Boro's build-up hit by ban and permit troubles

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The Independent Online

Yakubu, as expected, failed in his initial attempt to get the permit because he has not played the required 75 per cent of games for Nigeria in the last two years. However, Boro have been preparing an appeal against that decision, which will be heard on Monday.

The club are confident of a successful outcome after building up a dossier, including a letter of support from the Nigerian Football Association, confirming that he would have played more often had it not been for a disciplinary dispute.

Yakubu, who fell out with the Nigerian FA after allegedly breaking a curfew while on international duty, is due to complete his £7.5m move to the Riverside Stadium from Portsmouth today and is expected to report for pre-season training on Monday.

Boro will be more concerned that their Austrian defender Pogatetz may miss the start of their Uefa Cup campaign following a red card while playing for Spartak Moscow.

Pogatetz, on loan at Spartak from Bayer Leverkusen, was dismissed in his final game in Russia for a tackle on a Shikkin Yaroslavl player which resulted in his opponent suffering a double fracture of his leg.

The Russian Football Association handed out a 24-week punishment ban for Pogatetz yesterday.

The Premier League is not obliged to enforce the ban in England but Uefa may do so, ruling him out of Boro's European games.

Elsewhere, Mike Pollitt became Paul Jewell's first signing of the summer yesterday, after waiting 17 years for a chance in the top flight. The goalkeeper has signed a two-year contract, with Wigan paying Rotherham around £200,000. He started his career with Manchester United in 1988 as an apprentice, but never got his chance at Old Trafford.