Football: Arsenal suffer Keown setback

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The Independent Online
ARSENAL will be without England defender Martin Keown for the next three games with an eye injury. The loss increases Arsenal's defensive worries just as their problems up front were on the verge of being eased as the title race intensifies.

Keown suffered an accidental cut to his eye during Arsenal's FA Cup semi-final victory over Wolves last Sunday at Villa Park.

Although the Gunners initially believed the cut was not serious, doctors have since warned the central defender to sit out the dress rehearsal for the FA Cup final against Newcastle at Highbury on Saturday as well as Monday's trip to Blackburn as a precaution.

Keown is then suspended for the following Saturday's game against Wimbledon, a match for which his natural replacement, Steve Bould, is also banned, but he should be fit for England's next friendly against Portugal in two weeks' time.

With full-back Lee Dixon still out injured, there is now also a worry over Gilles Grimandi who has a back problem.

But Arsenal, six points behind the leaders, Manchester United, with three games in hand, can at least welcome the return of Dennis Bergkamp from suspension for the trip to Ewood Park.

Arsenal winger Marc Overmars yesterday failed in his claim for three million florins (pounds 1m) from his former club, Ajax. The Dutch football federation rejected Overmars' appeal that he was owed 20 per cent of the pounds 5m Arsenal paid the Dutch League leaders for him last year. The Ajax board had refused to pay him anything.

The Newcastle manager, Kenny Dalglish, will wait until the last moment before picking his team to face Arsenal. Newcastle have five players - Steve Howey, Darren Peacock, Alessandro Pistone, Rob Lee and Steve Watson - on the treatment table

Tommy Craig has joined Newcastle as a coach until the end of the season. The Scotland Under-21 coach, who played for Newcastle before moving on to Celtic, will help Dalglish and Alan Irvine as the former coach Tommy Burns has moved on to become manager at Reading.

The Barnsley defender Chris Morgan yesterday received a further one-game ban on completion of his four-match suspension, which starts this weekend. Morgan will now be available for selection in the final match of the season against Manchester United. The 20-year-old, who was appearing before a Football Association disciplinary committee, was also fined pounds 250.

Police at Leeds police station said yesterday they were questioning Chelsea's Bernard Lambourde after an allegation of indecent assault in a hotel near Leeds following his team's 3-1 defeat to Leeds on Wednesday.