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Football: Everton loan for Ferguson and Durrant

EVERTON'S problems intensified yesterday with hitches in the transfers of two of the three players the Premiership club had wanted to sign from the Scottish champions, Rangers.

After several hours of medical checks and negotiations at Goodison Park, Ian Durrant and Duncan Ferguson both joined on loan, but Trevor Steven's move was shelved indefinitely. Durrant moves to Goodison for a 'fitness-assessing' month and Ferguson for three months.

Questions over the fitness of Steven, who has a calf injury, and a problem over terms meant there could be no immediate return to Everton for him five years after his pounds 1.4m sale to Rangers. The decision was taken by the Everton chairman, Peter Johnson, who handled the negotiations for his club.

Durrant, a 27-year-old midfield player, has been battling for more than two years to recover from a serious knee injury. Ferguson, a 22-year-old striker, has struggled to make an impact at Ibrox since his pounds 4m move last summer from Dundee United. His cause has not been helped by a 12- match ban imposed by the Scottish Football Association - which he is appealing against - and an impending court appearance after an alleged head-butting incident involving the Raith defender, John McStay.

Mike Walker, the harassed Everton manager, plans to pitch Durrant and Ferguson into the Coca-Cola Cup game at Portsmouth tomorrow, a tie in which Everton trail 3-2 after the home leg. Durrant, who is rated at pounds 2m, said: 'There's no problem with my fitness. I played 70 games in the last three seasons.'

Ferguson has made only three starts for Rangers this season. 'I need first-team football, so I jumped at this chance. I want to show people I can still play this game,' he said.

Everton have won just five of the 29 games they have played under Walker and yesterday's activities will hardly enhance the reputation of what appears to be an accident- prone club. The proposed transfer of Muller fell through last month when, after weeks of negotiations, the Brazilian striker demanded the club pay his tax.

Darren Anderton will today sign a new contract with Tottenham worth nearly pounds 1m. Anderton, who has been negotiating for two weeks with the club's chairman, Alan Sugar, is expected to earn pounds 6,000 a week under the new deal. It will will run until the end of the 1997-98 season, extending his commitment to Spurs by two years.

Marco van Basten, the Dutch striker who has been out of action for two years, will know within three months if he can play again. The 29- year-old Milan forward is to begin his rehabilitation after a special support was removed from his right ankle yesterday.

Diego Maradona, who was banned from playing football for 15 months after failing a drugs test during the World Cup, is to start a coaching job at the Argentinian First Division club, Deportivo Mandiyu.

King's gamble,

Two off at Leicester, page 34