Ferguson waits for appeal decision

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The Independent Online
Duncan Ferguson's hopes of a clearance to play this week became enmeshed in legal red tape yesterday, although the Everton striker still hopes to make his comeback tomorrow night.

The Scottish courts delayed yesterday's hearing into his 12-match suspension - seven games of which have still to be served - until this morning because of a shortage of time, but Everton are so confident of success they have arranged a reserve game against Newcastle.

His manager, Joe Royle, will almost certainly play him in the Pontins League match at Goodison, saying: "If all goes well it will be a chance to give him match practice. We are very grateful to Kevin Keegan for helping us out at short notice."

Ferguson had the suspension imposed by the Scottish Football Association after an incident in 1994 when the then Rangers player head-butted Raith Rovers' John McStay. He also served 44 days of a three-month prison sentence as a result, and Everton are arguing it is unfair for him to be punished twice.

They expect the courts to fix a date for the full judicial review and freeze the suspension until then. That would probably take place early in the new year, freeing Ferguson for selection.

While Ferguson must wait, the Aberdeen captain, Stewart McKinnie, learned yesterday that he will not face prosecution after a police investigation into an elbowing incident with Partick Thistle's Callum Milne on Saturday. McKimmie has since been fined by his club, and Glasgow's Procurator Fiscal, intends to take no further action.

Ned Zelic is heading back to Germany after just four months with Queen's Park Rangers, who are negotiating a pounds 1m deal with Eintracht Frankfurt. Ray Wilkins, who signed him for a club record pounds 1.3m from Borussia Dortmund, said: "From the day he arrived Ned has not been happy and found it impossible to settle."

Bolton have completed their pounds 750,000 purchase of Newcastle's Scott Sellars and he is expected to make his debut in the Premiership home match against Liverpool on Saturday.

Ronnie Ekelund yesterday went from Barcelona to Barrow-in-Furness when he finally arrived to start a loan spell with Birmingham City. The Danish international midfielder, valued at pounds 350,000, was pitched straight into a testimonial match in the Cumbrian outpost.

Wimbledon may face Fifa opposition to their plan of a move to Dublin. The club's owner, Sam Hammam, says he is considering a relocation to the Irish capital, but was reined in yesterday by the game's governing body.

Keith Cooper, a Fifa spokesman, said: "Wimbledon couldn't go ahead until we gave our agreement. On what we have learned there would appear to be no compelling reasons of a humanitarian or security nature for the move. We would be concerned on grounds of precedent and continuity."

However, the Premier League and the Football Association have not been approached officially and there is a suspicion that Hammam may be bluffing to get Merton council to drop resistance to the sale of Wimbledon's old Plough Lane home and relocation within the borough.

Four FA Cup third-round ties have been put back 24 hours to 7 January: Everton v Stockport (3pm), Derby v Leeds (1pm, Sky), Chelsea v Newcastle (3pm BBC) and Southampton v Portsmouth (3pm).

n Allan McGraw, the Morton manager, was comfortable and stable in hospital last night after suffering a heart attack.

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