Football: Everton deny Hinchcliffe is up for sale

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Howard Kendall, the Everton manager, yesterday denied that he is prepared to sell the England left-back, Andy Hinchcliffe, in order to finance new signings.

The 28-year-old Hinchcliffe, who recently signed a new five-year contract, was left out for the home defeat against Tottenham at the weekend, which left the Goodison club rooted to the bottom of the Premiership table.

"If you have heard that as a rumour, then I can assure you it is just that, a rumour," Kendall said. "I left Andy out because I felt it was the best thing to do at the time. I wanted to bring our new defender Carl Tiler into the side. I haven't felt the need to talk to Andy about it. No doubt sometime this week he will ask for an explanation and I will tell him."

Should Hinchcliffe leave, he would command a fee in the region of pounds 3m, with West Ham among interested buyers.

The deal which would have taken the Coventry City defender David Burrows to Sheffield Wednesday, with Mark Pembridge plus cash moving in the opposite direction, is off - midfielder Pembridge having decided to stay at Hillsborough.

Gary McAllister will know today the severity of the knee injury he suffered during Coventry's 2-0 defeat against Leicester on Saturday. The 33-year- old playmaker, a key figure for Scotland in the World Cup finals, will be given the results of a scan taken at a Birmingham hospital.

Sheffield United have signed the 33-year-old Dean Saunders for pounds 400,000 from First Division promotion rivals Nottingham Forest. The striker - now at his 10th club - is the third new face to arrive at Bramall Lane in the last week.

Old Trafford is in line to host a European final for the first time. The 55,000-capacity home of Manchester United is one of five grounds being considered by Uefa for the next May's final of the Champions' League or the European Cup-Winners' Cup. However, United would not be allowed to stage the European Cup final on their own turf should they get that far.

The striker Ian Blackstone has been given a six-month suspension by the Football Association for a challenge which sparked a mass brawl in a non- League game.

Blackstone, the former York and Scarborough forward, has been fined pounds 100 and will be suspended from the 15th of this month to 15 June because of the serious nature of the offence which occurred when he was playing for Harrogate Town in a Unibond League First Division game against Workington in October.