Minnesota Timberwolves general manager Flip Saunder has confirmed that the team is preparing to compile a shortlist of candidates to replace head coach Rick Adelman.

The 67-year-old announced his retirement earlier this week following a 23-season coaching career in the NBA, including the last three with the Timberwolves.

Saunders, who was the team’s coach between 1995 and 2005, told ESPN: “Ideally right now we’re going to do a search. The search isn’t just coming to talk to me. We’ll sit down and put together a list, see the interest those people have and we’ll make decisions based on that.

“I do know anytime you can be in the NBA and have the opportunity to coach at this level, a lot of people would jump at that opportunity.

“I believe I have a pretty broad knowledge of a lot of those coaches. Because of that I’m looking forward to it, because I do have a vision of what I believe that a team needs to be to be successful, and it’s a matter of having someone who shares that vision.”

Saunders is the only coach to have led the Timberwolves to the playoffs.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has played down concerns that his ankle injury could disrupt the team’s preparations for the 2014 season.

Manning underwent successful surgery on his left ankle earlier this month, although question marks were raised over whether he could have had the procedure sooner having picked up the problem in the final game of the season.

However, the 33-year-old believes that he chose the right time to have the surgery after injections failed to adequately solve the problem, and he is now focused on returning to fitness and learning the team’s playbook.

“I think I’m safe to say I’ll be 100% by the start of training camp. I would hope so. My number one concern is getting back healthy. Number two is learning the playbook,” Manning told reporters.

“It’s a little different from 10 years ago when I was a rookie in the NFL. I have an understanding of the game of football better. A lot of it is the same thing said differently, and there are a lot of differences, but I think it’ll be okay.

“[Surgery] ended up being a smart idea, because when they went in there with the scope, they found some things that needed to be cleaned out. Once the shot wore off, we didn’t know how it was going to feel. So do you have the procedure then? Do you play injured? This was the right decision at the right time.”

Manning has been with the Giants since being picked first overall in the 2004 Draft, going on to become their all-time leader in passing touchdowns and passing yards.

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman believes that none of the quarterbacks available in the 2014 NFL Draft is a “sure thing”.

The Vikings have been touted to select a signal caller with the eighth overall pick due to their struggles on offense last season.

However, Spielman has admitted that he has doubts over the trio of Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater, who are considered the best players at the position entering the Draft.

“That’s a big reason why we made it a high priority to sign Matt Cassel back. Every one of these quarterbacks nothing is a sure thing. There’s no Andrew Luck, no Peyton Manning,” Spielman told TheMMQB.com.

“It is such a mixed bag with each player—every one of them has positives, every one of them has negatives. And if that’s the way you end up feelings, why don’t you just wait till later in the draft, and take someone with the first pick you’re sure will help you right now? I agree with that coach, whoever it is. It is torturous this year.”

The Vikings finished with a 5-10-1 record in the 2014 season.

Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has blamed defensive frailties for their 102-93 defeat to the Washington Wizards on Sunday night.

The Bulls went 1-0 down in the playoff series, as Nene, Trevor Ariza and John Wall all posted productive double-figure scores to help lead the Wizards to victory.

“Our defense wasn’t very good; 102 points, 48% (shooting), outrebounded. It’s hard to win like that,” Thibodeau told reporters after the encounter.

The two sides will now face each other again on Tuesday for Game Two of the postseason.

There were many neutrals that wanted these two sides to be kept apart during the recent Champions League semi-final draw, believing that it would make for the most entertaining final in Lisbon.

Yet Real Madrid and holders Bayern Munich, who have won the competition 14 times between them, will play out the first leg of their final four clash at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

Both are on a history-making quest, with Los Blancos determined to lift the famous trophy for a 10th time, while Bayern are bidding to be the first team to retain the title since the Champions League’s inception in 1992. If that wasn’t enough, Pep Guardiola, a legend with Real’s bitter rivals Barcelona, is the German club’s head coach.

During his four-year tenure in charge of the Catalans, Guardiola won nine of his 15 encounters with Real, losing just twice.

He will be without Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara and Xherdan Shaqiri for the trip, but aside from that, he has a full complement of players to select from.

Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez missed the 3-1 victory over Manchester United last time out through suspension, but both are available and have been tipped to be included in the starting lineup. As a result, Philipp Lahm may revert to right-back, with Thomas Muller dropping down to the bench.

The big news for hosting Madrid is that their Portuguese talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, a scorer of 49 goals from his 39 outings for club and country this term, is fit to feature following a recent hamstring problem.

