Duncan Ferguson could be out for the rest of the year following a second hernia operation. The surgery is likely to rule out the Everton striker for six to eight weeks, which will take him up to a court appeal over an on-field headbutting incident. The former Dundee United and Rangers player, a pounds 4m signing by Everton last September, has a suspended 11-match ban hanging over him.
Ferguson, who has scored eight goals in 30 games for Everton, had to have surgery for a double hernia after last season's FA Cup victory over Manchester United. Joe Royle, the Everton manager, said: "Duncan underwent exploratory surgery which revealed excessive scar tissue and another small hernia, which has been repaired. It's daunting for Duncan, but good that we've identified the problem."
Mike Marsh is to end his miserable sojourn in Turkey by rejoining his former Liverpool team-mate Ronnie Whelan, now manager of Southend. The First Division side have agreed a club-record fee of pounds 500,000 with Galatasaray for the 26-year-old midfield player, who only moved to Turkey from Coventry in the close season.
However, he has failed to settle, and was recently reported to have broken a late-night curfew imposed by Graeme Souness, the Galatasaray manager. Marsh was due to return to England yesterday to undergo a medical at Roots Hall after agreeing personal terms.
Bristol Rovers have accused the Crystal Palace chairman, Ron Noades, of trying to unsettle their highly rated striker Gareth Taylor. Rovers rejected Palace's pounds 1.4m bid for the Welsh Under-21 player, who signed a new three-year contract a fortnight ago.
Geoff Dunford, vice-chairman of the Second Division club, said: "Palace's chairman seems to be talking to everybody but us. We haven't heard from him since his bid was rejected. We sense Palace are trying to drive a wedge between Gareth and us, but it won't work."
Taylor has fought his way back to fitness after a career-threatening knee injury, and has scored four goals in six games this season, including the winner in Tuesday's 1-0 victory over Burnley at Twerton Park.
Newcastle have paid non-League Chorley pounds 25,000 for their teenage striker, David Eatock. The Unibond League club, who produced the former Ipswich and England striker Paul Mariner, could receive up to pounds 275,000 more in bonus payments.
"We've paid pounds 25,000 and it could go up to pounds 300,000 if he ends up playing so many games for us and also playing for England," said Kevin Keegan, the Newcastle manager.
Meanwhile, the Newcastle midfielder Scott Sellars, who has not played since November because of a knee injury, has had his progress halted after suffering a shoulder injury. "Scott's going to be out for a week to 10 days. It's disappointing because he keeps getting himself back to fitness and then having little setbacks," Keegan said.
Dan Petrescu, of Sheffield Wednesday, has been named in Romania's squad for Wednesday's European Championship qualifier in Poland. Tottenham's Ilie Dumitrescu misses the game through suspension. The Wednesday striker Marc Degryse has been recalled to the Belgian squad for their match against Denmark, and Dennis Bergkamp, the pounds 7.5m Arsenal striker, is named in the Dutch squad for their qualifier with Belarus.
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