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Howe success 'no surprise' to Boro boss

Middlesbrough Head Coach Aitor Karanka has praised Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe and is 'not surprised' at how well the Cherries are doing under his management.

Despite only being promoted to the Championship in 2013, Bournemouth are third in the table and challenging for promotion to the Premier League.

Second-placed Middlesbrough, who are currently two points ahead of Bournemouth, travel to the Goldsands Stadium this weekend.

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Advocaat says players need to believe in themselves

New Sunderland Head Coach Dick Advocaat says his players need to believe in themselves if the club is to avoid relegation.

The Dutchman replaced Gus Poyet this week and met the media for the first time this morning (Friday, March 20).

Sunderland are just one point above the premier league relegation zone.

Advocaat thinks his first game in charge, at West Ham tomorrow, will set the tone.

Boro players picked for Under-21s squad

Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Boro's Ben Gibson and Patrick Bamford are in the Under-21s squad to face games against Czech Republic and Germany.

Boss Gareth Southgate named the 24-man team today (March 19).

The Three Lions leave for Prague on Friday March 27 to face the Euro Championship hosts. They play Germany at home on Monday March 30.

Countdown to Tour de Yorkshire

It is 45 days until The Tour de Yorkshire, the cycling event organised after the huge success of last year's Grand Depart.

It has also been confirmation that some big names will be taking part.

They include Sir Bradley Wiggins, Marcel Kittel and, the women's race, Paralmpic champion Dame Sarah Storey.

Jonny Blair was at the official announcement in Scarborough.

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Adam Johnson returns to training with Sunderland

Sunderland winger Adam Johnson has returned to training after the club lifted his suspension.

The 27-year-old midfielder was suspended by the Black Cats earlier this month following his arrest on suspicion of sexual activity with a girl under 16.

He will now be free to resume while the police investigation continues.

The club has issued the following statement:

The club has discussed the current position in detail with both the PFA (Professional Footballers' Association) and Adam's representatives.

In line with those discussions we recognise that the player is entitled to re-commence his duties with the club while the legal process continues. He will therefore return to training.

The club's own investigation cannot continue until the conclusion of the legal process. Sunderland AFC will make no further comment on the matter due to the ongoing police investigation.

– Sunderland AFC

Durham Constabulary have also commented on Sunderland's decision:

Sunderland AFC informed us this morning of their decision, which of course is a matter entirely for the club. The police investigation remains very much live and ongoing and a man remains on bail while enquiries continue.

“We would once again urge those posting on social media to be aware of the effects their comments can have. We accept rumour and speculation may be inevitable, but many of the comments have been distressing to the complainant, her family and people connected with the investigation."

– Durham Constabulary

Johnson has had his police bail extended until April 23rd.

Northumberland cricketer selected by England

Durham fast bowler Mark Wood has been selected by England for the upcoming Test series with West Indies.

The Ashington born cricketer impressed during the recent England Lions tour to South Africa and has now been called up to the senior squad for the first time in his career.

A graduate from Durham's hugely successful academy, the 25-year-old made his first class debut in 2011.

Along with the rest of the Durham squad, Wood is currently in Dubai preparing for the new season.

The three-match series between England and West Indies gets underway on the 13th of April in Antigua, with the first of two warm-up matches scheduled to take place seven days earlier.

"I am delighted. Especially when I haven’t played that many games, it is good that people have seen something in me."

“The Lions tour was fantastic and couldn’t have gone any better for me.

“I managed to put a run of games together and put in the performances and that has obviously stood me in good stead."

– Mark Wood

Tour of Britain route announced

World class cycling is returning to the region with two stages of the 2015 Tour of Britain taking place in parts of Northumberland.

The fourth stage of the eight day race will take place in the county.

It will start from Wooler to Alnwick and then head down the coastline to end that day's race in Blyth.

Team Wiggins and Team Cavendish have been confirmed for the starting line up.

It is hoped the event will provide a big boost to tourism in the county.

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