His return could come at the expense of Isco, with Angel Di Maria moving into a deeper role as Ronaldo moves into a three-pronged attack alongside Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema. Meanwhile, if Marcelo is unable to recover from a muscular injury, Fabio Coentrao will deputise at left-back.

These two sides have met in the Spanish capital on 10 occasions, with Munich winning just twice, the last of which came back in 2001 when Brazilian striker Giovane Elber scored the only goal of the game.

Recent form

Real: WWWLWW

Bayern: DLWLWW

Possible starting lineups

Real: Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Alonso, Modric; Di Maria, Bale, Ronaldo; Benzema

Bayern: Neuer; Lahm, Dante, Boateng, Alaba; Martinez, Schweinsteiger; Kroos, Robben, Ribery; Mandzukic

Sports Mole says: 1-1

Leicester City will wrap up the Championship title if they beat Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Nigel Pearson‘s side, who have already secured promotion this season, lead second-placed Burnley by seven points with three games remaining.

The Foxes picked up their first victory in three outings when they beat 10-man Queens Park Rangers 1-0 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

After struggling in the bottom half of the table for the majority of the season, Bolton have improved in recent weeks, going their last six games unbeaten.

Dougie Freedman‘s side remain 14th in the standings after they played out a goalless draw with Charlton Athletic on Friday.

Leicester boss Pearson has no fresh injury concerns and could name the same side that beat QPR, with David Nugent continuing to lead the line. Lloyd Dyer and Chris Wood are in contention for recalls.

Freedman could be tempted to make changes to his side, with Ryan Hall in line to start at the expense of Chung-Yong Lee.

Leicester emerged 5-3 victors when the sides met at the King Power Stadium at the end of December.

Recent form

Bolton: WDWWWD

Leicester: WDWLDW

Possible starting lineups

Bolton: Bogdan; Hutton, Ream, Mills, Wheater; Spearing, Danns, Trotter, Hall; Beckford, Jutkiewicz

Leicester: Schmeichel; De Laet, Morgan, Wasilewski, Schlupp; Hammond, Drinkwater, King, Dyer, Knockaert; Nugent

Sports Mole says: 1-2

Map in hand, Radio 2 on loud, our first stop was the Jolly Sailor pub in
Bursledon. Situated right on the water, we had lunch overlooking the Hamble
Estuary, watching the yachts and taking in the surroundings.

Back on the road, we cruised south heading for the picturesque Hollands
Wood Campsite in New Forest. This family-friendly campsite, set in 22
hectares of oak woodland, where ponies roamed freely, was the perfect pitch
for every type of camper. The site didn’t have electricity, but it did have
hot showers and laundry facilities and easy access to the forest’s walking
and cycle paths – and the nearby village of Brockenhurst (and the nearest
pub).

When it came to cooking, even with a fully-equipped kitchen on board, we
wimped out – we were terrified of setting the curtains on fire – and headed
to the bars and restaurants of Brockenhurst (if you like antiques and retro
goods, make a beeline for Pineapple Retro).

We had been warned that nights could be cold in the camper van, but thought
that in the middle of September sleeping bags and a blanket would suffice.
Next time we’ll be taking onesies.

The following day, after some wicked doughnuts from the Bakery, we were back
on the road and finally felt we had mastered the driving as we headed south
on the A35 through Poole towards Bournemouth. We were taking Buttercup to
the seaside and even contemplated some surfing. Just to fit the image.

From here we headed farther along the Dorset coast, stopping off in Corfe,
with its medieval castle, its dramatic ruins situated on the hill. After a
tour of the battlements and some Purbeck ice creams we headed to our next
campsite; down in the Isle of Purbeck and Downshay Farm. A working farm
situated on the Purbeck hills, with large fields and views of the castle,
campers are welcome to turn up and pitch on site with no
reservation required.

It was so easy to turn up with Buttercup, we just needed flat ground, and it
made the trip so flexible. Still a little wary on the cooking front we
headed for the Scott Arms. The food and locally brewed beer were excellent
and the views from the garden spectacular.

The next morning we were up early, packed and headed to Swanage. The Jurassic
Coast was breathtaking and we walked along the coastal path to the
lighthouse before getting back into Buttercup for the drive to Lyndhurst and
then the journey back home.

We never did make much use of the facilities on board and probably weren’t
adventurous enough. We got about as far as making tea on the stove, and
plugging in the cable for electricity, but we grew very attached to
Buttercup during our short excursion and would definitely go away with her
again.

Hiring a campervan

Buttercup can be hired from Arun Valley Campers at North Stoke Farm, Amberley,
West Sussex (01798 839106; arunvalleycampers.co.uk)
from £275 for a weekend and £495 for a week. Like the other campers for
hire, Buttercup comes fully equipped with an oven (gas), fridge, sink, table
and chairs, sleeping bags and pillows on request as well as tea and coffee.
She sleeps four comfortably.

