Football: City worry over forged derby tickets

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MANCHESTER UNITED'S rise to the status of championship favourites has attracted the attention of forgers. Their neighbours Manchester City, still shamefaced over their pitch invasion 10 days ago, yesterday admitted that they are concerned about the sale of forged tickets for the derby against United on Saturday morning.

Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that forgeries were sold outside Oldham before United's visit last week, causing 200 legitimate ticket-holders to be locked out. A police spokesman said: 'Forgers seem to be working on tickets for most big events these days, whether sporting or entertainment. Most major matches are under threat and United seem to have been particularly targeted.'

Oldham's secretary, Terry Cale, added: 'I have advised all clubs still to be visited by Manchester United to be on their guard.' The clubs United still have to play away, after City, are Norwich, Coventry, Crystal Palace and Wimbledon.

Norwich can take over the Premier League leadership by winning at Nottingham Forest tonight. They are likely to name an unchanged team while Forest are still without the injured Pearce, Webb, Gemmill and Stone and the suspended Keane and Rosario.

Derby County, too, are affected by injury for their FA Cup replay at Hillsborough tonight. Richard Goulooze is likely to replace Paul Williams (knee ligaments), while Pembridge, Johnson and Kuhl face fitness tests. Wednesday restore Nigel Worthington, now free of suspension, to their squad.

Henrik Larsen, the Danish international midfielder, is to part company with Aston Villa without playing a first-team game. Larsen, who is on loan from the Italian club, Pisa, has been told by manager Ron Atkinson that there is no prospect of him gaining a senior place.

The Stoke striker, Mark Stein, has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association, after allegedly punching the Stockport defender, Jim Gannon, at the end of a League match on 9 March. Gannon made a formal complaint to Stoke police, who are investigating the incident. The FA charged Stein yesterday after its disciplinary committee examined the report by the match referee, Alan Dawson, and the player now has 14 days in which to respond.

One day after Bristol Rovers dismissed sugestions that they would pay York City any compensation for taking away their manager, John Ward, the two clubs announced that a compromise had been reached and that a sum would be paid to York. Ward is expected to sign a three-year contract; York had previously won an injunction delaying Ward's move for seven days.

John Barnwell, the former Peterborough, Wolves, Notts County and Walsall manager, has joined Northampton Town as a managerial consultant. He is to assist the Cobblers' player-manager, Phil Chard, whose side are bottom of the Barclays League.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SQUAD (v Northern Ireland, World Cup Group Three, Dublin, 31 March): Bonner (Celtic), A Kelly (Sheffield United); Morris, Kernaghan (both Middlesbrough), Irwin (Manchester United), Moran (Blackburn), O'Leary (Arsenal), McGrath, Staunton, Houghton (all Aston Villa), McGoldrick (Crystal Palace), Keane (Nottingham Forest), McLoughlin (Portsmouth), D Kelly, Sheedy, O'Brien (all Newcastle), Phelan, Quinn (both Manchester City), Cascarino, Townsend (Chelsea), Sheridan (Sheffield Wednesday), Coyne (Tranmere Rovers).

(Photograph omitted)