City fear for Hiley after knee injury

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The Independent Online
Manchester City's Scott Hiley was taken to hospital yesterday amid fears of a career-threatening cruciate ligament injury. Hiley went to see City's specialist about the knee injury he picked up in Tuesday's 2-1 win over Charlton Athletic.

City will check the results today but the forecast is gloomy for the full-back who has just recovered from a similar problem. He twisted his knee on the lush grass and is unlikely to figure again in this season's promotion campaign.

More bad news for City involved the centre-half Alan Kernaghan, who will be absent for a month with cartilage trouble. Asa Hartford, the caretaker manager, is now on the look-out for a couple of loan signings for the club - with his job possibly at stake. City want to keep Hartford in charge and improve his contract by doubling his wages, but the final decision will be delayed until after the next two games against Barnsley and Port Vale.

Kit Symons believes that City's luck may be on the turn for the better. The Maine Road captain admitted that City were fortunate to score twice in the last eight minutes against Charlton. Symons claimed that the turmoil of the last nine days since Alan Ball's departure has done little to help the club in their bid to regain their Premiership status.

"What has gone on at the club hasn't helped us, and against Charlton we looked very nervous," said Symons, who was installed as captain during the summer when Keith Curle was transferred to Wolves. But he added: "We are professionals and have got to just get on with it, and maybe luck is starting to go our way now and we have turned the corner. When you are not playing well it's a case of just battling away. That's what we did against Charlton and we dug out a result from somewhere."

Uwe Rosler's penalty and Gerry Creaney's brilliant free-kick lifted City into the top 10 after a week when the club were making all the headlines off the pitch. Symons, a Ball signing from Portsmouth just over a year ago, said: "I know a lot has been said about the penalty decision which got us back in it, but we've had plenty like that go against us in the past so we were due that one and perhaps a few more.

"Now we can look forward to playing Barnsley, who are unbeaten and will be full of confidence from the way they have started the campaign. But we know that if we play as we can do, and if the crowd keep getting behind us, then we shouldn't be worried about anyone in this division."

West Ham have pinned a "not for sale" sign on Slaven Bilic in response to claims that their London rivals Tottenham have made a pounds 2.5m bid for the Croatian centre-half.

Peter Storrie, the West Ham managing director, said: "If you have world- class players there will constantly be inquiries and, yes, we have had one for Slaven. But I can't say which club it is and anyway, we have turned it down. If Slaven left it would have to be on the basis that we wanted to let him go, and that is not the situation."

The Leicester manager Martin O'Neill is tracking Bradford's Dutch sweeper, Marco Sas. O'Neill watched the former Ajax prospect in action in midweek and thinks he would be ideal for the system he is using. Sas joined Bradford from NAC Breda on a free transfer in the summer but Chris Kamara now wants pounds 1m for the defender.

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