Football: Burns takes the reins at Reading

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TOMMY BURNS, the former Celtic manager, is back in management with the struggling First Division side Reading.

Burns, who was youth development officer at Newcastle, has taken over from the caretaker-manager Alan Pardew. The former manager Terry Bullivant resigned last week following protests from fans.

Burns was first offered the Reading job nine months ago when the then joint managers, Jimmy Quinn and Mick Gooding, left the club. He accepted verbally, but was then tempted away following a last-minute bid from Newcastle. "I think I can save Reading from relegation, even though we have a tough run in our last seven games," Burns said. "I will definitely be strengthening the squad before tomorrow's deadline.

Wolves are setting themselves up for the FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal by signing the Australian international winger Robbie Slater from Southampton for pounds 50,000. The First Division side also re-signed midfielder Neil Emblen yesterday, after selling him to Crystal Palace for pounds 1.8m earlier this season.

Arsenal's Remi Garde has announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

Newcastle have gone to their neighbours Darlington to sign two young players in a deal which could eventually be worth pounds 1.8m to the Third Division side. They have paid an initial fee of pounds 500,000 for strikers Paul Robinson, 19, and James Coppinger, 17.

Sunderland have made the former Southampton and Fulham manager Ian Branfoot director of their football academy.