Premier League champions Manchester City should not risk injury doubt Kevin De Bruyne against leaders Liverpool on Thursday, according to captain Vincent Kompany.The Belgium international missed the 3-1 defeat to Southampton due to a muscle problem, and has been absent for swathes of the campaign due to separate knee injuries.Liverpool’s trip to the Etihad Stadium starts a run of seven games over 26 days for City and Kompany feels Pep Guardiola would be best off looking beyond the summit meeting this week. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? “We all know Kevin’s strengths and his ability to change a game,” he told Sky Sports.”I really don’t know what physical state he is in.”He seems to be alright but in a way I feel this season still has so much to offer.”If I had to decide myself, what I would prefer is for Kevin to be fit for the rest of the season.”Everybody is focused on Liverpool but there is much more we’ll need him for.”De Bruyne faces a fitness test before his availability is determined for the visit of the Reds.The former Chelsea and Wolfsburg star trained on Tuesday and underwent further checks on Wednesday and Guardiola confirmed that his condition is improving.Jurgen Klopp is braced for De Bruyne to return but admitted that it would be a major boost to his side if the playmaker missed out.”We can’t specially prepare for Kevin De Bruyne,” the German coach added.”Missing a player like Kevin De Bruyne is a massive blow, unbelievable.”He played only from time to time and he was unbelievably influential immediately.”He scored fantastic goals, he’s just a world class player.”I expected that he’s playing, I’m happy that he’s not seriously injured again, I said before that I was really happy when he was back.”They have a lot of options, obviously, if he would play that would give them a massive boost, yes.” Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
TORONTO — BlackBerry shares closed below $10 for the first time since last year on Wednesday, a day after the smartphone maker’s chief executive encouraged investors to remain patient while the company navigates its recovery plan.[np_storybar title=”BlackBerry hunts for fresh partnerships to boost market share as devotees dwindle” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2013/07/10/blackberry-stock-partnerships/?__lsa=ea71-23f3″%5D [/np_storybar]The Waterloo, Ont.-based company’s stock ended the session down nearly four per cent, or 40 cents, to $9.80 at the Toronto Stock Exchange.The stock last closed below $10 on Nov. 20 and reached a 52-week high of $17.80 in January, around the time that its new smartphones were unveiled.BlackBerry has faced a heightened level of scrutiny since it posted quarterly results last month that fell short of analysts’ largely optimistic expectations.A growing sentiment between analysts has focused on whether BlackBerry will be able to successfully recover from its past blunders any time soon, particularly because even some of the industry’s most popular smartphone developers are running into headwinds. Both Samsung and HTC recently posted quarterly sales reports that fell short of expectations.While Heins has hinted at products that could hit stores before the end of this year, the company hasn’t announced anything specific. It’s widely expected that the company will unveil a phablet — a smaller-sized tablet device — designed to fill the void left by its decision to no longer update the PlayBook.“They are wanting to launch products at a measured pace, but time is of the essence and we believe the company would be better served with shorter product cycles,” said Bill Kreher, a technology analyst with financial services firm Edward Jones in an interview.“In the smartphone category today you need to be front-of-mind with consumers, which requires consistent rollouts to keep you relevant.”Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette said the high-end smartphone market is facing a point of “general saturation” that could weigh on BlackBerry’s attempt to gain a stronger position.The launch of the lower-priced BlackBerry Q5 smartphone in the UK has fallen short of expectations with sales of roughly 5,000 devices, according to Faucette’s checks with retailers.The numbers are not official and BlackBerry does not release specific sales figures for its devices.Faucette also said U.K. retailer Phones 4U has sent back their stock of Blackberry Z10 phones from “as many as a third” of its locations and doesn’t plan to stock it any longer.“We believe BlackBerry is at risk of similar behaviour from other retailers and in other regions in the coming quarters, which we believe would impede the company’s ability to regain scale,” he said in a note, with an underperform rating on the company.“Checks indicate continued deterioration of BlackBerry’s business. We see downside to $6 per share and remain sellers.”Emails to UK.. representatives of Phones 4U were not answered on Wednesday and a BlackBerry spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter.On Tuesday, Heins outlined BlackBerry’s strategy to become profitable once again at the company’s annual meeting.The three-stage plan included pushing ahead with new products yet to be unveiled, focusing more on corporate customers, and opening the BlackBerry Messenger service to competing devices like Apple’s iPhone and smartphones on the Android operating system later this summer.From there, Heins said the company aims to return to profitability, which he called the third stage of the plan, but he stopped short of predicting when that would happen.Sales of BlackBerry’s new smartphones in the United States have been considered underwhelming by analysts, and shareholders expressed their concerns on Tuesday about the company’s position in the highly-competitive U.S. market at the annual meeting.Heins said he is aware that investors expect “better results and faster progress from us.”Last month, BlackBerry parted ways with Richard Piasentin, who was responsible for the management of its sales in the United States. The company is also working to save further costs throughout its operations.The Canadian Press
Ohio State cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs fires up the team prior to fall camp on Aug. 5. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor.Ohio State defensive back coach Kerry Coombs is taking a job with the Tennessee Titans, joining former Buckeye assistant and now-Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, according to a report Wednesday from Yahoo’s Pete Thamel. The news of Coombs departure is a big blow to Ohio State, which is always in danger of losing top assistants to college head-coaching and NFL jobs but had so far this offseason been able to avoid a high-profile departure. After joining Urban Meyer’s staff in 2012, Coombs has helped turn the Buckeye secondary into one of the nation’s most respected units. In the last four years, Coombs has coached four cornerbacks who were taken in the first round of the NFL draft. Denzel Ward, who started at corner for the Buckeyes in 2017, also is projected to be a first-round pick in this year’s draft. Every one of Coombs’ starting cornerbacks has reached the NFL, according to his bio on Ohio State’s website.Coombs also was the Buckeyes’ special teams coordinator and assistant defensive coordinator.Coombs’ decision to join Vrabel — who played for Ohio State from 1993-96 — in Tennessee follows news earlier this week that fellow Buckeye assistant Ryan Day was offered a spot on the Titans’ staff. Day turned down the offer, and on Tuesday, he was promoted from co-offensive coordinator to offensive coordinator, in addition to his role as quarterbacks coach. Vrabel was an assistant in Columbus from 2011 to 2013, so he was on staff when Coombs was brought aboard in 2012. Ohio State will surely miss Coombs’ recruiting ability. In the 2017 recruiting class alone, Coombs helped secure commitments from two five-star secondary prospects in Shaun Wade and Jeffrey Okudah, and a four-star in Kendall Sheffield, who had been a five-star talent before one season at junior college.Rivals.com awarded Coombs its Recruiter of the Year award in 2017. Prior to joining Ohio State, Coombs coached defensive backs and special teams at the University of Cincinnati for five seasons. Before that, he was a widely respected high school coach in the Cincinnati area.An Ohio State spokesman declined to comment on Thamel’s report.