1917: STOKE v BIRMINGHAM Phil Dawkes reports: "Ryan Shawcross is suspended and so Danny Higginbotham comes into the Stoke defence. Other changes see midfielders Rory Delap and Jermaine Pennant and striker Ricardo Fuller start in place of Marc Wilson, Tuncay and Jonathan Walters. Birmingham welcome back joint top-scorer Craig Gardner to their starting lineup in place of Keith Fahey. Jean Beasejour also returns, with Alexander Hleb dropping to the bench."
Football League Macca: "With Cardiff enjoying a night off (they play tomorrow) QPR have the chance to extend their lead at the top to four points. But to do so they'll need a victory at Pompey, who have won four in a row at home and smashed in 16 goals in the process. Such is the madness of the Champo that Pompey, in 13th, are only three points off fourth place. Ipswich, the current occupiers of sixth, face fourth-placed Derby. There's likely to be plenty of table movement and goals and drama, so we'll try to keep you in touch with the best of the action."
castarion on Twitter:
"One thing's for sure, one of Sunderland's players will get a yellow card, i'm guessing Lee Cattermole today!"
dodgy_tipster on Twitter:
"Good news about Van der Vaart and Pavlyuchenko, not sure on Bentley though, would've preferred Niko Kranjcar!"
1907: STOKE-BIRMINGHAM TEAM NEWS SNAP Danny Higginbotham replaces the suspended Ryan Shawcross for Stoke, Craig Gardner starts for Birmingham.
1906: TOTTENHAM TEAM NEWS SNAP Rafael van der Vaart, Roman Pavlyuchenko and David Bentley all start against Sunderland.
martyn75 on Twitter:
"I've got a bacon sarnie on a Coventry win tonight against a Forest fan at work! Play up Sky Blues!!!!"
1904: STOKE v BIRMINGHAM Phil Dawkes reports: "Stoke boss Tony Pulis claims his side have
suffered at the hands of referees this season
and advocated a system of promotion and relegation for officials. However, having lost their last four league games it is their own relegation worries that the Potters must deal with first. Placed only two points above Stoke, Birmingham's big problem is scoring goals and they will hope the return of joint top-scorer Craig Gardner will inspire them to a much-needed third win of the season."
Rob, following on train home to Watford, via text: "Hope Rafael van der Vaart is fit to start. He's our leader!"
dirtyh on 606:
"Wonder which Spurs will turn up? Am going for a squeaky 2-1 win."
1900: TOTTENHAM v SUNDERLAND Jonathan Stevenson
reports: "Tottenham have ground to make up after two Premier League defeats in a row - they've never lost three in succession under Harry Redknapp and he will be keen to avoid a 200th defeat in the top flight. Spurs will want to get Rafael van der Vaart back on the pitch asap, but Sunderland themselves will be without eight-goal Darren Bent, remarkably one of only two scorers for the Black Cats this campaign. Asamoah Gyan, with three, shoulders the burden up front in his absence."
1858: And talking of the JP Trophy, we have an early kick-off in that, with Swindon-Brentford getting under way in around a couple of minutes.
JPT CW: "Whoever coined the term 'like watching painting dry' clearly hadn't heard of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. It's quarter-final time. Some big games, some big names. Plenty of sides with plenty to prove, not least Peter Reid's Plymouth who - after their abject FA Cup 0-4 drubbing at home to Swindon - are desperate to get one over Devon super-rivals Exeter. Big boost for Swindon as on-loan (from Manchester City) striker David Ball, who must be 42nd in line at Eastlands shooting practice, returns for the visit of Brentford. Elsewhere in the Southern section, League Two strugglers Southend welcome League One high-fliers Charlton while Bristol Rovers travel to Wycombe. Up North, Carlisle should boast Tom Cruise (property of Arsenal, not Hollywood) and Corry 'brother of Manchester United's Jonny' Evans in their line-up to face Crewe. Tough task for Rotherham in the Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield, with manager Lee Clark promising to will field a strong side. Elsewhere, sort-of-Mancs vs sort-of-Scousers: Bury host Tranmere."
1852: Let's get excited people.
might be your headliners, but my doors - even more than usual - are open to all your chat across the divisions. Tweet me
@sampatricklyon, get chatting over on
or text me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). You know you want to.
1848: Yep, there's something for everyone tonight and we've brought out the big guns to host it. I,
will be chatting you through a couple of Premier League crackers, Football League Macca will be your eyes and ears for all your Championship needs, and JPT CW will bring you all the latest from tonight's Johnstone's Paint Trophy quarter-finals. Yes, some might argue that tomorrow night's Premier League ties - including
a Manchester derby,
a west London derby and
six other beauties
- make tonight the 'aperitif' to Wednesday's 'main course', but then I've always been a big fan of hors d'oeuvres so everyone's a winner right? You lot ready?
1845: The saying is wrong. Tuesday's child is no longer "full of grace". Tuesday's child is "full of football". Premier League, Championship and Johnstone's Paint Trophy action? I should coco.
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