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Summary

  1. Europa League second qualifying round
  2. Newtown v FC Copenhagen (18:45 BST), Astra Giurgiu v Inverness CT (19:00)
  3. Aberdeen v Rijeka, Birkirkara v West Ham, Linfield v Spartak Trnava (all 19:45)
  4. GET INVOLVED #nightmaredebuts

Live Reporting

By Mike Henson and Elizabeth Hudson

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Sportsday Live

That's it for Sportsday Live for Thursday.

You can follow all of the night's football action

via the BBC Sport website and Sportsday will resume at 08:00 BST on Friday with more of the latest pre-season action, transfer gossip and plenty more.

Bees sign German striker

Football

Philipp Hofmann
Getty Images

Brentford have made their seventh signing of the summer by paying an undisclosed fee to Kaiserslautern

for Germany Under-21 striker Philipp Hofmann.

The 22-year-old has agreed a three-year contract at Griffin Park.

"Philipp is a target man, physically strong, and a good header of the ball," head coach Marinus Dijkhuizen

said.

Thompson loses arm after crash

Motorsport

Northern Ireland motorcyclist Stephen Thompson has lost an arm as a result of injuries sustained in an accident at the North West 200 road races in May.

The Crumlin rider, 39, who suffered a collapsed lung and bleeding on the brain as well as leg fractures in the crash, underwent surgery to have the arm amputated this week.

A statement released by Thompson's family explained that trauma suffered as a result of the crash had been causing major problems since the crash.

Hockaday criticises 'twilight zone'

Football

Former Leeds United boss Dave Hockaday has hit out at the coaching of youngsters in England after

revealing plans to set up a new Under-16s talent academy in Wiltshire.

"Twenty years ago I established the first football academy in this country, long before the academies we see in the pro game today. They followed my blueprint," the 57-year-old told BBC Radio Wiltshire.

"I believe massively in the talent in this country. We go wrong from the 15 to 19 age group, which I call the twilight zone, I want to fill that gap."

Noble hopeful of West Ham progression

Football

Mark Noble
PA

Midfielder Mark Noble is confident West Ham

can negotiate testing conditions in Malta to complete an aggregate victory over Birkirkara and progress to the third qualifying round of the Europa League this evening (19:45 BST).

The Hammers, 1-0 up from the first leg, will face temperatures of around 30C in Malta's National Stadium.

Noble said: "It will be a challenge with the heat and they made it difficult for us last week. But we got the win and now we've got to go and try to finish the job."

Bristol City fans plan ticket protest

Football

Bristol City fans
Getty Images

A section of Bristol City supporters are planning to miss their first game back in the Championship over what they call "astronomical" ticket prices.

Away supporters who travel to Sheffield Wednesday on the opening day will be charged up to £39 for a ticket.

"For some of us, it is a matter of principle," said a

statement from the Bristol City Supporters' Club & Trust.

"It is going to hurt to do this, but the Supporters' Club & Trust has decided not to attend this game."

McShane joins Tigers in swap deal

Super League

Paul McShane
Getty Images

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats hooker Paul McShane has

joined Castleford Tigers on a two-and-a-half-year contract.

Scott Moore has moved in the opposite direction as part of the deal, joining the Wildcast on loan for the rest of the season.

Kewell gets role at Watford

Football

Watford have appointed former Australia international Harry Kewell as the club's new Under-21 coach.

The 36-year-old retired last year after a career which included spells with the likes of Leeds United, Liverpool and Galatasaray, as well as 56 caps for the Australian national team - including appearances at the 2006 and 2010 World Cup.

Boro ambition swayed Downing

Football

Stewart Downing spent eight years at Boro earlier in his career
PA

Stewart Downing says Middlesbrough's ambition was key to his decision to drop into the Championship from Premier League side West Ham United.

The England international winger, 31, has returned to his hometown club for £5.5m on a four-year contract, after playing 37 top-flight games for the Hammers last season.

"This is a Premier League club,"

Downing told BBC Look North. "If this was a team fighting relegation or mid-table, it wouldn't be good for me to come back. These players were very unlucky not to be promoted last season.

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Dan McConnell: My very own as a 12 year old, 2 OGs, one from 30 yards, outside of the foot, top bin, 2nd deflection from corner.

