Coventry dig deep for Burrows

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The Independent Online
Coventry City confirmed their unlikely status as one of the Premiership's big spenders yesterday, when Ron Atkinson paid £1.1m for David Burrows, the Everton left-back, to take the club's outlay so far this season to £6m.

The uncapped Burrows, 26, became Atkinson's second signing since taking over at Highfield Road just over a fortnight ago. The first was Kevin Richardson, bought for £300,000 from Aston Villa, while the previous manager, Phil Neal, spent the £4.6m received from the sale of Phil Babb and Peter Atherton on five recruits.

Atkinson played a part in Burrows' development during his second spell in charge of West Bromwich Albion, who eventually sold Burrows to Liverpool. He moved to West Ham 18 months ago, but returned to Merseyside to join Everton last September.

Joe Royle, the Everton manager, explained that with Paul Hinchcliffe, Gary Ablett and David Unsworth all accomplished in Burrows' position, he felt he could afford to sell. "I've spent a lot and I've got to balance the books," he said.

Atkinson said he knew of "no better English left-back", adding: "If he plays to his best form, there's no reason why he shouldn't make the squad for the European Championships." Atkinson now intends to pursue his interest in Paul Dickov, the Arsenal striker, and has signed the Australian international goalkeeper, John Filan, on loan from Cambridge, with a view to a permanent deal.

Eric Cantona's hopes of playing out his ban on loan to a European or Brazilian club were dashed yesterday. Fifa, world football's governing body, confirmed that the FA suspension imposed on the Manchester United player for his attack on a Crystal Palace fan applied worldwide. Cantona will not be allowed to play until 1 October.

Cantona's compatriot, Chris-tophe Dugarry, the Bordeaux striker, is the subject of a £1.75m offer from Newcastle, according to the French club. But Bordeaux said Dugarry would be staying until the end of the season, and claimed that Tottenham and Fiorentina had both offered £3.5m.

Birmingham City are considering the price-tag of £350,000 on the Chelsea defender, Gareth Hall. Barry Fry, the Birmingham manager, had an attempt to sign Graham Fenton on loan spurned yesterday by Aston Villa, but has taken the Finnish international goalkeeper, Antti Niemi, on trial from from HJK Helsinki with a view to a £150,000 deal.

Away supporters at Premiership games will receive more tickets, following a vote by member clubs. Under the new regulations, proposed by Blackburn and seconded by Arsenal, visiting clubs must be given up to 10 per cent of capacity, up to a maximum of 3,000 seats.

The motion was carried, despite opposition by Manchester United and Newcastle, who currently allocate 1,800 and 818 places respectively to away fans. Both claimed the measure would force them to disappoint hundreds of season- ticket holders.

Darlington last night ended the 17-month tenure of Alan Murray - the 35th manager to leave a League club this season.