Football: Beardsley laid low by freak accident

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The Independent Online
Newcastle went into last night's Uefa Cup quarter-final first leg against Monaco with Peter Beardsley on the bench after he was concussed in a training accident. With Alan Shearer, Faustino Asprilla and Les Ferdinand definitely out, the news came as a further blow to Newcastle's chances of reaching the semi-finals.

Beardsley was concussed after being struck in the head by a fierce shot from a colleague during training yesterday.

The Newcastle manager, Kenny Dalglish, said: "Peter is struggling. It happened when a player blasted the ball from close range into the side of his head."

David Ginola may have sealed his fate as a Newcastle player by describing himself as "an orphan" at St James' Park since the departure of Kevin Keegan. Speaking to the French newspaper Le Parisien before last night's game, Ginola complained that he had no relationship with Dalglish.

Ginola, who was in the starting line-up, said: "You could talk to Keegan. I have no desire to talk to Kenny Dalglish. I didn't come to Newcastle to play for him. I signed for one man: Keegan. He is gone and now I am an orphan."

Ginola made it clear that he would like to return to play in France. He showed little interest in returning to his old club, Paris St-Germain, however.

"When you have a passionate affair with a woman and then you leave her, you can never start the same love story all over again," Ginola mused. He hinted strongly that he would prefer to play for Marseilles, his wife's home town club, which is seeking to rebuild after the bribery scandals of the years when Bernard Tapie was in charge. "It is a friendly club, ambitious, exciting... Everything is ready to go back on the boil," Ginola added.

Everton's unpredictable striker, Duncan Ferguson, is a surprise pounds 5m target for Aston Villa. The Villa manager, Brian Little, and his assistant, Allan Evans, watched the enigmatic Scot in action at the weekend and have made an approach to Everton about him. Ferguson has had a mixed season at Everton, scoring some spectacular goals but turning in some poor displays, too.

His manager, Joe Royle, could be persuaded to sell, especially at a profit, but the only problem is the timing of the deal with Everton still under the threat of relegation. Royle's transfer targets are Manchester United's Andy Cole and Liverpool's Stan Collymore.

West Ham's 18-year-old central defender, Rio Ferdinand, has signed a five-year contract with the club that ties him to Upton Park until June 2002.

Ferdinand, a cousin of the Newcastle and England striker Les Ferdinand, had two years left on his present deal but was keen to sign an extension despite speculation linking him with other clubs.

The Derby County manager, Jim Smith, is trying to sign two Costa Rican internationals. Smith played the midfielder Mauricio Solis and the striker Paulo Wanchope in a reserve game yesterday and is keen to sign the pair. Both Solis and Wanchope have enough caps to obtain work permits.

Middlesbrough are prepared to receive offers for the former Manchester United goalkeeper Gary Walsh. The 29-year-old is no longer the first choice at the Riverside Stadium following the pounds 1.25m signing of the Australian international Mark Schwarzer from Bradford City.

Wolves have appointed the former Southampton manager Dave Merrington as their new chief scout. Merrington was sacked by the Saints last summer after serving in various capacities for more than a decade.

Talks aimed at ending Brighton's power struggle have been put back until next week. Bill Archer and Greg Stanley, the co-owners of Third Division's bottom club, were due to have a fourth meeting with the leader of a proposed takeover consortium, Dick Knight, and mediators from the Centre for Dispute Resolution in London tomorrow. But the talks have been delayed because Knight is out of the country on holiday.