John Spencer: Delivered daily mail instead of mirror on the 1st day of my paper round. They never let me forget that.

Dean Bedford: Made my England deaf cricket debut and got hit for 24 in my first over and didn't bowl again that day.

Everton duo on way back from injury

Football

Leighton Baines
Getty Images

Everton manager Roberto Martinez says defender Leighton Baines and midfielder Bryan Oviedo are both making good progress in their recoveries from injury.

Baines required ankle surgery after suffering a recurrence of an old problem in a game against Sunderland in May while Oviedo broke a metatarsal in training in April but both have been included in the squad for the club's pre-season trip to Scotland.

"They are raring to go as you can imagine," Martinez

told the club website. "They are two pristine professionals and they are a similar profile of player, so they have been helping each other with their work. They are full of energy and desperate to join the group."

Coming up

BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

Tonight on 5 Live Sports Extra from 19:30 BST, you can hear commentary from the Super League as Hull FC host Wigan.

Dave Woods will be joined by Huddersfield's Luke Robinson and as well as all the action, you can hear from Leeds prop Adam Cuthbertson on his hopes of playing for England in the end-of-season internationals against New Zealand.

Where's Sepp Blatter?

Football

Richard Conway

BBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent

"St Petersburg for World Cup draw. Tried to speak to Blatter but, er, robust hotel security stopped me. He's happy, that's as far as we got."

Woodward to return to Manchester United tour

Football

Simon Stone

BBC Sport

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is heading back to the United States.

It was always planned Woodward would return after leaving United's pre-season tour following last Friday's 1-0 win over Club America.

It will not go unnoticed that United's final two opponents on their 17-day trip are Barcelona and Paris St-Germain.

The Premier League club have been heavily linked with signing Pedro from the former and selling Angel Di Maria to the latter.

Clarke learns from World Cup omission

Football

Jess Clarke
Getty Images

Notts County Ladies forward

Jess Clarke says she has been spurred on by the disappointment of being left out of England's World Cup squad.

The 26-year-old has played 49 times for England but was left out of Mark Sampson's squad for the tournament in Canada earlier this summer.

"As an athlete you have to take those knocks," Clarke, who scored in Wednesday's 2-1 Continental Cup win over Birmingham City, told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"It is how you come back from it and learn from it. You just try be the best player you can be."

Australia beat England in Women's Ashes

Cricket

Australia celebrate
Getty Images

We said earlier that England were struggling against Australia in the second Women's Ashes one-day international in Bristol.

Well, the visitors have just

wrapped up victory by 63 runs to level the series at two points apiece.

The next game takes place at Worcester on Sunday.

McCarthy signs for Palace

Football

Alex McCarthy
Getty Images

Crystal Palace have signed Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper, Alex McCarthy, on a four year deal for an undisclosed fee.

The 25-year-old signed for the Hoops last summer from Reading and featured three times in the Premier League, as well as being called up to the England squad.

"I'm over the moon," he said. "When I first heard about Palace's interest I was excited because I really wanted to be back in the Premier League. Towards the end of last season I started hearing little inklings about a move and then gradually over the summer things progressed and now, here I am."

Bony aims to be fit for new season

Football

Wilfried Bony
Getty Images

Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony expects to be fit for the start of the new season after missing the pre-season tour of Australia and Vietnam due to illness.

The 26-year-old Ivory Coast international has now recovered but is staying in Manchester to continue working on his fitness alone at the City Football Academy.

"I was ill, now it is okay. I feel stronger than last week, so I am happy about that," he told the club's television channel. "I think everything is clear so I am just waiting to do my best for the season."

England face battle against Australia

Cricket

England are having a bit of a struggle against Australia in the second Women's Ashes one-day international in Bristol.

Chasing 260 to win, England are 180-7 after 39 overs.

Follow the latest via the BBC Sport website

Staying focused

Americas Cup

Sir Ben Ainslie is the focus of most people's attentions as the Americas Cup gets under way in Portsmouth...

Blue skies for the #ACWSPortsmouth Skippers pressa in the Fanzone. Camera lenses focused on @LandRoverBAR en route.

Blue skies for the #ACWSPortsmouth Skippers pressa in the Fanzone. Camera lenses focused on @LandRoverBAR en route.

Austin could stay with QPR - Ramsey

Football

Queens Park Rangers have not given up hope of retaining striker Charlie Austin, who scored 18 Premier League goals last season, despite their relegation to the Championship.

