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Gutierrez back in Newcastle squad

Jonas Gutierrez will be back in the Newcastle United squad this weekend for the first time since overcoming testicular cancer.

The Argentinean midfielder returned to action in an under-21 Premier League Cup win over West Ham in December. But he could finally make his first-team comeback when the Magpies welcome Aston Villa to St James' Park on Saturday.

Newcastle boss John Carver confirmed the 31-year-old could be on the bench for the Premier League clash.

Man United 'not as bad as people think', says Poyet

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has defended Manchester United's recent performances, saying they 'are not as bad as people think'.

Louis Van Gaal's side came under criticism after last weekend's 2-1 defeat to Swansea. But speaking ahead of Sunderland's trip to Old Trafford on Saturday, Poyet backed Man United to recover from their recent dip in form.

He said:

I think people are being a little bit harsh on Man United at the moment.

They are not as bad as people think because they are in a good position and if they get into the top four there's a few that are going to have to recognise that they've done better than what people expected.

– Gus Poyet, Sunderland AFC Head Coach

Sunderland won 1-0 at Old Trafford at the end of last season as the Black Cats avoided relegation from the Premier League. But Poyet expects a different encounter this time around. He added:

They were with Ryan Giggs as a caretaker at that moment in time. We were playing for our lives. They were just trying to change a little bit at the end of the season to have something to cheer about. It was a different game.

– Gus Poyet, Sunderland AFC Head Coach


Falcons sign Tonga international Takulua

Sonatane Takulua of Tonga (centre) in action during an International Friendly match at Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester Credit: Scott Heavey/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Newcastle Falcons have announced the signing of Tonga international Sonatane Takulua.

The 24-year-old scrum-half has agreed terms that will see him move to Kingston Park for the remainder of this season and for the 2015/16 campaign.

Takulua has five caps for Tonga and has spent the last two seasons playing for Northland in the ITM Cup in New Zealand.

Relishing the challenge of playing in the Aviva Premiership, Takulua said:

My dream of playing full time rugby is finally coming true. It's been a lot of hard work and sacrifice but I’m delighted to be at Newcastle.

– Sonatane Takulua, Newcastle Falcons

'Magic Weekend' for Sir Bobby's charity

New shirt for Widnes Vikings Credit: ITV News

Widnes Vikings, one of the rugby league teams which are playing in the Magic Weekend at St James' Park in May, have unveiled a new Sir Bobby Robson Foundation third kit - with black and white stripes - with all proceeds from shirt sales coming to the charity. The club will also play in the kit during the Magic Weekend.

The 'Magic Weekend' is coming Credit: ITV News

St James’ Park in Newcastle will host a full round of First Utility Super League fixtures in May, when Rugby League’s unique six-match extravaganza takes place in the North East for the first time. The event will see the sport’s elite players from the 12 Super League clubs compete in six matches – three on Saturday May 30th and three on Sunday May 31st – at the home of Newcastle United.

Rugby League fans from around the country are expected to converge in their thousands to watch the action.


  1. National

325 job losses at Wonga due to restructuring

325 job losses at Wonga due to restructuring Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Wonga has announced restructuring which expected to lead to the loss of 325 jobs.

The payday lender currently employs around 950 people and said the losses come as it aims to, "refocus on its consumer businesses."

Wonga can no longer sustain its high cost base which must be significantly reduced to reflect our evolving business and market. Regrettably, this means we’ve had to take tough but necessary decisions about the size of our workforce. We appreciate how difficult this period will be for all of our colleagues and we’ll support them throughout the consultation process.

– Andy Haste, Chairman, Wonga

The move is hoped to save the company £25 million over the next two years. Wonga said costs at the company tripled between 2012-2014.

There will now be a 30 day consultation period for those who are at risk of losing their jobs.

Wearside club 'will not contact Ched Evans' after petition

Former Sheffield United striker Ched Evans was convicted of rape Credit: PA

The secretary of a non-league football club on Wearside has told ITV his club will not contact the convicted rapist Ched Evans, after nearly 20,000 people signed a petition against it.

It was reported that Ashbrooke Belford House FC in Sunderland wanted to offer Ched Evans a position, saying he deserved a second chance.

The former Sheffield United striker was released from prison last year after serving half his five-year sentence for rape.

A petition set up by Jean Hatchet, from London, asked the non-league side: "Please show rape survivors you care about them more than club profit and league success." It was signed by more than 19,400 people in two days.

The club secretary of Ashbrooke Belford House FC, Adrian Forster, told ITV: "We have had no contact with Ched Evans and will not be contacting him."

The side plays in the Wearside Football League, in the twelfth tier of English football, seven leagues below the Football League.

Previous clubs that expressed an interest in signing Ched Evans included Oldham Athletic and Hartlepool United.

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