Blackburn poised to win race for Coleman

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The Independent Online
NICK DUXBURY

Chris Coleman, the Crystal Palace defender, is expected to join Blackburn Rovers this morning for a fee of pounds 2.8m. The Welsh international is understood to have agreed to join Rovers, who faced competition for his signature from Coventry, West Ham and Wimbledon.

Coventry had been favourites to sign Coleman, but their manager, Ron Atkinson, had to content himself yesterday with just one new recruit after Noel Whelan moved to Highfield Road from Leeds for pounds 2m. Atkinson paid out a club record fee for the England Under-21 striker on the advice of Gordon Strachan, the former Leeds midfielder who is now No 2 at Highfield Road. "When Gordon joined us he spoke glowingly about him," Atkinson said.

The Nottingham Forest winger, Ian Woan, has agreed to sign a new contract after making his peace with his manager, Frank Clark. Woan, who was dropped by Clark for Sunday's game with Aston Villa after criticising the club's contract offer and writing off Forest's Uefa Cup hopes, will sign a four- year deal within the next few days.

"I'm delighted at the way things have turned out," Clark said. "Ian and I sat down and sorted out the football side of things and then came to an agreement over the contract. The matter is over as far as I'm concerned. Dropping him was punishment enough."

Sheffield Wednesday's pounds 4m signing of the Red Star Belgrade duo Darko Kovacevic and Dejan Stefanovic has been given the go-ahead by the Department of Employment. Work permits had been granted - seven weeks after a deal had been agreed. The pair, who are both 21 and Yugoslavian internationals, are due at Hillsborough on Thursday.

Birmingham, who have failed to agree terms with the Barcelona midfielder Ronnie Ekelund, are pursuing Sporting Lisbon for a pounds 300,000 instalment they allege is outstanding on the pounds 1.5m transfer of Jose Dominguez.

Alan Thompson has become the third Bolton player in as many weeks to require a hernia operation and will be out for two months. The Hibernian defender Darren Dods yesterday received a four-match ban after being sent off against Celtic on Saturday.

Rune Hauge, the Norwegian agent who was at the centre of the George Graham "bungs" investigation, has had his licence withdrawn indefinitely by Fifa for continuing to be involved in transfer deals while suspended.

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