"At the moment, there has been nothing concrete. We've had offers that we've rejected, and we've had offers that Charlie himself has not been happy to take on,"

said manager Chris Ramsey.

"At the moment, he's a QPR player and he's working hard in training. I'm having the idea that he will be here into the season. If he is here during the season then he is going to be someone that we want to use."

Newcastle United, Leicester City, West Ham United and Crystal Palace have been linked with the 26-year-old striker.

Leicestershire batsman Boyce retires

Cricket

Matthew Boyce
Getty Images

Leicestershire's longest serving player Matthew Boyce has

retired with immediate effect to pursue a career in finance.

After making his debut in 2006, Boyce scored 4,882 runs at an average of 27.89 in 104 first-class matches.

The 29-year-old left-hander also played 67 List A games, scoring 10 half-centuries, and made 55 Twenty20 appearances.

"I'd like to thank the club, including the coaches, support staff, players and supporters, for making my career in cricket so enjoyable," Boyce said.

Driver tributes to Bianchi

Formula 1

This weekend is the Hungarian Grand Prix and the first F1 race since the death of Jules Bianchi, who suffered severe head injuries in a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

Various drivers will be paying tribute through messages on their race helmets.

Racing for Jules this weekend! #F1 #HungarianGP #CiaoJules #JB17

Racing for Jules this weekend! #F1 #HungarianGP #CiaoJules #JB17

Bardet wins stage 18...

Tour de France

...and some praise, I think, from Cannondale-Garmin manager Jonathan Vaughters

As much as I would have liked one of my guys to win, I'm a Bardet fan. What a little stud muffin.

Croatia docked one point

Euro 2016 qualifying

Croatia have had a point deducted from their Euro 2016 qualification campaign total for having a swastika apparently mown on the pitch ahead of

their 1-1 draw with Italy in Split.

Swastika on pitch
AP

They have also been ordered to play their next two home matches and banned from holding any of their remaining qualifiers at the Stadion Poljud in Split.

In addition, the Croatian Football Federation has been fined €100,000 (£71,000).

The punishment means Croatia's lead over Italy in Group H has been cut to a point.

Commonwealth medallists named on GB team

Boxing

Antony Fowler
Getty Images

Commonwealth Games medallists Antony Fowler, Qais Ashfaq and Joe Cordina have all been included on the Great Britain team for next month's European Boxing Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

They will be joined by light-flyweight Harvey Horn, flyweight Muhammad Ali, light-welterweight Pat McCormack and light-heavyweight Joshua Buatsi.

Boxers who finish in the top six in their weight class in Sofia will secure a place at the AIBA World Championships in Doha in September 2015, which is a qualifying event for next year's Olympic Games.

Bardet wins stage, Froome lead intact

Tour de France

Romain Bardet
AP

French rider Romain Bardet has held off the chasing pack to register a hugely popular home win in stage 18 of the Tour de France.

Yellow jersey Chris Froome finished alongside Nairo Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali and team-mate Geraint Thomas. The Briton is three minutes and 10 seconds clear of Quintana at the top of the overall standings.

Reaction on text and radio here.

Bolt set to star at Olympic Stadium

Athletics

Usain Bolt
Getty Images

Usain Bolt certainly likes to run fast at the Olympic Stadium in London.

The six-time Olympic champion of course won gold in the 100m and 200m at London 2012, but he also put in a stellar performance the last time the Anniversary Games were held at the venue two years ago.

You can

relive the moment the Jamaican won the 100m in 9.85 seconds to thrill the crowd.

Can he do the same on Friday night?

Pirlo magic wows the Big Apple

Football

Never mind 'Welcome to America, Andrea Pirlo'.

Try 'Welcome to Andrea Pirlo, America'.

The former Juventus midfielder

left some New York FC fans gobsmacked with a little bit of skills as he warmed up with his new team-mates stateside.

Charlton sign ex-Spurs midfielder Ceballos

Football

Cristian Ceballos
Empics

Charlton Athletic have signed Cristian Ceballos following his departure from Tottenham Hotspur earlier this summer.

Midfielder Ceballos, 22, did not feature for Spurs after joining from Barcelona in summer 2011.

