Middlesbrough secured safe passage to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 victory over Bradford at the University of Bradford Stadium.

Boro were keen to keep the momentum up from their first league victory, against Southampton at the weekend, and made all of the running in a first half capped by Emmanuel Latte Lath’s strike midway through.

The away side play two divisions higher than their Sky Bet League Two counterparts and made their quality count in the second half through Morgan Rogers as they secured a comfortable away win.

The Championship side came closest to the opener in the third minute after some neat link-up play unlocked the Bantams’ defence, with Tommy Smith sliding it into Lewis O’Brien who blazed over from close range.

The visitors, followed by a 4,000 strong travelling contingent, were on top for the early parts and were inches away from scoring the first but Samuel Silvera’s curling effort from outside the area skimmed the wrong side of a post.

It seemed only a matter of time before Boro got on the scoresheet, and they did just that when Latte-Lath received a ball from Hayden Hackney and squeezed it under Harry Lewis’ legs from inside the area.

Many would argue City’s keeper could have done better for the first but he did well to keep the deficit to one just a couple of minutes later as he remarkably stopped Latte Lath’s header from inside the six-yard box.

Bradford started the second period with more zest and had half an opening after Rayhaan Tulloch danced his way between the Boro defence but curled harmlessly wide of the target.

Boro doubled their lead in the 54th minute after Riley McGree’s square ball found a free Rogers, who easily tapped home to make it two.

Middlesbrough could have made it three just after the hour mark after Hackney flicked the ball into O’Brien, whose goalbound effort was palmed wide by Lewis.

Bradford’s efforts to get back into the encounter seemed tame, which led to large parts of the 15,000 crowd heading for the exit doors early.

The Bantams finally mustered their first shot on target in the 84th minute as Alex Pattison latched onto Tyler Smith’s through ball.

He made Thomas Glover pull off his first save of the night as Middlesbrough advanced in comfortable fashion.

Inter Milan head coach Simone Inzaghi thanked his stalwarts for embracing the slew of new recruits at San Siro as the Nerazzurri blaze a trail at the top of Serie A.

There was some concern that the formula which saw Inter go all the way to an unexpected Champions League final and claim a creditable third place in the league might be addled by the transfer overhaul that took place over the summer.

Although European stars including Benjamin Pavard and Marcus Thuram were thrown into the mix, many clubs have found it is not always easy to create a winning team in the short term based solely on the quality of talent recruited.

Inzaghi told a press conference: “Our squad has undergone a lot of changes, but the players who were already here have been important. They’ve helped the newcomers – however experienced they are – understand how to adapt to the Inter world.

“I see real willingness: everyone has been working excellently and in a really determined fashion since July.”

Inter host Sassuolo on Wednesday having thumped city rivals AC Milan 5-1, drawn away at Real Sociedad and squeezed past Empoli 1-0 on Sunday, with a trip to Salernitana on the schedule for the upcoming weekend.

“It’ll be our fourth match in 10 days, with many players having also been away on international duty and done plenty of travelling,” Inzaghi added.

“However, I’m lucky enough to coach a competitive squad. We still need to train this afternoon and then I’ll make my choices.”

On the threat posed by Sassuolo, the former Lazio striker said: “They come into this game having beaten Juventus thanks to a really good display and they have a excellent coach who has his team really well organised.

“We need to be determined as we look to produce a big performance.”

His opposite number in the Neroverdi dugout, Alessio Dionisi, led his side to a 4-2 triumph over Juve last time out and told reporters: “The victory has given us awareness, and we obtained a great result against a better team.

“We know what we did on Sunday will not be enough against Inter because right now they are superior. They are superior to everyone.

“We must try to be the best possible version of Sassuolo, we made it on Saturday and we must do the same tomorrow against a team that seems unplayable.

“We’ll need courage and personality.”

Liverpool assistant boss Pep Lijnders believes they will take on a Premier League quality team in Leicester in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

The Championship leaders, who look set to vie for an immediate return to the top flight under new coach Enzo Maresca, will make the trip to Anfield for a third-round tie.

Lijnders took over the hotseat from Jurgen Klopp for the pre-match press conference, and he said: “We know we’re going to play against a team that has a lot of individual quality.

