A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Benitez defends Torres and says fans will love him again

Rafael Benitez has launched a resolute defence of Fernando Torres after the striker was booed off the pitch during Chelsea’s defeat against Swansea City, insisting the supporters “will love him again” when his form improves.

Torres was replaced by Demba Ba after 81 minutes on Wednesday night and came under fire from a large section of the home fans at Stamford Bridge. However, Chelsea’s interim manager claimed the Spaniard’s poor performance was due to a stomach bug that he picked up more than a week ago.

Benitez said that because Ba had sustained a hamstring injury in training, Torres was the right choice to start the first leg of the League Cup semi-final, and praised him for playing through severe pain.

“We only had Fernando Torres so he was doing a massive effort for the team. He was criticised but was working so hard in difficult circumstances,” Benitez said. “The other day he was sick on the bench, that was why he didn’t play at Southampton. It was explained to me as a bug, a virus.

“The fans loved Torres when he was scoring, they will love him again when he starts scoring goals again.”

Guardian Service

Coloccini wants to leave Newcastle

Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini has told the club he wants to leave in January for personal reasons.

While the 30-year-old has not handed in a formal transfer request, a crisis in his personal life means he no longer feels he can stay on Tyneside.

Further talks are planned in the coming days, with Newcastle set to do all they can to persuade the Argentina international to change his mind.

But club officials fear Coloccini has set his heart on a return to Argentina.

Originally from Cordoba in Argentina, Coloccini joined Newcastle from Deportivo in 2008 and signed a new four-year contract with the St James' Park club last year.

Kelly signs for Reading in two-and-a-half year deal

Reading have completed the signing of right back Stephen Kelly from Fulham. The 29-year-old Republic of Ireland international has joined Reading on a two-and-a-half year contract.

The 29-year-old Dubliner was a key player for Fulham last season but has lost his starting berth to Sascha Riether this term and leaves the west Londoners in search of first-team football.

The move is still subject to final ratification of all paperwork from the football authorities and Kelly will not be involved in Reading’s match against West Brom this afternoon.

“I’m delighted to have Stephen here,” manager Brian McDermott said.

However, McDermott ruled out a move for Ireland striker Kevin Doyle, who enjoyed a memorable spell with the club before his move to Wolves.

Hicks and Gillett agree settlement

The last remnants of the former Liverpool regime of Tom Hicks and George Gillett were finally expunged after they agreed a settlement to drop their lawsuits over the sale of the club in 2010.

Deals have been struck with Royal Bank of Scotland, Martin Broughton, Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre – chairman, managing director and commercial director at the time – to bring an end to their legal challenge.

The Americans, unhappy with the way the sale was conducted in October 2010, made a number of claims and allegations against RBS and the individuals, which were all denied, which resulted in court proceedings.

However, all parties have come to a confidential agreement.

Sligo manager Baraclough takes personality-of-year award

After leading Sligo Rovers to the league title at the very first attempt, Ian Baraclough has been named as the Soccer Writers' Association of Ireland Personality of the year for 2012.

The 42 year-old former QPR and Notts County defender, who finished up his playing career at Scunthorpe before managing the club, took over at Showgrounds less than a week before the season started but showed a remarkable ability to get the most out of the side.

The team clinched the title - the club's first for 35 years - with a couple of games to spare and Baraclough beat off competition from two of his fellow managers - Declan Devine and Mick Cooke - as well as three of his own players - Jason McGuinness, Danny Ventre and Mark Quigley - to win the Airtricty-sponsored award.


Taylor determined to lay foundations at Limerick

Stuart Taylor will take charge of training at Limerick for the first time this morning with the Scot determined to lay the foundations over the coming weeks for Premier Division survival this season and success over the years ahead.

“We have 10 players signed at the moment with another couple very close to being done but I’m talking to quite a few more,” says the former Drogheda United player, who was strongly recommended for the post by Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert.

“I want to see the young lads come through, the experienced lads we have do well and new signings coming in to bring the club to the next level,” added the 38-year-old.

Taylor takes over at Limerick after a six-month spell coaching with Al-Khor in Qatar and a period before that as assistant manager at Hamilton Academical in Scotland.


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