Atkinson moves for Richardson

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The Independent Online
Ron Atkinson, the new manager of Coventry, has wasted no time in strengthening his squad. He swooped on his previous club, Aston Villa, to buy the midfielder, Kevin Richardson. Atkinson agreed a transfer fee of £300,000, and was meeting the 3l-year-old player to discuss personal terms later in the day.

"I am hopeful we can conclude the deal in time for Kevin to play for us against West Ham on Saturday," said Atkinson. "He is the type of player who is ideal for us in our present situation, and he is in the category we can afford at the moment."

Keith Burkinshaw is to sue West Bromwich Albion for almost £300,000 after being sacked as manager of the club in October. Burkinshaw had 32 months of his contract left to run when he was fired, and has now taken his compensation battle to the High Court after failing to reach agreement with the struggling First Division side.

"I want what is due on my contract. I have not been paid since I left," said Burkinshaw. "Everything has been done through an agency and I am disappointed about that. The club have made me an offer, but it's not what was on the contract and I have been left with no choice but to take it to court."

The Albion vice-chairman, Clive Stapleton, has warned that Albion will launch a spirited defence of Burkinshaw's claims, but added: "I hope that something can be sorted out before the case gets to court. Our door is always open."

A Sunderland supporters' group has been challenged to reveal the identity of local businessmen they claim are ready to take over the troubled First Division club. In a statement issued yesterday, the club said: "If this supporters' group really does think it can raise substantial funds to inject into the club, the board would not wish to stand in the way. But the board insist on knowing who the supporters' group really represents."

Doncaster could become the first club in history to win promotion and then resign from the Football League. Doncaster, currently lying fourth in the Third Division, are suffering financial problems, and have not been able to reach agreement with the local council over their plans to move to a new stadium.

The club has notified the League that they may have to resign at the end of the season, and play at "a much lower level" if the situation does not improve.

Third Division Colchester are providing free admission to all supporters for their match against Darlington on Saturday 4 March. The club has teamed up with local businesses to give away 7,000 tickets worth over £40,000.

Gordon Parker, the club's chairman, said: "We aim to bring people through the turnstiles and create a family atmosphere." Each supporter will receive free refreshment and a free match-day lottery ticket, while a local bus company is providing free transport to the ground.