Bad week gets worse for Rovers

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The Independent Online
A traumatic week for Blackburn Rovers ended yesterday with an embarrassing 2-1 defeat in a pre-season friendly at Third Division Colchester United.

Fielding a near full-strength team, Rovers soon fell behind to a header by Tony Adcock. Their new Greek signing, Yorgos Donis, came off the bench to equalise after half-time, but Robbie Reinelt hit a late winner for the Essex side. Things got worse: Chris Sutton, Blackburn's only experienced striker following the sale of Alan Shearer, limped off with an ankle injury.

Rangers enjoyed a useful European warm-up as they beat Arsenal 3-0 in Richard Gough's testimonial match at Ibrox. Goals from Ally McCoist, Peter van Vossen and their pounds 4m signing, Jorg Albertz, were savoured by a crowd of 41,245. Rangers meet the Russian champions, Alania Vladikavkaz, at home on Wednesday in the first leg of the European Cup qualifying round.

Arsenal were without David Seaman, Tony Adams and Dennis Bergkamp while Rangers were without Paul Gascoigne, who misses the European tie through suspension and also has an Achilles injury.

McCoist opened the scoring in the 15th minute when Brian Laudrup's curling cross eluded John Lukic and Trevor Steven knocked the ball back to give McCoist a tap-in. The second goal, in the 60th minute, was a solo effort from Van Vossen, a half-time replacement for McCoist. The Dutchman weaved his way into the box and calmly chipped Lukic. Then Albertz, the former Hamburg midfielder, celebrated his Ibrox debut with a left-foot strike beyond Lukic from Charlie Miller's pass.

There was no joy for Aberdeen, warming up for Tuesday's Uefa Cup tie in Lithuania against Zalgiris Vilnius. The Dons, beaten 3-1 at home by Everton in Brian Grant's testimonial, have won just one of their seven pre-season friendlies and have injury problems. Scott Booth limped off in the early stages yesterday to join Stewart McKimmie and Paul Bernard on the treatment table.

A slip by Colin Woodthorpe let in Andrei Kanchelskis for Everton's opener, and Dave Watson was left unmarked to strike their second goal just after the interval. Billy Dodds pulled one back with a neat header, but then Brian Irvine deflected a Kanchelskis cross into his own goal to complete the scoring.

Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, confirmed yesterday that the Premiership champions have been approached by the Football Association for the services of Brian Kidd. Glenn Hoddle, the England manager, wants Ferguson's long-serving assistant to fill the part-time coaching role that another former Old Trafford player, Bryan Robson, has vacated.

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