Football: Collymore race to prove his worth

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The Independent Online
STAN COLLYMORE will begin his final attempt to avoid an ignominious return to Aston Villa when he resumes training with Fulham today.

The on-loan striker has been out of action for a month with a groin problem and now has only three weeks left to convince the Cottagers' manager, Paul Bracewell, to make the move permanent. Otherwise he faces returning to the Midlands, where the Aston Villa manager, John Gregory, has made it clear Collymore is no longer part of his plans.

Bracewell said: "Stan should join us again for training tomorrow. He's had a week off and hopefully we have nipped the problem in the bud."

Collymore is needed because Paul Peschisolido and Geoff Horsfield have also been suffering with groin injuries.

The Wimbledon captain, Robbie Earle, has ruled out applying for the vacant manager's job at Reading. The 34-year-old, who scored twice in Tuesday's 3-1 Worthington Cup victory over Cardiff, wants to stay with the Dons for at least another year. "I do want to manage at some stage but that stuff about me applying for the Reading job is rubbish - the time isn't right," said the veteran midfielder.

As to his future at Selhurst Park, Earle said: "The manager [Egil Olsen] has told me I will be in and out of the team as I'm too old to play every game in the style that he wants to play. He says that this will help extend my career for another season or two - whereas if I played all the time it would take its toll much quicker. It is frustrating, but I understand his reasons."

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