“It shows how they are doing in the league. A real clear offensive game idea, very quick installation of this idea with the coach Enzo – he does an unbelievable job. I think each player could play in the Premier League.

“It will be really hard for us to get control of their key players and at the same time put them under pressure. As always in each game we will focus on ourselves.

“Of course we will make changes but we want to put our game into place, we want to be dominant, we want to be in their half of the pitch.”

The game will come too soon for Trent Alexander-Arnold, who Lijnders said “looked outstanding” on his return to training on Monday following a hamstring injury.

Midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who is yet to make an appearance this season, is back on the grass but is working individually.

There could be another chance, though, for 17-year-old winger Ben Doak, who started last week’s Europa League match in Linz.

Lijnders cited his Dutch heritage while discussing Doak’s potential, saying: “He is young so a lot of things can happen.

“I had the privilege to grow up in Holland and we have this culture, a long tactical culture of Johan Cruyff. This idea of having the wingers on the outside, they can create, can really disorganise the opposition, use the speed.

“Then, if you get a young winger from Scotland but only 17 years old and he has this capacity to create and to reach the final line with individual movement, it’s nice to see.

“The good thing about Ben in my opinion is he comes into a squad with so much senior authority. He will never make a sidestep, the boys will already tell him.

“He has this great low gravity and that’s how he can control the ball better. So he’s a really interesting player but loads to come, he needs to mature, he needs to listen to Robbo (Andy Robertson), to Mo Salah, to all these guys that are trying to help him.

“And I think it’s really good for the older players to have young players with this hunger. That combination is what we always had and that’s how we want to construct the squad.”

Bukayo Saka has added to Arsenal’s injury woes as Mikel Arteta revealed the England winger could miss the weekend trip to Bournemouth with a foot problem.

The 22-year-old scored from the penalty spot and saw a first-half shot deflected in by Cristian Romero as the Gunners drew 2-2 at home to north London rivals Tottenham on Sunday.

Saka, though, then limped off late in the game to be replaced by Emile Smith Rowe and will definitely miss Wednesday’s Carabao Cup third-round clash at Brentford, while his club-record run of 86 consecutive Premier League appearances is also under threat.

Declan Rice was replaced at half-time against Spurs with a back issue and forwards Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard missed the game through injury, with Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey also sidelined.

Now Arteta is worried Saka – who has four goals as well as four assists from the first eight games of the campaign – could join that lengthy injury list.

“He was limping quite badly after the match,” said Arteta. “We had to get him off the field, which is never a good sign. He hasn’t been able to participate in the session.”

Asked if he could miss the Bournemouth game, Arteta added: “It’s a possibility, yes.”

None of the players currently on the treatment table will be available for the London derby against the Bees, with the same quintet unlikely to return in time for Saturday’s trip to the south coast.

Saka could yet make an appearance at the Vitality Stadium as Arteta once again highlighted the amount of football being played as a potential explanation for so many injuries.

“It’s true that they play with the national teams and they’re coming from a season where they had a World Cup and some players played 60-odd games,” he said.

“We’ve been unlucky. Jurrien, for example, was due to other reasons, while Bukayo was because someone stepped on him.

“There are some traumatic injuries, others are more muscular. We try to find the ways to avoid them but they’re a part of football.

“It’s true that we have a lot of internationals in the last few windows and they have quite a lot of exposure to minutes but at the moment we have a squad that is not 24 players. To change 11 or 12 players tomorrow is just not a possibility we have.”

Arteta suggested he could rotate at the Gtech Community Stadium, with fringe players and young talent in line for a rare chance to impress.

“There are a lot of players who need minutes,” he said. “If you go through the squad there are lots of players who haven’t had minutes and they are going to need exposure, that’s for sure.

“We all trained today. The line up, we could not make it because there are still some players who are doubtful. So I will decide the best team to put out there.”

Napoli boss Rudi Garcia did not carry out his pre-match press conference duties on Tuesday as the pressure continued to grow on his position following another fractious weekend in Serie A.

The Partenopei welcome Udinese to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona with criticism mounting over their faltering start to the defence of the title they won last season and frustration within the camp threatening to boil over.

