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Allardyce fears winter injury crisis

first_img “It is a difficult scenario that we have to start dealing with. “I would hope by the time the Capital One Cup quarter-final against Tottenham comes around (in December) a lot of the players who are injured will be fit and we won’t sustain any more injuries. “At the moment it is a concern for us, especially when November and December comes and suspensions kick in. My focus to the medical staff is to get them fit and keep them fit otherwise it will be a long, hard winter for us.” The manager admits the pressure is beginning to build on his team when they run out at Upton Park. Four of their next five matches, however, are against teams in the bottom seven. Allardyce said: “We are one of those teams who are struggling with points on the board. All that matters at the end is winning matches. Last season at home was a fantastic ride for us. This season it has been bitterly disappointing. “The players are bound to feel extra pressure and feel more anxious but they have to remind themselves of the good performances they’ve given and continue in that vein from a confidence point of view. We have been severely punished for not taking chances. “We haven’t finished teams off when we had the opportunity. We were 2-1 up against Everton but didn’t finish it off for a victory. We should have had a 0-0 against Stoke but we didn’t.” West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has admitted his side could face a “long, hard winter” if the injury curse at Upton Park continues. Matthew Taylor is the latest in a long line of Hammers players to be sidelined after suffering a knock against Burnley in the Capital One victory on Tuesday. Mladen Petric is also out for a couple of weeks after aggravating an injury in an under-21 team run-out, while Ricardo Vaz Te dislocated a shoulder against Swansea on Sunday. Together with long-term injuries to players such as Andy Carroll and the fact that the re-signed Carlton Cole is not yet ready for a Premier League start, it has left West Ham’s squad depleted as they prepare to face Aston Villa in a vital home encounter on Saturday. Allardyce, whose side have been drawn against Tottenham in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals, said: “It leaves us with a problem in terms of numbers. We’re very short of first-team squad players available for Saturday. “But it’s about getting on with the job and using the players available and trying to bring the three points at home that we are looking for.” Cardiff are the only team West Ham have beaten at home in the Premier League so far this term, with that 2-0 win coming on the opening day. Stoke, Everton and Manchester City have departed with maximum points since. “Since Cardiff at the beginning of the season we have been hugely disappointed with our points total, not our performances. Continuing to lose at home is never acceptable. We have to stop it on Saturday,” Allardyce said. “We have to remind ourselves of how good we’ve been even when we haven’t got anything out of the game. We need to be more resilient out of possession. We have the best defensive record in the Premier League away from home but we are just not playing at home.” Allardyce believes it is more difficult than ever to win at home in the Premier League. He said: “Swansea have the same problem, only winning one in 10 at home, and Sunderland have had that problem. Tactically, teams are coming and setting up a defensive wall which is very difficult to break down and then you can leave open spaces to be exploited. Press Associationlast_img read more

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London is reportedly the UK gaming industry’s hotspot

first_imgFollowing the 14th BAFTA Games Awards that took place this April, British marketplace and video game retailer OnBuy took to the United Kingdom gaming industry with a magnifying glass and came out with some interesting findings.Using a map provided by UK Interactive Entertainment, otherwise known as UKIE, OnBuy looked at which regions in the UK were most active in terms of game development and publishing.UK games industry mapThe report cites the British Games Institute, explaining that the UK is among the top five video game producing countries in the world. Games such as Halo Wars 2, Hellblade, and Grand Theft Auto V were all made in Great Britain, and unsurprisingly, the company’s findings point to London as the hotspot for the majority of games companies.The capital of England houses 630 companies that deal with games developing and publishing, making up a total of 28% of the UK’s game companies – which sits at 2,255. Central London is the place in which 48% of those 630 companies operate from, with the likes of Rocksteady Studios and Slightly Mad Studios setting up shop there.Other regions such as the South East and the North West, that are home to 18% and 9% of the UK’s games companies respectively, are other places that the industry is working in. Scotland houses just 9% of the total number of gaming companies, Wales is at 3% with 49 companies, and Northern Ireland at 2% with 39.Contrary to the above results, London has not released the highest percentage of the 19,617 games that have been released from the UK. The South East region makes up 38% of all UK games, which is impressive compared to London’s 29%.What’s noticeable here is that there’s a distinct lack of developers and publishers in the UK working on, or having delivered, esports titles. As of late there’s been no short of tournaments announced for the UK, such as the Rocket League World Championship, the FACEIT CS:GO Major in September and ESL One Birmingham, but games themselves are seldom. There is a Hi-Rez Studios office down in Brighton, but the company (behind the likes of SMITE and Paladins) has its HQ over in Atlanta. Indeed, the USA is home to developers such as Riot Games (though they are now owned by Chinese company Tencent), Valve, Activision Blizzard, Psyonix, Daybreak Games and Super Evil Megacorp, making the States home to a good portion of the top tier esports titles.Head over to Finland and one will find the likes of Supercell and Critical Force. Asia sees the likes of Capcom, Bandai Namco and more of course. Our hope is that as esports grows, and garners more attention in the UK specifically with Majors being located here, and companies such as RFRSH, Riot Games, LVP, ESL UK, FACEIT and Gfinity pushing forward too, that more game developers with esports aspirations will find themselves in the UK.Esports Insider says: While it’s not a shock that the English capital London is at the forefront of the UK’s gaming industry, it’s pleasant to see that other regions have a decent piece of the pie. This means those who want to enter the industry don’t necessarily have to look down south to forge a career in gaming, making it more likely for some people to actually pursue such a thing.last_img read more

