Blues given 'closed doors' warning

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Birmingham City will have to play a home game behind closed doors if their supporters misbehave home or away once more this year. The Football Association yesterday found the club guilty of two misconduct charges during November's home game against Millwall.

Blues' fans seated above the travelling Lions supporters were alleged to have thrown objects at the Millwall contingent. Some Birmingham fans encroached onto the pitch after Ken Charlery's late equaliser in the 2- 2 draw and Millwall claimed their substitute Dave Savage had been punched as he warmed up. A police investigation pinned the blame on Birmingham.

Ray Harford yesterday claimed relations were good between himself and David Batty, while admitting that the midfielder was not in Blackburn's squad for today's home derby against Bolton.

The Rovers manager, who refused to comment on speculation linking Batty with a pounds 3.5m move to Newcastle, said: "I have not had a row or an argument with David Batty." On the player's omission, he added: "We make our selection on what we see and after all that has happened felt it better for him not to be included."

The next manager of the Republic of Ireland is likely to be Millwall's Mick McCarthy, following the decision by the Wimbledon manager Joe Kinnear to turn the job down. "It breaks my heart to say it was the right job, but at the wrong time," Kinnear said.

McCarthy can only dream, but Arrigo Sacchi is to be paid pounds 1.7m to coach the Italian national side for a further two-and-a-half years.

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