Football: Blackburn poised to make move for Rioch

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BRUCE RIOCH has emerged as the leading candidate for the vacant manager's position at Blackburn Rovers. The Ewood Park club's chairman, Jack Walker, is likely to make a move for the Norwich City manager within the next 24 hours.

Rioch's reputation for turning round ailing clubs, such as Middlesbrough and Bolton, has caught the eye at Blackburn, who made an unsuccessful attempt to lure the Barnsley manager, Dave Bassett, to Ewood Park earlier this week.

The Scot has vast experience of the First Division and has proved in the past that he has the ability to guide clubs to promotion at that level. He also spent a relatively successful season at Arsenal, where he was eased out to make way for the arrival of Arsene Wenger.

Walker hopes to have a new man in place next week with the caretaker manager, Tony Parkes, preparing the team for the tomorrow's game at home to Stockport County. If Rioch were tempted by the challenge at Ewood Park, Norwich could not expect to claim compensation as he works at Carrow Road without a contract.

Roy Keane has dropped a big hint that he may stay on at Manchester United after his contract ends next summer. The Republic of Ireland captain has been linked with a move to Italy but Keane said he hopes to have some "positive news" for United fans next week.

Keane, who is free to talk to other clubs from 1 January, said: "There's a meeting scheduled next week between the club's lawyers and my solicitor so hopefully I'll have some positive news next week when I get back from Tokyo."

Asked if it would be the news United fans are hoping to hear Keane, who is in Japan for United's Inter-Continental Cup final against Palmeiras next week, said: "Talks are probably at a delicate stage now but as I say, fingers crossed, I'll have some positive news next week."

Oxford United have appointed Mickey Lewis as their head coach until the end of the season. Lewis, 35, who has been the club's caretaker manager since Malcolm Shotton resigned a month ago, will be assisted by the former Blackburn manager Ray Harford.

Harford, who takes on the role of technical director, will take up his position from Monday. That too will run until the end of the season.

Manchester City's on-off signing of the Gillingham striker Robert Taylor is set to go through today in a deal that could be worth pounds 2m.

Taylor has turned down a move to the Scottish club Hearts and Gillingham's chairman, Paul Scally, has finally accepted City's offer. The First Division leaders will pay around pounds 1.5m up front with extra instalments based on promotion success and a possible player swap.

Royle could allow the Australian striker Danny Allsopp to go in part- exchange. He is valued at around pounds 500,000.

Taylor pushed the move along yesterday when he turned down Hearts after their offer was accepted - and Royle was quickly on the phone to put in a similar bid to the Kent side.

The City manager has been chasing Taylor for a month and has threatened to pull out of the deal on several occasions.

However, Taylor's positive signals have encouraged City and the protracted transfer should go through this morning. The player could make his debut against Huddersfield tomorrow.

Out-of-work English football managers can now look for a job by logging on to the Internet.

An Internet company,, is launching a web site for football managers which would include a CV section for those seeking jobs. The site,, would also contain the career details of every League manager. The company plans ultimately to allow managers to exchange information via e-mail on a confidential basis. already manages web sites for 12 English Premiership clubs and nine in the First Division.