They are without a win in three league games after Sunday’s goalless draw at Bologna, where striker Victor Osimhen made no secret of his displeasure at Garcia’s decision to substitute him late on after seeing him miss a penalty.

After the match, Garcia told reporters: “Even the greatest players in the history of football miss penalties. As for when he went off, we talked about that, what I say to my players remains in the locker room.”

Reports from Italy – where it has been claimed Garcia has four matches in which to save his job – have suggested Osimhen has since apologised to the manager in front of his team-mates, but with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia having been similarly unimpressed with his withdrawal during the 2-2 draw at Genoa eight days earlier, the optics are far from good.

The champions are already seven points adrift of leaders Inter Milan – who have a 100 per cent record – after five games, although Udinese boss Andrea Sottil had dismissed talk of a crisis.

Sottil told a press conference: “The newspapers say that Napoli are in crisis, but I absolutely don’t think so.

“It’s not my priority to understand if their locker room is working, I’m interested in creating a strategy for the match by working on my players.”

Napoli will have high hopes of a return to winning ways against a side who have drawn three, but won none of their league fixtures to date and currently lie inside the bottom three.

However under-pressure Garcia, who replaced Scudetto-winning boss Luciano Spalletti this summer, will be without defender Juan Jesus, who has been ruled out for several weeks with a grade-one hamstring injury.

Mauricio Pochettino has no problem with Chelsea’s owners visiting the dressing room after matches, but points out it is not their job to come in and “give some speech”.

Co-owner Behdad Eghbali went into the changing room following Sunday’s defeat to Aston Villa, with other members of the club’s senior hierarchy, including Todd Boehly and co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart, having done similarly after home Premier League games this season.

The Argentinian insists it is “good” that the quartet spend time around the players on matchdays, provided his authority is respected.

“I like when the owners come,” he said. “In all my career as a coach, at Espanyol then Southampton, Tottenham and Paris St Germain also, before and after.


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“I think it’s good that the owners came to the dressing room. It’s in the way that they approach the players that is the most important. If they are in a good way, I think they’re very welcome.

“After my press conference on Sunday against Aston Villa they came and shared with us like normal.

“Against Liverpool, first game, then Luton and Nottingham Forest, they came with Paul and Laurence and Behdad, and sometimes with Todd also. They share some comment and we talk about the game, always after my (press) duties.

“I don’t see it in a bad way. For me it’s good always if they share with us, then they can say hello to the players. The difference is if they come for some speech. That is different.

“But in the way they came they are very welcome. They own the club, they can do whatever they want.

“I think they are in a very good way and we are glad that they came and shared with us – even like happened on Sunday when we didn’t win and we are suffering.”

Boehly entered the dressing room and spoke to the team on a number of occasions last season, most notably after the 2-1 defeat to Brighton in April when he told the squad their season had been “embarrassing”.

Chelsea face the same opposition at Stamford Bridge in the Carabao Cup third round on Wednesday in arguably a worse position than the last time Roberto De Zerbi’s team visited.

Defeat to the Seagulls came in a run that saw the team win just one of their final 12 league games of the season en route to finishing 12th under caretaker boss Frank Lampard.

This season has begun in similarly poor form with one win and three defeats from Pochettino’s first six Premier League games.

Pochettino said he waited until Monday to address his players following the loss to Villa, which came after the visitors took advantage of defender Malo Gusto’s second-half red card to win it with a breakaway Ollie Watkins goal.

“Not really (I didn’t give a speech after the game),” he said. “We talked on Monday and Tuesday with the players. But it’s my duty, if I need to do it, it’s my decision (to make) some speech. Only me, or the captain.

“It’s not a job of the owner to come to the dressing room and give some speech after the game, whether you win or you lose. But they know very well how they need to behave.”

Defeat on Sunday made this Chelsea’s worst start to a league season for 45 years, with the team still struggling to convert possession and chances into goals – a feature that has carried over from last term.

The team’s performances have arguably been better than results, with Pochettino’s side having looked far the likelier to take three points up until Gusto was dismissed for a dangerous tackle on Villa’s Lucas Digne on 58 minutes.

The situation has been made worse by an injury crisis that left the boss without 12 first-team players for the recent goalless draw against Bournemouth.

