Football: Backlog for United

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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER UNITED face fixture congestion after drawing their FA Cup semi-final against Oldham Athletic on Sunday. In their attempt to win the championship for the second season in succession, they must play six remaining League games, in addition to tomorrow's Cup replay, before the scheduled end of the season on 8 May.

Both United and Oldham were due to play League games tomorrow. Oldham's game against Tottenham has been put back to 20 April, but United's match against Leeds cannot be played then because both clubs have a number of players with international commitments that day.

Premiership officials favour the week beginning 25 April for the Leeds game but the Manchester derby is scheduled to be played that day for the benefit of television. 'This match has given us a bit of a problem but extending the season is not a good option,' the Premiership secretary, Mike Foster, said.

The only compromise could be for the Leeds-Sheffield Wednesday match to be put back a week to 3 May and the Manchester derby to be switched back to its original date of 23 April so that Leeds and Manchester United could meet on 26 or 27 April.

United's 19-year-old right winger, Keith Gillespie, has been named in Northern Ireland's squad for their opening European Championship qualifier against Liechtenstein in Belfast on 20 April after impressing the new national manager, Bryan Hamilton, in last month's Under-21 match against Romania.

John McGinlay, the Bolton striker, will earn his first Scotland cap in the friendly match against Austria in Vienna next Wednesday after missing his international debut last month because he fell ill the day before the match against the Netherlands.

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