Football: England prepare for return to US: February warm-up game against World Cup hosts under consideration

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND are preparing to return to America for a friendly international eight months after Graham Taylor endured there his most humiliating reverse as his country's manager with the 2-0 defeat to America in the US Cup.

A possible World Cup warm-up game against the United States is being considered for 5 February in either Orlando or Tampa Bay. England already have a game against Germany in either Hanover or Munich in April.

The Wales skipper, Barry Horne, has a fractured toe and could miss the start of the season on 14 August when Everton face his old club, Southampton. A definite first-day spectator is the Saints keeper, Tim Flowers, who received a one-match ban following last week's sending-off in Sweden.

Crystal Palace are ready to agree a four-year contract with their striker Chris Armstrong to ward off interest from Premier League sides. Both Armstrong, who had an outstanding first season following a pounds 1m move from Millwall, and the England squad goalkeeper, Nigel Martyn, have told Alan Smith, Steve Coppell's successor at Selhurst Park, that they intend to play an integral part in Palace's attempt to reclaim their senior status.

Birmingham have put their squad on a pounds 40,000-a-man bonus to secure promotion. Success in the FA Cup (pounds 20,000) or the Coca-Cola Cup (pounds 10,000) provides additional rewards.

Wolves believe their route to the Premier League lies in the transfer market and are hoping to conclude two more signings. The are ready to increase their offer for Darren Peacock, the QPR defender, to pounds 1.5m and also want Cyrille Regis who has been given a 'free' by Aston Villa.

Newcastle have paid Morton pounds 250,000 for their striker, Alec Mathie, while Swindon must find double that for the Orient defender Adrian Whitbread.