“If you go back to the Liverpool game (on the opening weekend), I think no-one expected this situation,” Pochettino said.

“The circumstances are (something) that sometimes you cannot manage, a little bit of bad luck. We can’t talk about excuses, but that is the circumstances and the reality.”

Cagliari coach Claudio Ranieri has called for his side to be calm when they take on AC Milan looking to kickstart their Serie A campaign.

Defeat at Atalanta on Sunday was a third in five league games for Ranieri’s side, who sit second bottom of the table.

Cagliari, promoted last season, have scored just one goal in September and have only two points on the board.

Ranieri, though, is confident results will follow if his side can produce the right mindset.

“The boys are working well, we must move forward with confidence, without fear of making mistakes and doing what we prepare,” Ranieri told reporters.

“We expected a tough start, the schedule is clear, we have two points and it could be more but also less, now on to Milan who are very strong and want to become champions of Italy again.

“It will be a good battle, we need some optimism also from the last matches, that goal, the victory that can unblock you and give you more calmness.”

Milan coach Stefano Pioli did not give a press conference ahead of the trip to the Unipol Domus.

Pioli, though, had hinted he would probably make changes on Wednesday night as he aims to keep his squad fresh to build on a 1-0 win over Verona after a goalless draw in their opening Champions League game followed a heavy defeat to derby rivals Inter.

The Rossoneri are without midfielder Rade Krunic for the first time this season.

The Bosnian had been an ever present before a muscle problem forced him off during the second half against Verona.

Yacine Adli and Tijjani Reijnders are potential replacements to come into the side as cover.

Duncan Ferguson never stopped to consider the significance of his return to Scottish football when he seized the chance to take over as Inverness manager.

The former Dundee United and Rangers striker is back in his homeland 29 years after leaving Ibrox for Everton.

The 51-year-old had a swift return to Glasgow in 1995, a year after his move to Merseyside, when he spent 44 days in Barlinnie Prison following a failed appeal against his conviction for assault against John McStay during a game against Raith Rovers at Ibrox.

He never played in Scotland again as he ended his international career in 1997 amid lingering resentment over the Scottish Football Association’s attempts to impose a 12-match suspension – both before his initial court case and after his jail term. The protracted dispute was ultimately resolved in the player’s favour after another court case.

When asked how he was feeling about his return to Scottish football, the former Newcastle striker told MFR Radio: “I’m feeling good, I’m feeling great. I suppose I never thought about that really.

“Fitba’s fitba, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter where it is, it can be in England, it can be in Scotland.

“Obviously it’s nice to come back up to Scotland, my home, but that’s not the reason why I took the job. The reason I took the job is because I think this club can move in the right direction.

“But it is great to be back. I obviously come and visit, so I have not been totally down south forever. I have got family up here. But it is lovely to be back.”

The job is Ferguson’s second in management after a brief spell at Forest Green last season. Rovers won only one of the 18 games he took charge of and were relegated from Sky Bet League One.

Stirling-born Ferguson, who has signed a three-year contract, said: “It’s a great opportunity for myself. It’s great to be back being a manager, the thing that I love, coaching, managing, and really excited about the project ahead.

“The club have got a really big ambition to go back to the Premiership. Unfortunately that’s not the case at the moment but they have certainly got a lot of good ideas of how to get there.

“The main reason I came was the ambition of the club and the ambition of myself, and it’s a great opportunity.”

Ferguson spent 14 years as a coach at Everton, most of them working with the first team, and believes he can get Caley Thistle off the foot of the cinch Championship and up the table.

Previous manager Billy Dodds was sacked months after leading the club to the Scottish Cup final, and Caley Thistle sit bottom with one point from six matches.

Ferguson, whose first game will be against Dick Campbell’s Arbroath at Gayfield on Saturday, said: “We need to get some goals, we need to start creating some chances, we need to make sure we are in the opposition box.

“There’s not a lot of points on the board so we need to make sure we change that and change that quickly.”

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti shrugged off any criticism from Sunday’s derby defeat as his “upset and angry” team look for an immediate response against Las Palmas.

Los Blancos lost 3-1 to city rivals Atletico on Sunday after opening the season with six straight wins in all competitions.

