FOOTBALL: Beleaguered Horton given a boost by Lee

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The Independent Online
Francis Lee, the Manchester City chairman, made it clear last night that his manager, Brian Horton, would not be leaving Maine Road in the immediate future.

Horton's job appeared to be on the line after his side's 2-0 defeat at Wimbledon on Tuesday, a result that leaves them still deep in relegation trouble. Horton fuelled the rumours by declining to attend the post-match news conference at Selhurst Park.

There was speculation that today's board meeting at Maine Road would prove to be the end for Horton, particularly when the club revealed that a statement would be issued after the meeting. But Lee stressed last night that the future of the manager was not even up for discussion at the board meeting.

"It's the normal board meeting, the one we hold every month," Lee said. "It will have the normal manager's report from Brian. He will update us on the playing staff but that's all."

Earlier in the day Horton had said: "I've never walked away from a fight, either as a player or a manager, and I'm not going to start now."

Lee added: "If Brian wants to say that he's not quitting that's fair enough. He says he's not a quitter and he isn't, and the situation is that if Brian Horton was going to be leaving Manchester City he would be the first to know."

Aston Villa yesterday had a £3m offer for Leicester City's Mark Draper turned down. The 24-year-old, who has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave should Leicester be relegated, joined City for £1.25m from Notts County last July. Sunderland have agreed a fee of £500,000 for the 26-year-old Everton striker, Brett Angell.

Jason Cundy, the Tottenham central defender, will not be joining Ipswich in a £500,000 deal after the player failed to agree personal terms. Cundy has not played a first-team match for more than two years, partly because of a long-term back problem. He cost Spurs £750,000 from Chelsea in July 1992.

The Wolves and former England midfielder, Geoff Thomas, will miss the rest of the season after learning that he must undergo surgery on his right knee for the third time in 18 months.

n Davie Cooper, the former Rangers and Scotland winger, was in a "critical" condition in a Glasgow hospital yesterday after suffering a brain haemorrhage while filming a coaching video. The Clydebank winger won 22 Scotland caps and played in the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico.