Football: Evans watches Guivarc'h as France's striker hints at Premiership move

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ROY EVANS, the Liverpool manager, was watching with interest as French striker Stephane Guivarc'h scored twice for Auxerre in their Uefa Cup match with Lazio on Tuesday night.

Guivarc'h is refusing to sign a new contract with Auxerre, who are now out of European competition after being beaten 3-2 on aggregate by the Italians.

Guivarc'h scored on his international debut against South Africa this season, having progressed from Brest, Guingamp and Rennes, where he scored 22 goals last season.

He clearly sees his career developing away from Auxerre, and said: "I want to experience something different, and it is England that tempts me most, then Germany, then Italy."

Meanwhile, Liverpool's home match with Arsenal has been moved from Saturday 4 April to Wednesday 6 May, as the Gunners will be playing their FA Cup semi-final against Wolverhampton Wanderers that weekend.

David Johnson, the Ipswich striker, is at the centre of a three-way battle for his international services. Johnson, 21, is wanted by Jamaica, where he was born, England and Northern Ireland.

Lawrie McMenemy, the new manager of Northern Ireland, has asked him to play in next week's friendly against Slovakia at Windsor Park, but Rene Simoes, coach of the the Reggae Boyz, wants to call him up for the World Cup qualifiers' mini-British tour against Queen's Park Rangers and Wales, which starts on Saturday.

Johnson could also opt for England and he was on the bench for the Under- 21 international against Greece at Carrow Road in December. Johnson qualifies to play for any of the home nations because he is a British passport holder who was born abroad.

McMenemy revealed his predecessor and now Ipswich coach, Bryan Hamilton, had helped him with Johnson and he is hopeful that the former Manchester United trainee will give Northern Ireland a chance.

"I invited him to come with us and I thought he was all right so we sent the letters off and everything else," he said. "But it's become a bit complicated because I understand he has been approached by Jamaica as well, which is their prerogative because he was born there. He did intimate to me this afternoon that he was happy to consider my invitation. I've heard no more from the player and I'm prepared to hang in there for him."

Stoke insist that their first-team coach, Chic Bates, is to remain at the club, despite reports that he was about to be sacked. Stoke are two points adrift at the foot of the table and have won just eight of their 38 League games this season.