Reversal of fortunes for Laws

Sacked by Championship strugglers Sheffield Wednesday last month, the former Burnley defender takes over at Turf Moor from Owen Coyle.

Burnley have named former Sheffield Wednesday head coach Brian Laws as their new manager. The 48-year-old, a former Burnley defender, takes over at Turf Moor from Owen Coyle, who left the club for Premier League and local rivals Bolton last week. The appointment represents a remarkable transformation of fortunes for Laws, who was sacked by Championship strugglers Wednesday just last month with the team in the relegation zone of England's second tier.

Laws has signed a two-and-a-half year contract and will be joined there by his former Wednesday assistant Russ Wilcox. Veteran captain Graham Alexander, 38, has also been handed a new role as a player-coach. A club statement read: "We believe Brian will deliver a continuity of the culture to which Burnley fans and staff have become accustomed. As a former Burnley defender, he is especially familiar with the club, the traditions we have and the passion we all share."

Burnley have acted quickly following the departure of Coyle and most of his backroom staff and believe they have found the right man despite the poor form of Wednesday earlier this season that led to his sacking. In their first Premier League campaign, Burnley are just two points above the botton three, but Laws is confident he can keep the club in the top flight. He told the club's website: "I am sure there are a lot of Burnley fans asking, 'Why Brian Laws?'

"Well let me tell you, I have followed Burnley since I was 16 years old, when I joined the club. I have had an affinity with this club for a long time and I am really honoured to have the privilege of managing Burnley Football Club." The Argentina international Maxi Rodriguez was close to completing his £1.5million (Dh8.85m) move to Liverpool last night. Rodriguez was scheduled to have a medical before signing an 18-month contract.

Rodriguez, 29, still has to agree his pay-off from Atletico Madrid, but could figure in the squad that will travel to Stoke on Saturday. The Arsenal reserve-team manager Neil Banfield labelled Sol Campbell a "first-class professional" after the former England defender played 45 minutes for the second string on Tuesday night. Campbell, 35, who last played for the Gunners in the Champions League final defeat in 2006, helped the reserves to a 4-2 win at West Ham.

Campbell, who left Highbury for Portsmouth in the summer of 2006, has been training with Arsenal since quitting Notts County after just one appearance. The veteran centre-back could be in the Arsenal squad for the Premier League trip to Bolton on Sunday, but first needs to sort out his contract at the Emirates Stadium. Campbell said: "There are still a few technicalities to iron out, but I have signed for Arsenal until the end of the season, and it's fantastic, great, marvellous. The old enthusiasm is back."

Portsmouth remain confident the Premier League will soon lift their transfer embargo and provide a much-needed £7m windfall in television revenue. Officials from the club have met with league counterparts to give details of their position as they challenge a winding-up petition served on them by the English tax authorities in December and continue to battle debts to other clubs. The Premier League are scheduled to pay all clubs their latest portion of broadcasting income, around £7m, but were considering directing Portsmouth's share on to creditor clubs if outstanding monies for previous transfer deals were not paid.

Gary Caldwell has joined Wigan from Celtic for an undisclosed fee. The 27-year-old Scotland international has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal. * With agencies

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