Football: Ferguson in pursuit of Rios

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The Independent Online
Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, is pursuing the Real Betis centre-half, Roberto Rios. Ferguson is anxious to bolster his defence with worries over Gary Pallister's fitness and the absence of the injured Norwegian, Ronny Johnsen.

Ferguson was rebuffed by Barcelona when he tried to tempt their international defender Miguel Angel Nadal away from Nou Camp, but he has now returned to Spain in a bid to shore up his squad. He travelled to Valladolid on Monday to watched Rios in action. The central defender was impressive as Real Betis won 3-1 to maintain their high position in the Spanish League

Ferguson was unable to pursue his interest after the game, according to reports from Spain, because Betis immediately returned home to Seville.

Rios is basically a stopper but is also quick and strong. The feeling at his club is that they would be reluctant to lose him at such a crucial stage of the season. Should he move to United, Rios would not be eligible to play in the next phase of the European Cup against Porto.

United fans have been warned they will be turned away if they try to go to the quarter-final in Oporto in March with black-market tickets.

Chris Kamara, the Bradford City manager, is poised to buy the Portuguese striker, Edinhos. Kamara is flying in the prolific goalscorer from Vitoria Guimaraes today with a view to a pounds 250,000 deal.

Edinho, 28, should be registered in time to play against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup and take over from the Swede, Robert Steiner, who is going home before the tie. With his record buy Gordon Watson ineligible, Kamara has looked far and wide for a striker who can fill the vacancy.

The Middlesbrough midfielder Craig Hignett is likely to miss his comeback at Wimbledon on Saturday. After completing a two-match ban, he now has a calf injury sustained during a training break at Lilleshall.