That was only the second time in 15 LaLiga clashes that Real had been beaten by Atletico and they host Las Palmas on Wednesday having dropped to third in the table, trailing Barcelona and Girona by a point.

“It’s normal when you’re the Real Madrid coach to receive criticism if things don’t go well. It doesn’t affect me,” Ancelotti told a press conference.

“I have to assess what we did well, which is a lot, as well as the things we didn’t do so well against Atletico, which are few. The evaluation I make is different to everyone else’s.

“The players and I are aware of what we have to do better, considering that up until now we have done well, and we must carry on doing well by improving what we didn’t get right against Atletico.

“I could have done better, maybe. That’s quite clear. When the team doesn’t do the right thing it’s my responsibility. But I’ve got broad shoulders, it’s not a problem.

“We’d only conceded three goals in six games and in 45 minutes we’ve conceded three goals. We were weak. It’s fair to say that. It wasn’t a good night.

“Every system has its weaknesses. There’s no perfect system. We’ve got experienced and very reliable players.

“It’s a setback that could provide us with an opportunity to do things better. We’re upset and angry, as we always are when we lose. But we’ve done very well so far and we’ll continue to do well.”

Las Palmas sit 15th in the table having lost all of their three away games this term but Ancelotti remains cautious

“Every team has its strengths and features. Las Palmas play good football and like to control the ball,” said the former Chelsea manager. “As for us, we want to get back to winning ways and bounce back quickly after Sunday’s defeat.

“We have to go into games with a different mindset, given that we’ve been hurt a number of times in the opening minutes.”

Dani Carvajal, Vinicius Jr and Arda Guler are available again for Ancelotti after missing the derby but the boss remains unsure how much of a part they will play.

He added: “They’re all available and that’s very good news. I have to assess whether to give them minutes from the start or throughout the game.”

Kalvin Phillips will make a rare start for Manchester City in their Carabao Cup clash against Newcastle, with Pep Guardiola admitting he is concerned about sustaining more injuries.

Jack Grealish and Mateo Kovacic are available but City are without John Stones, Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, while Rodri is suspended for three games following his sending off against Nottingham Forest.

Wednesday’s trip to St James’ Park is the first of four successive away matches in less than two weeks, with City also visiting Wolves, Leipzig and Arsenal.

Guardiola said: “We used it, when we won a few times this competition, at the beginning of the season there are four, five, six players that maybe don’t play regularly and it’s perfect because it’s better than training sessions to play a game.

“But everyone was fit and we made a strong side. But now is an exceptional situation.

“We have a lot of players injured and a lot of players with a lot of minutes – with national team, with the team – and they have to rest because tomorrow is important but Wolves, Leipzig and Arsenal are much more important.

“The guys who didn’t play much are going to play and see what happens with the rest to try to make a good starting XI and travel there to win the game.

“There’s no doubt about that but I have to take a consideration that a lot of effort we have in this period, with many players, a lot of minutes, and we have to avoid for them to get injured again otherwise we’ll be in trouble.”

It will be only a fifth start for Phillips since his move from Leeds last summer, although he did play nearly all of the second half against Forest on Saturday following Rodri’s red card.

Guardiola said his side are only able to train for five to 10 minutes because of the need for recovery.

“We are used to it,” he said. “Previous seasons were the same. Yes you have maybe two or three more games for the (Club) World Cup but the rest is the same.

“The problem is a lack of rest, mentally especially. The seasons come with two or three weeks off, and this is nothing. In the future, with the Champions League longer and more teams, that is what it is. I complain a little bit on my side here and then after that forget it and go to the competitions.”

City won the Carabao Cup for four straight years from 2018 to 2021 but last season it proved their only disappointment, with Guardiola’s side suffering a shock defeat against Southampton in the quarter-finals.

Phil Foden has already talked about going for the quadruple as the only way to top last year, but Guardiola said with a smile: “Phil is so young, you understand with time.

“It’s nice to have that ambition but, as I said to the players, the ambition is the next game. Maybe in April, May, if you are still in all competitions you can start to think about it but, right now in the end of September, to think about the title is a big mistake.

