SPECULATION continues to mount over the future of Mario Balotelli after it emerged the controversial Manchester City striker is taking the club to a Premier League tribunal.
Balotelli is appealing against a club fine imposed for on-field indiscipline and a hearing will be held this week.
The Italian has taken the matter to the Premier League, as is his right, after failing in the internal appeals process. He will be represented by his own Italian lawyers.
Neither City nor the Premier League has commented on the issue but it has further fuelled rumours the 22-year-old could leave the Etihad Stadium during next month’s transfer window.
His national team manager, Cesare Prandelli, has even suggested a move back to his homeland could be beneficial for Balotelli, who has courted controversy on and off field since joining City in 2010.
City boss Roberto Mancini has twice dropped Balotelli in recent weeks for poor form and voiced fears the player’s talent could go to waste if his attitude does not improve. Prandelli, for whom Balotelli impressed at Euro 2012, told Rai Sport: “Mancini is absolutely right. Balotelli must listen to him, I agree with him.
“Everything depends on Mario, however. Coaches can try to stimulate and negotiate with you but everything must start from him.”
EVERTON must do without midfielder Marouane Fellaini for the next three matches after he was banned for his clash with Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross.
The FA brought a charge of violent conduct retrospectively after reviewing footage of Everton’s 1-1 draw with Stoke in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.
Fellaini and Everton accepted the charge, little surprise considering the player had already apologised and his manager David Moyes also condemned the incident.
The ban is the equivalent of what the 25-year-old would have received had referee Mark Halsey seen the incident at the Britannia Stadium and issued a red card.
Fellaini will now miss Everton’s Christmas fixtures against West Ham, Wigan and Chelsea and will not be available again until the trip to Newcastle on January 2.
A statement from the FA also referred to two other clashes between Fellaini and Shawcross at the Britannia Stadium but Halsey has confirmed he saw both and did not consider them violent conduct.
CAPTAIN Danny Shittu sees no reason why Millwall cannot gain automatic promotion from the npower Championship as they look to continue their good recent run at Brighton tonight.
Millwall’s recent form has been outstanding, with the Lions losing just one of their last 15 league games to take residence in sixth place in the current standings.
The former Blackpool defender believes a solid defensive base has been key in Millwall’s recent run, despite the absence of injured club skipper Paul Robinson through injury.
Shittu said: “There’s lots of competition in every position, even without Robbo. All compliments to the lads, we had to defend and contest.
“It feels good to be in the play-off places now and we definitely believe we can finish up there and get automatic promotion or a play-off place.”
HONDURAS midfielder Roger Espinoza will join Wigan in January after being granted permission to work in the UK,