Football: Atkinson and Gross count the cost of injuries

Ron Atkinson and Christian Gross lost vital players through injury yesterday, with Sheffield Wednesday's manager having to come to terms with Niclas Alexandersson being out for the rest of the season and his Tottenham counterpart having to cope with Andy Sinton's absence from tomorrow's FA Cup fourth-round replay at Barnsley.

Alexandersson, Wednesday's Swedish international midfielder, damaged knee ligaments in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Wimbledon at Hillsborough. The 26-year-old joined Wednesday from IFK Gothenburg for pounds 750,000 in December and quickly became a crowd favourite in his nine appearances. "It's a shame for the boy and a great loss for us," Atkinson said.

Tottenham's Sinton damaged knee ligaments in Saturday's defeat at Derby, although a scan has ruled out the immediate need for an operation. David Howells is fit again after seven weeks out with a stress fracture just below a knee and could replace Sinton at Oakwell.

Stevenage Borough will be turning their non-League ground into St James' Park this afternoon for their final training session there before tomorrow's Cup replay at Newcastle United.

The Vauxhall Conference side will train with their PA system blaring out a recording of 40,000 screaming fans to help their players get used to the atmosphere at St James' Park.

Most of the non-League side's players have never played in front of a crowd bigger than 8,000, the attendance at Stevenage when they forced a replay.

Michael Thomas has completed his loan move from Liverpool to Middlesbrough and will make his debut in the First Division home game against Tranmere tomorrow.

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