Everton call on Donachie as stand-in

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The Independent Online
Willie Donachie is expected to take the reins at Everton until a successor to Joe Royle is found. Royle resigned as manager at Goodison Park on Thursday, but his right-hand man has remained at the club.

It is believed that the chairman, Peter Johnson, has asked Donachie, along with the captain, Dave Watson, to take the players for training when they report back on Tuesday.

Donachie, a former Scotland international, worked alongside Royle at Oldham Athletic before joining him in the move to Merseyside in November 1994.

Bobby Robson, the former England manager, is being heavily tipped to replace Royle as his future at Barcelona is in doubt. The Stockport County manager, Dave Jones, is another possible replacement in his own right or under Robson.

The Bolton manager, Colin Todd, has bid pounds 2m for the Brann Bergen striker Tore Andre Flo, the player at the centre of Royle's departure from Everton.

Celtic have completed the pounds 2.4m signing of the Aston Villa striker Tommy Johnson, who agreed a four-and-a-half year deal yesterday. Johnson will be eligible to play in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Falkirk at Ibrox on 12 April.

Blackburn Rovers are competing with the German side Kaiserslautern for the pounds 3m Swiss midfielder, Ciriaco Sforza. Roy Hodgson, Rovers' manager- in-waiting, wants to bring Sforza with him from Internazionale to Lancashire at the end of the season. Kaiserslautern, however, have offered Sforza a three-year contract.

The Wolverhampton Wanderers left-back, Neil Masters, who has not played a first-team game since August 1995 because of knee trouble, has agreed a pounds 150,000 move to Gillingham.

Sheffield Wednesday are set to complete a pounds 500,000 double deal with Peterborough United when they sign winger Mark McKeever next week. Wednesday signed Posh's 17-year-old midfielder, David Billington, before the transfer deadline, and McKeever is poised to join them when he returns from Portugal with the Republic of Ireland Under-18 squad.

The Cardiff City striker Simon Haworth's transfer to Norwich City collapsed after the Welsh Under-21 international failed a medical. The 19-year-old Haworth, who had a knee operation during the summer, signed a three-year contract on Thursday in a deal that could have eventually been worth around pounds 500,000.

n The Swiss referee Kurt Rothlisberger has denied he tried to solicit a bribe to fix a European Champions' League match between Grasshopper Zurich and Auxerre on 30 October. Uefa claims Rothlisberger, who was not due to referee the match, visited the Grasshopper manager, Erich Vogel, to sound him out about a bribe. Rothlisberger insists Uefa have misinterpreted his actions. "It was simply my curiosity to see how Herr Vogel would react," he said.

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