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Football: Crewe players told to step up intensity by new boss

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra's new boss David Artell says his players need to step up their work rate if they're to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle. 

Crewe Alexandra badge
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

After their 2-1 loss at home to Luton Town in his first game in charge, Artell told BBC Radio Stoke he's looking for the team to stay in games for longer periods of time.

It's very difficult in four training sessions to get that intensity, it's a short to medium term thing. That's what we've got to do, we've got to be a bit brighter in the final third of the pitch and that's what our sessions will be based around this week."

David ArtellCrewe Alexandra manager

Funding shake-up risks Cheshire cut, says union

Government plans designed to address "unfair" and "inconsistent" funding in England's education system risk cuts in most schools, say teachers' unions.

Children with hands up in classroom

The Association of School and College Leaders, which represents secondary heads, examined official figures on the national funding formula proposals.  

These reveal that Cheshire East, among the lowest 10 funded areas, is projected to lose under the new formula, due to be implemented next year - down 2.1%. 

The government said it wanted to end a "postcode lottery" in school funding.

Newborn lambs given oxygen after Cheshire barn fire

Two newborn lambs and their mum were given oxygen by firefighters after a fire at a barn in Cheshire.

Lambs given oxygen
Cheshire FIre

Fire crews were called to Higher Wych Road in Malpas to reports of a small fire in the early hours of Sunday morning.

A ewe had just given birth to two lambs and was unable to move.

The ewe and the offspring were given oxygen using special animal masks to help them recover.

Widnes asylum hostel plans to be discussed

Councillors in Halton will meet later to discuss controversial plans to turn a former care home in Widnes into a hostel for up to 120 asylum seekers. 

Lilycross home building

The 60-bed Lilycross home on Wilmere Lane had its licence withdrawn in October after Care Quality Commission inspectors branded it inadequate. 

Critics, including the neighbouring St Helens and local parish councils, say it doesn't fit with local development plans. 

More than 700 people have signed petitions opposing the idea.

Weather: Dull and drizzly afternoon

A dull and cloudy afternoon with drizzly spells. Some mist in places. Highs of 10C.

BBC Weather Watcher pictures: Biddulph and Congleton

BBC Weather Watchers

It might have been a damp and drizzly morning but that hasn't stopped our BBC Weather Watchers uploading a range of photos, capturing the weather.

These two are from users Neil and Nora in Biddulph, Staffordshire and Dawn Treader in Congleton, Cheshire.

Neil and Nora
Dawn Treader

Ex-football coach remanded into custody after denying sex assault charges


The former Crewe Alexandra football coach Barry Bennell, who's pleaded not guilty to eight charges of sexual assault against a boy under 16, has been remanded into custody until 20 March.

Mr Bennell, 63, wearing a blue polo neck shirt and appearing via videolink from HMP Woodhill, in Milton Keynes, answered "not guilty" to all the charges as they were put to him.

Barry Bennell

The charges all relate to allegations of abuse between 1981 and 1986.

The ex-coach also worked at Manchester City, Stoke City and junior teams in north-west England and the Midlands

Owen Edwards, prosecuting, told the court the alleged victim "preserves his anonymity".

site of proposed new meeting hall for the Exclusive Brethren

Phil McCann

Cheshire Political Reporter, BBC News

A group of villagers say the construction of a new meeting hall for an evangelical Christian group could harm community integration.

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Flu outbreak shuts three hospital wards

Tim Wedgwood

BBC Local Live

Three wards have been closed at Crewe's Leighton Hospital due to a flu outbreak. 

Leighton Hospital sign

The Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the hospital, says it's taken the step to reduce the risk of it spreading after a "small number" of cases. 

The trust says people should not to go to the hospital if they have flu or have recently been in contact with somebody with it, unless it's an emergency.