Camping there

Hollands Wood Campsite (Lyndhurst Road, Brockenhurst, Hampshire; 01590 622967; campingintheforest.co.uk;
from £16.50 for a standard pitch). Set in 22 acres of woodland, it caters
for all levels of campers and has three shower and lavatory blocks, laundry
facilities and even a dog shower. No electric hookup facilities.

Downshay Farm (Haycrafts Lane, Swanage, Dorset; 01929 480216;
downshayfarm.co.uk); open from May 23 to June 2 and July 11 to August 31;
prices from £5 per person and £3 for the camper van, or £4 for a large tent.
A family-run, working farm, it is ideally situated in the heart of the Isle
of Purbeck. This site has one huge field for tents and small campervans.
Facilities include, shower and lavatory blocks, freezers for ice packs, a
washing-up area and it has electric hookup facilities). In peak season they
have a mobile shop that visits every morning. You can’t book, it’s a turn up
and pitch site, so best to arrive early.

Where to eat and drink

The Jolly Sailor (Land’s End Road, Old Bursledon, Southampton; 02380 405557; jollysailoroldbursledon.co.uk).
Right on the water, overlooking the Hamble Estuary. Good menu and a varied
selection of beers; Sunday roasts.

The Scott Arms (Kingston, Corfe Castle, Dorset; 01929 480270; thescottarms.com).
Lovely little pub with great views of Corfe Castle. Locally sourced menu and
a Jamaican themed barbecue in summer.

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Exeter Chiefs fly-half Gareth Steenson has described his side’s clash against Sale Sharks this weekend as being “like a cup final”.

Following a 38-33 victory over Worcester Warriors last week, the Sandy Park outfit are now seventh in the Aviva Premiership standings, meaning that they will face the seventh-placed side in France’s top tier for a spot in the European Rugby Champions Cup next season.

“It gives us something to strive for now that we all know what’s happening with the new format of the European competition,” Steenson is quoted as saying by the Exeter Express Echo. “We want to be back up at the top table, playing in the top competition and we’ve got to earn the right to do it.

“We always seem to make hard work of it. For us it’s just about going out and performing against Sale, we can’t look too much further than that. We’ve made the mistake in the past that we’ve started looking further down the line than we should do.

“We need to stick to what we’re good at, and that’s getting ready for the game at the weekend and then assess where we are after that. It is a big game for us and it is a big game for them as well. It’s like a cup final, and it’s a nice thing for us to have it at home in front of our own supporters.”

The 29-year-old has been at the club since 2008.

A goal from Jason Puncheon has given Crystal Palace a 1-0 lead over Everton at Goodison Park in the Premier League this evening.

The home side came close to opening the scoring just a couple of minutes in when Gareth Barry tried to head in from an early corner, but his effort went just over.

Everton continued to look the stronger of the two sides in the opening 20 minutes, with Ross Barkley and Aidan McGeady both seeing plenty of the ball, but they were unable to break the deadlock.

Palace started to find their way into the match though, and were able to force a lead when Puncheon fired in the rebound after Tim Howard denied Yannick Bolasie.

The visitors came within inches of adding a second, but Bolasie’s strike was denied by the post, before Howard eventually gathered from Jerome’s rebounded effort.

Romelu Lukaku had a chance to level just before the break, but the on-loan striker’s shot was kept out by a Julian Speroni save.

Andrew Bogut has been ruled out indefinitely after an X-ray revealed that he has a fractured rib.

The Golden State Warriors center initially sustained the injury last Thursday after the Denver Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried elbowed him, but he continued to play over the weekend before having the X-ray on Monday.

The 29-year-old told reporters: “I’ve got to be careful, because if it cracks I’m looking at a punctured lung. You’ll see me in the hospital with a tube coming out of me. It’s one of those things people have played through, but this is too close to comfort for me.

“It definitely wasn’t as bad until I fully cracked it. I thought I was winded for a second, but it wasn’t going away. I ended up going back in the game for the last possession [of regulation]. I don’t know how.

“I’m going to dedicate the summer to learning how to play while avoiding contact at all costs, I guess, moving out of the way, not taking charges and not trying to block shots. All of my injuries have been high-impact injuries. I put my body on the line to try to take a charge or block a shot and, unfortunately, I’ve been on the tail end of them.”

The injury typically has a recovery period of six weeks, but the team, who will be involved in the upcoming playoffs, have not placed a timetable on his return.