Football: Bracewell happy to gamble on Collymore

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The Independent Online
THE FULHAM manager, Paul Bracewell, was happy to take a loan gamble on Aston Villa's pounds 7m misfit Stan Collymore yesterday.

The 28-year-old England international trained with the Second Division champions just yards from the exclusive Priory Clinic, in Roehampton, where he was treated for depression earlier this year.

It has been a troubled year for the former Liverpool and Nottingham Forest striker, but his move gives him another chance to make a fresh start. Collymore will join Fulham for their pre-season tour to Scotland.

Bracewell said: "Obviously Stan has added to the squad we've got. A couple of players have left and we need some more players in. I'm absolutely delighted. He's an international and let's hope he proves a fantastic loan signing. He gives us a great opportunity. He is in great condition and wanted to come to Fulham which is most important for the club and the supporters.

"It's also a great opportunity for Stan. A lot of people have said things but the most important thing is he wanted to come and play for Fulham and kick-start his career. He is training with us and getting to know the lads and then he will come with us to Scotland and that provides a chance for him to settle in," he added.

Collymore is Bracewell's second high-profile capture since he took the reins at Craven Cottage from Kevin Keegan. The former Everton midfielder has also snapped up Sunderland's Lee Clark for pounds 3m.

The Aston Villa manager, John Gregory, is stepping up his efforts to sign George Boateng and Robbie Keane by the end of the week after finally landing Najuan Garayeb in a pounds 1m deal. Villa are hoping to complete the capture of the Dutch midfielder Boateng from Coventry for around pounds 5m before they fly out to New York tomorrow to compete in a four-team tournament. Gregory and the Villa financial director Mark Ansell are pressing ahead on that front now that the Sky Blues have signed Mustapha Hadji from Deportivo La Coruna for a club record pounds 4m.

Middlesbrough's manager, Bryan Robson, has made Stig Inge Bjornebye his second signing target at Liverpool. Robson is keen to land the experienced defender in a pounds 1.2m deal to give his squad more strength and options.

His Liverpool counterpart, Gerard Houllier, is deciding on the players he wants to keep and may be tempted to part with Bjornebye as the latest move in his rebuilding plans. Liverpool's captain, Paul Ince, is already finalising a pounds 1m switch to Teesside.

The new Nottingham Forest manager, David Platt, is set to sign Crewe's midfielder Jermaine Wright. Crewe have accepted a pounds 500,000 bid for the 23-year-old Londoner, who is poised to have talks with Platt.

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