Sporting Digest: Football

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The Sunderland striker, John Mullin, has joined Preston North End on loan with a view to a permanent move. The Sunderland manager, Peter Reid, who has agreed to Andy Melville joining Bradford City for a month, has also allowed the Danish defender, Kim Heiselberg, to join his former club, Esbjerg, until the end of the season.

Motherwell have put their assistant manager, Andy Watson, in charge of team affairs following Alex McLeish's move to Hibernian to become their new manager this week.

Lennart Johansson, the president of Uefa, European football's ruling body, received a huge boost in his quest to become the next president of Fifa, the sport's world governing body, when the African Football Confederation officially said yesterday that it was backing his election campaign.

Second Division Alaves, who are trying to become the first side from outside the top flight of Spanish football to reach the Spanish Cup final since 1980, were drawn against Mallorca in the semi-finals yesterday. Barcelona will entertain Real Zaragoza in the other two-leg semi-final.

Germany's coach Berti Vogts named his squad yesterday for a friendly with Oman next week without a single player from the country's top club, Bayern Munich. Bayern players are normally the single biggest group in Vogts' squad, but the club's German Cup semi-final tie with VfB Stuttgart on Tuesday means they are unavailable for the international in Muscat the following day. Vogts plans to add more players to the 18-man squad for the second match of the two-game Middle East tour, against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on Sunday 22 Febraury.