Football: Beck takes on new challenge with Preston

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The Independent Online
JOHN BECK, the former Cambridge manager, returned to the game yesterday as the new manager of Preston North End. Immediately he served notice that his rule there will be less autocratic than was the case at the Abbey Stadium where his methods provoked controversy.

Admitting he knows little about the Second Division club he appealed for help from fans to raise it from its 'coma'. 'I intend to put an advert into the programme asking for suggestions from local people as to what we should be doing,' he said. Beck has appointed his former Cambridge assistant Gary Peters, to take up a similar role to that he carried out with Cambridge. Sam Allardyce, who assumed caretaker responsibility when Les Chapman was sacked in September, returns to his former post as youth team coach.

Norwich have agreed a fee of around pounds 750,000 with Malmo for the Swedish defender Patrik Andersson but the Norwich chairman, Robert Chase, admits the players' terms could be a problem.

Norwich have a salary ceiling of pounds 1,000 a week but signing-on fees and bonuses - 'some of the best in the Premier League' says Chase - mean their players can earn three times that. There is also the promise that they would not stand in his way should another, more wealthy, club come in.

Arsenal were linked with more disciplinary trouble yesterday when it was suggested one of their players had been involved in a fight in a Southampton night-spot after Saturday's 2-0 defeat at The Dell. Conflicting police statements confused the picture with the Hampshire Constabulary claiming that the Saints' midfielder Terry Hurlock had been attacked. However George Graham, the Arsenal manager, said: 'I have heard the rumours but I've looked into this and I'm satisfied no Arsenal player was involved in any fracas.'

The England defender Lee Dixon will miss the next month of Arsenal's season with a stress fracture of the left knee, making Nigel Winterburn's return after ligament trouble in tonight's reserve game with Oxford all the more timely.

The Leeds and England midfielder David Batty has suffered a setback in his recovery from an ankle injury and was forced to withdraw from last night's reserve fixture at Stoke. Crystal Palace have transfer-listed Paul Mortimer and Lee Sinnott who together cost pounds 800,000 when they joined at the start of last season.

Stan Flashman, the Barnet chairman, has said that Barry Fry, the club's former manager who was sacked last week, will never return to Underhill. 'One thing I will guarantee is that I will never, ever sell Barnet Football Club to any person who is going to employ Barry Fry because I think he is a bad egg,' Flashman said. 'There will never, ever be a chance of reconciliation with Barry.'

SCOTTISH CUP THIRD-ROUND DRAW: Aberdeen v Hamilton; Cove Rangers or Peterhead or Montrose v Vale of Leithen or East Stirling; Motherwell v Rangers; Stirling Albion v East Fife or Alloa Athletic; Dundee United v Meadowbank; Kilmarnock v Raith Rovers; Airdrie v Clydebank; Gala Fairydean or Arbroath v Morton; Partick Thistle v Cowdenbeath; Hibernian v St Mirren; Dundee v Dumbarton; Clyde or Brechin v Celtic; Dunfermline v Ayr United; Falkirk v Inverness Thistle or Berwick Rangers; St Johnstone v Stenhousemuir or Forfar or Albion Rovers; Hearts v Huntly or Queen of the South.