Football: Chile date leaves Bosnich in lurch

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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER UNITED could lose Mark Bosnich for three Premiership matches in February because Australia want their goalkeeper for a friendly tournament in Chile.

Australia's coach, Frank Farina, has named Bosnich in his squad and wants his captain to travel to South America at a time when he would have been lining up for United against Coventry City, Newcastle United and Wimbledon. The tournament in Chile, though important to Australia's World Cup preparations, is a casual affair in which Australia will play the hosts a couple of times and possibly meet other sides.

Bosnich could become a frequent long-haul flier, because United will be in Brazil for the World Team Championship next month and the Australian could then find himself heading back halfway across the world when his country calls.

Farina has already run into problems with Rangers after requesting Craig Moore and Tony Vidmar, but the coach is taking a hard line. He has other goalkeeping options but Bosnich is his No 1, Farina having stood by him when he was out of favour at Old Trafford and given him the captaincy.

United already face losing the striker Dwight Yorke for at least the Newcastle game because of Trinidad and Tobago's Gold Cup commitments in America, and their South African forward, Quinton Fortune, will be away for the African Nations' Cup, from 22 January to 13 February.

When United play Arsenal in the Premiership next month, Fortune will be playing for his country in Ghana and Nigeria. If the South Africans make the later stages, it will also put him out of contention for the Coventry and Newcastle games.

Nottingham Forest's manager, David Platt, is trying to sign Sheffield United's Shaun Berry. Platt is willing to pay around pounds 500,000 for the former Notts County player, who still lives in the city.