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Clippers new kings of the mountain in L.A. sports landscape

first_imgMeanwhile, the new Clippers coach is exceptionally ready to box out the Lakers on center stage to create more room for his club.These might seem small illustrations of the changing times on the Los Angeles hoops scene, but they represent significant landmarks in the evolution of the Lakers and Clippers.When has Kobe Bryant not been ready?And when have the Clippers ever been so secure in their own skin they’d rather attention be directed at them than the Lakers?The answer is right now.And from that jumping-off point, the Lakers and Clippers fade into two very different opening scenes this week.For the Lakers it’s about uncertainty and insecurity, the state of Bryant’s Achilles one of many questions facing a team for which the draft lottery isn’t out of the question. A coaching change wouldn’t be a shock as the end of an era looms ominously close.Can Mike D’Antoni survive this transition period or at least get his players to buy into his scheme deeply enough to give it a chance to succeed?Is Pau Gasol assured any life with the Lakers beyond this season, and will his partnership with new big man Chris Kaman create the sort of chemistry that eluded him with Dwight Howard last season?Can the late-model BMW that is Steve Nash steer clear of the garage long enough to impact D’Antoni’s offense?Are the young legs and shooting abilities of Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, Jordan Farmar and Xavier Henry sufficient enough to push the up-tempo style of play?And finally, while there is confidence Bryant is closing in on a return date from the Achilles’ tendon injury he suffered last April, what level of Bryant will the Lakers welcome back?Close to the same player who nearly single-handedly lifted them into the playoffs last year, or a significantly diminished one?Taken individually, there are strong cases to be made each question can fall in the favor of the Lakers.But collectively, it’s hard to imagine every one of them going their way.And with their margin of error so incredibly thin in a stacked Western Conference, it’s almost impossible to imagine them securing enough wins to avoid the lottery with anything less than 100 percent positive outcomes on their various questions.For a franchise so accustomed to certainty, that is too many if’s for my taste.In stark contrast the Clippers are poised to take bold step forward, the coup of bringing in Rivers as their coach potentially the last piece in a championship puzzle.A coach as skillful and respected as Rivers could have written his ticket any number of places. That he chose the Clippers is a telling sign of their emergence as an elite NBA team.And really, what is not to like?Chris Paul, an MVP candidate point guard, is locked up through 2018 and seems enamored with what Rivers is preaching.Blake Griffin always seemed skeptical of what former coach Vinny Del Negro asked of him, but Rivers is on another level and it’s hard to imagine Griffin not buying in. If so, and if he sincerely works to develop a mid-range, face-to-the-basket jumper, he’ll become a multi-faceted offensive threat rather than the one-dimensional player he’s been.The ripple effect is he will meld better with Paul in the running game and in the half court and that will make the duo more dangerous. Especially in the playoffs, when tempo slows down and late-game execution is so critical.The same goes for center DeAndre Jordan, who would be wise to buy into Rivers’ insistence on becoming a premier low-post defender and rebounder.Rivers has the cache to not only make these demands of Griffin and Jordan but also the savvy to present it to them in a way that makes it sensible for them to embrace it.Around them, Jared Dudley, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Darren Collison, Willie Green and Ryan Hollins form a dependable, versatile supporting cast.All the pieces are in place. So is the right coach.The Clippers are poised to take that next step.Meanwhile, the Lakers just face uncertainty.It’s a different time in Los Angeles, for [email protected] @DailyNewsVinny on Twitter While Kobe Bryant talked about scaling back this week, Doc Rivers was talking about covering up.The apprehension of pushing his surgically repaired Achilles tendon too far too soon motivated Bryant into being more patient with his comeback.For Rivers, sitting on top of a young, deep, talented Clippers team inspired him to insure Staples Center reflected loyalty to his team and his team only — at least on game days.Reaching higher than Dikembe Mutombo ever dreamed possible, Rivers swatted away all those Lakers championship banners and retired numbers hanging proudly at Staples Center. From now on, they’ll be covered up by murals of Clippers players during Clippers home games.#Hashtag: #MajorSwaggerFor Bryant it was about uncertainty.For Rivers it was about confidence.The Lakers’ star isn’t yet ready put the weight of an entire franchise back on his left leg.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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