Football: McMahon wants Swindon to become used to life at the top

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The Independent Online
Steve McMahon's Swindon go into today's home game against Bradford City at the top of the First Division for the first time this season and looking to maintain their one-point lead.

A 3-1 win in midweek against Queen's Park Rangers put them above Nottingham Forest, who lost 2-0 at Bury.

The on-loan Liverpool goalkeeper Tony Warner makes his debut for Swindon, who have three first-team keepers injured. Scott Leitch is likely to return after three weeks out with a knee injury in place of Darren Bullock who starts a three-match suspension.

Swindon will face a Bradford side that should include this week's record signing, the Scottish international John McGinlay, who moved from Bolton Wanderers for pounds 625,000. Bradford made a promising start to the season and, despite a recent dip in form, should prove difficult for Swindon to beat.

Nottingham Forest travel to Sunderland and will be hoping to regain the top spot should they win and Swindon fail. Sunderland are again without their injured captain, Kevin Ball, Chris Makin, Martin Scott, Richard Ord and Steve Agnew, but the Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn is added to the squad after a five-week absence with a knee injury.

Sunderland drew 1-1 with Stockport in midweek, who will themselves be looking to continue their run of only one defeat in 11 games when they travel to Reading.

Elsewhere in the First Division, the Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has accused Australia's national coach, Terry Venables, of favouritism. Schwarzer said Venables, the Portsmouth owner and chairman, had favoured Australian players at the English First Division club in squad selection.

Schwarzer was overlooked in a 26-man squad for Australia's final World Cup qualifier against an Asian opponent later this month for a place in next year's finals in France.

His comments followed the selection of his fellow goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac, whose hopes of joining Venables at Portsmouth rest on British immigration authorities reversing an earlier decision to refuse him a work permit to play in this country.

To comply with regulations, Kalac must feature in a high percentage of games for Australia. "They're pushing Zelkjo to be in the team to get him qualified to play overseas," Schwarzer was quoted as saying by Australian Associated Press.

- Nick Harris