Football: Operation puts Yorke out for six weeks

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The Independent Online
Aston Villa may have to do without Dwight Yorke for up to six weeks. Their leading scorer will have an operation today on the calf injury suffered in last Saturday's Premiership game against Coventry at Villa Park.

A scan and a visit to the specialist revealed that the injury was far more severe than the Villa manager Brian Little and his striker had imagined.

Little had initially refused to even rule Yorke out of Monday's game with Manchester United at Old Trafford, but now he is resigned to being without the player who had scored 45 goals in the past two seasons until towards the end of January.

Yorke will definitely miss Villa's FA Cup third round clash at Portsmouth - and will be doubtful for the fourth round on 24 January - as well as up to six Premiership matches.

The only consolation is that he should be fully recovered when Villa resume their Uefa Cup challenge in March.

"This is a major blow to us," Little said. "We thought he might be out for a couple of weeks. This is not what we expected but there is severe bruising and pressure on a nerve in the thigh."

Now it remains to be seen whether Little will enter the transfer market to find a replacement for Yorke - with the end of January the deadline for players who would be eligible for the next round of the Uefa Cup.

Arsenal are still facing a long battle to launch a pounds 45m redevelopment of Highbury despite taking a step forward after their local council passed a planning brief for the project.

Even though a site in nearby Kings Cross has been identified for possible relocation, the club's stated preference is to stay at Highbury, their home since 1913.

But Arsenal's directors believe that moving is the only way forward if they are unable to rebuild their stadium.

With capacity now reduced to just over 38,000 Arsenal's fear is that it will become increasingly more difficult to compete with the likes of Manchester United who can fit in more than 55,000 fans.

Arsenal are ready to match that capacity by demolishing and rebuilding the current West Stand as well as the famous Clock End, which was redeveloped just five years ago.

A major stumbling block will be the local residents, who fear a bigger stadium and larger crowds will bring chaos to an already congested part of north London.

Neville Southall is having talks with Huddersfield. The Everton goalkeeper has been offered to them on loan because Vince Bartram returns to Arsenal in a week.

Sheffield Wednesday have released the on-trial striker Primoz Gliha, of Slovenia's Olimpija Club.

Ilkeston have won police backing to stage their FA Cup replay at home despite recent crowd trouble in the Dr Martens League side's first game against Scunthorpe. However, officials have agreed to reduce the capacity of their New Manor Ground home to 2,350 for the all-ticket replay next Wednesday. Seven people were charged after trouble at Glanford Park last Saturday, when police used CS gas for the first time in a British ground.

Tunisia, one of England's group opponents in the World Cup, are to play a friendly with Wales in the build-up to next year's finals.

The Southend midfielder Mike Marsh, 28, is to retire following persistent knee trouble. He played for Liverpool, West Ham and Coventry before joining Southend from Galatasaray in 1995.