“But if he believes that I will not be the guy to let him think the opposite.”

Phil Jones is working towards his coaching badges and has started a sporting director course as the former Manchester United defender begins a “new journey”.

The 31-year-old joined the Red Devils from Blackburn in 2011, making 229 appearances and scoring six goals before leaving at the end of his contract in the summer.

Jones had endured an injury-hit few seasons, with his last competitive United appearance coming in the victory against Brentford in May 2022.

The PA news agency understands the 27-cap England international has not called time on his playing career and will keep that option open as long as possible, but he is looking towards the future.

“Start of a new journey,” Jones posted on social media.

“Great to begin the global football sport directorship course with the PFA business school, learning new things about the game, whilst also continuing to push ahead with my A licence and badges at the club that gave me so much. Excited to get started.”

Jones has been observing the younger age groups at United as part of his coaching development as he weighs up his next steps.

Newcastle winger Harvey Barnes could be facing months on the sidelines as he awaits a specialist’s verdict on the foot injury he suffered at Sheffield United.

The 25-year-old limped out of Sunday’s 8-0 Premier League demolition job at Bramall Lane after just 12 minutes, and head coach Eddie Howe fears he could miss a significant proportion of the campaign with surgery a possibility.

Asked if Barnes could be out for some time, Howe said: “Yes, we’re fearing it’s going to be. It’s difficult. I don’t want to put a time on it until we get confirmation from the specialist, but I think it will be months rather than weeks.”

The England international, who joined the Magpies in a £38million summer switch from Leicester, suffered his injury as he pushed off to run in South Yorkshire and has since undergone a scan.

Howe said: “It’s an injury to a part of the foot just below the toe. I think it’s quite a substantial injury. We’ve had it scanned, we’re waiting now for a specialist’s opinion on what to do next, whether there’s surgery involved or not.

“I don’t think it was a tackle, I think it was just pushing off to run, a very unusual injury. I won’t go too technical because I’m not medically qualified to do so, but yes, very unusual.”

Any extended absence would come as a blow to both a player who is desperate to establish himself on Tyneside – Sunday’s game was just his second start for his new club – and his employers, who invested heavily in his services during their latest spending spree as they prepared for a season which includes Champions League football for the first time in two decades.

Howe said: “He was down after the game because he knew it wasn’t a normal injury where you feel a muscle and think that might be one or two weeks.

“This was a slightly more complex issue, and I think he probably feared the worst because there was no one around him and it was one of those mechanisms where he knew it wasn’t quite right.

“There’s no doubt he’ll be disappointed because he was very keen to show his value and worth and Sunday was an opportunity to do that. But whatever the injury is, we’ll support him and we know he’s a top quality player and he still has a massive part to play.”

Lasse Sorensen has been studying fairytales after going back to school – now he is ready to write his own against West Ham.

Online lessons, assignments and a six-hour exam has made the Lincoln midfielder an expert.

The works of Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, which include the Emperor’s New Clothes, the Ugly Duckling and the Princess and the Pea, have been the focus.

Enrolling in the Voksenuddannelsescentre, adult education courses, Sorensen completed his Danish literature class in the summer, all part of the 23-year-old’s plan to earn the qualifications he missed growing up.

It is apt, playing for a club known for its recent romantic cup stories, as Lincoln target another against the Hammers in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

“The school takes it right back to analyse fairytales, novels and old scripts from 300 years ago,” Sorensen tells the PA news agency, ahead of the third-round tie at Sincil Bank.

“So all the very boring stuff that I don’t think anybody really finds interesting, I certainly didn’t! I’ve done every fairytale Hans Christian Andersen has written.

“In Denmark you need subjects like Danish, maths, history and physics before you can do anything in later life. So I took Danish, the equivalent to A-Levels in England, so if I want to go to Uni one day, I can.

“When you play senior football a lot of it is games, games, games. There’s so much football.

“So, sometimes the best thing to do is leave and get your head off it. I was thinking ‘what can I do which can be beneficial?’ I’m a thinker so if something happens I’ll sit and think about it a lot, good or bad.

“I’ll sit and think if I don’t have anything else do to, so why not go back to education?