The Spaniard, who spent the 2013-14 season on loan with Portuguese Primeira Liga side Arouca, has

signed a three-year deal with the Championship club.

Hernandez attracting interest

Football

Hull striker Abel Hernandez is raising interest among Serie A sides Bologna, Torino and Napoli according to

Forza Italia Football.

Hernandez, 24, signed for the Tigers for £10m last summer, but is thought to be available for £4.2m as Hull prepare for life in the Championship.

Marsh in fine form

Australia v Derbyshire

Shaun Marsh
Getty Images

Shaun Marsh, who is likely to replace Chris Rogers for the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston if the opener fails to recover from his dizzy spells, is closing in on a century in a tour match against Derbyshire.

He's 93 not out, with David Warner already retired out after hitting 101. Skipper Michael Clarke was out for just 16.

Follow radio commentary from Derby here

Myhill signs new deal

Football

Goalkeeper Boaz Myhill has signed a new two-year contract with West Brom.

The 32-year-old played 11 games last season in the absence of the injured Ben Foster, keeping four clean sheets

including in May's 1-0 win away to Manchester United.

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Winston: Yoshi Kawaguchi was Portsmouth's record signing, conceded after 26 seconds. 12 apps later & 25 goals conceded he left.

Yoshi Kawaguchi
Getty Images

Beqa Khitiri: Marcos Antonio, Nuremberg - gifted a goal to Stuttgart, almost gave another, substituted in 16 minutes. never played again.

Richard J Moir: Alex Baptiste who, 25 minutes into his debut for Boro in a pre-season friendly,

suffers a double leg fracture.

Stage 18 coming to the boil

Tour de France

A gutsy descent by Frenchman Romain Bardet has opened up a 30-second lead on his nearest challengers and raised the prospect of a home stage win.

Chris Froome is safe and secure so far in yellow, marking his nearest overall classification rivals tightly.

You can follow the last 15km or so on our live text and radio commentary.

Get ready for the Lacets de Montvernier: 18 hairpin bends, or shoelaces, that are about to animate the #TDF2015
Get ready for the Lacets de Montvernier: 18 hairpin bends, or shoelaces, that are about to animate the #TDF2015

Get ready for the Lacets de Montvernier: 18 hairpin bends, or shoelaces, that are about to animate the #TDF2015

Fee agreed for Shackell Derby move

Football

Jason Shackell
Getty Images

Derby County are set to re-sign former defender Jason Shackell after they agreed an undisclosed fee with Burnley.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche

told the club website: "It's fair to say Derby County made an offer that was so large he found he couldn't refuse it.

"Outside the Premier League there are still some clubs throwing enormous amounts of money at the situation and Derby are one of those clubs."

Stripped for action?

Football

After Barcelona unveiled a ground-breaking stripey home-kit number, Real Madrid will be wearing this grey-and-green shirt to play Manchester City in a friendly on Friday. 

We will wear our second kit against Manchester City for the first time this season! #RMTour2015

We will wear our second kit against Manchester City for the first time this season! #RMTour2015

Cross has X-ray on hand

Women's Ashes

Englandseamer Kate Cross has suffered a painful injury in England's second ODI againstAustralia.

You can follow all the action here

The ECB have confirmed @katecross16 has been for a precautionary x-ray on her hand after an awkward C&B chance earlier on. #WomensAshes

Bolt in London

Anniversary Games

Jamaica's double Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt will be running in the 100m heats on Friday from around 20:00 BST...

"London is one of the most memorable stadiums to run in for me. I really enjoyed running there during the Olympics." @usainbolt

"The race tomorrow will definitely determine whether I’ll race again before #Beijing2015. I have two 100s to make it right." @usainbolt

'Farah should not get stressed'

Anniversary Games

Usain Bolt has been talking about his friend Mo Farah ahead of the Diamond League meeting in London.

A BBC investigation has alleged that Alberto Salazar, who coaches double Olympic champion Farah, has practised doping techniques. There is no suggestion that the Briton has been involved.

Usain Bolt and Mo Farah
Getty Images

"Every day I hear he's in the papers, they're trying to tear him down and I think he works so hard to get where he is for somebody's mistake to be causing him problems," Jamaica's double Olympic sprint champions said.

"I just really hope that he doesn't take it too seriously, doesn't make it stress him out because it's part of the sport, people like to point the finger sometimes."