“It can never be bad and the main thing was just to get my brain off football sometimes. Otherwise, on your CV, you’ve got a little bit to say you’ve played football for a few years and done nothing else.”

Leaving his home town, Vejen, and first team Esbjerg to join Stoke in 2016 Sorensen’s education took a back seat.

At just 15 he moved to England without any qualifications and, while there were English lessons at the Potters, football was the focus.

“Because I was Danish, I was just studying the language. I came to the club and then had to quickly learn as much as I could,” says the midfielder, who made eight appearances for Stoke before joining Lincoln in 2021.

“So on the Wednesday, which was normally when the English lads used to do the education, I spent my time learning English.

“The hardest bit of going back to school was just starting and getting your head around it.

“As much as I’ve enjoyed getting my mind off other things, it’s never the most exciting thing to sit down and do.

“But that was the good thing as well because you’ll say to yourself ‘you need to get it done otherwise you won’t get it.’

“It was disciplined, the hardest and the best thing was I had to be disciplined about it.”

His online studies culminated in the exam back in Vejen this summer with Sorensen’s graft paying off as he scored 10 – the equivalent to an A.

“I had to sit with 100 people in a big school hall with my laptop for six hours, you couldn’t speak either of course. It was a bit different to what I’ve done for the last eight years,” says the Denmark Under-20 international, who is also planning to start a financial advisor course.

He is now in a break from his studies as he prepares to start a maths course in a few months. Football remains the priority and the immediate one is another Premier League scalp.

Last season Lincoln reached the Carabao Cup last 16, where they lost to Southampton, as they added to the club’s cup pedigree after their impressive run to the FA Cup quarter-finals in 2017 while still in the National League.

A shoot-out win at Sheffield United last month earned the Imps a crack at the Europa Conference League holders and Sorensen knows Mark Kennedy’s side can write another chapter.

He said: “It’s always 11 v 11. Some might be the favourites and some the underdogs but if you want it more than the others, you are the ones who win it.

“They’re a really, really good team, they are quality players, but it’s not actually won yet.

“It’s been shown before, we beat Sheffield United in the last round so we’ve got a growing belief we could do it again.

“You’ve always got to believe in yourself to do the thing most people think you can’t.”

Duncan Ferguson has been appointed as Inverness manager.

The former Dundee United, Rangers, Newcastle and Everton striker has signed a three-year contract.

The job is Ferguson’s second in management after a brief spell at Forest Green last season. Rovers only won one of the 18 games the former Scotland forward took charge of and were relegated from Sky Bet League One.

The ex-Everton coach succeeds Billy Dodds, who lost his job months after leading Caley Thistle to the Scottish Cup final. Inverness are bottom of the cinch Championship with one point from five games.

Inverness said the appointment came after an “extensive recruitment process which involved some truly excellent candidates”.

A club statement added: “Duncan has worked alongside some of the most respected and outstanding football coaches in the world in recent seasons and we are proud to have him join ICTFC as our new manager.

“His professionalism, commitment and dynamic leadership skills shone through in our discussions, making him the standout candidate.

“Everyone at the club is looking forward to supporting Duncan as the hard work starts now and we hope every Caley Jag will now get right behind him and the team in what we are sure will be a thrilling journey.”

What the papers say

Jadon Sancho has been urged by players at Manchester United to end his dispute with manager Erik ten Hag, according to the Daily Mirror. The Times reports that the PFA has offered to help the England winger, 23, settle his differences with ten Hag.

Arsenal are gearing up to grab Ivan Toney, with the Daily Mirror reporting Brentford have valued the 27-year-old at £60 million ahead of a likely move for him in the January transfer window.

Jesse Lingard has ended his one-month training stint at West Ham to move to Saudi Arabia, with the Daily Mirror reporting club manager David Moyes insisting the club is comfortable with Lingard’s decision.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Chelsea secretly parted ways with Bruno, who joined Craven Cottage under former manager Graham Potter’s watch and was a first-team coach under Mauricio Pochettino.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Romelu Lukaku: Roma are keen to turn the 30-year-old striker’s loan from Chelsea into a permanent move.

Mohamed Salah: Negotiations between Liverpool, Saudi Arabia and the striker’s agent are becoming the subject of a Harvard study.

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