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Football: Francis in pounds 2.5m Palace raid

THE BIRMINGHAM City manager, Trevor Francis, is hoping to sign the Crystal Palace pair Lee Bradbury and Craig Moore in a pounds 2.5m deal today.

Hard-up Palace were contacted by Francis yesterday and both recent signings could wrap up quick moves as the London club's owner Mark Goldberg tries to raise cash.

The striker Bradbury has only been at Palace for a few months since switching from Manchester City while the Australian centre-half Moore was a pounds 700,000 capture from Rangers this season. Goldberg has told Palace manager Steve Coppell to raise pounds 2.5m before next month's transfer deadline and the two departures would cover that figure.

Bradbury and Moore, also wanted back by Rangers, will have to sort out personal terms but both are likely to join Birmingham's promotion push.

As Leicester City received planning permission for a 40,000-seat pounds 25m stadium, one of the club's stalwarts yesterday insisted that the club should make sure the team comes first. "It will mean nothing if we are in the First Division," Neil Lennon said. "The football side is the important thing. We have got to be a Premiership outfit before we get the stadium. "There is no point in having a nice big stadium if we are going to be playing in Division One."

The Premier League Referees' Officer, Philip Don, has defended Uriah Rennie after criticism by Chelsea's player-manager, Gianluca Vialli. The Italian said Rennie had been "arrogant" in sending him off against Blackburn on Wednesday. "I have to say I'm disappointed with him because you can make mistakes but it's about the attitude as well," Vialli said. "I thought he was arrogant."

Don denied that Rennie was arrogant and said: "There's not been any problem with Uriah."

There was further controversy in the wake of the game, with Rovers' Chris Sutton taking a swipe at Franck Leboeuf."He was very critical of the English game and kept saying how wonderful the French game was," the Blackburn striker said. "We all know that France won the World Cup. We know Franck Leboeuf won the World Cup. He has a big reputation but he also has a big ego."

Southampton's new pounds 800,000 Latvian striker, Marian Pahars, is unlikely to be available for three weeks because of a work-permit hold-up.

Everton are to appeal against Olivier Dacourt's booking in Wednesday's 5-0 win over Middlesborough in an attempt to save him from a ban that would rule him out of the FA Cup sixth round. Everton believe he was booked for a foul on Paul Gascoigne that was actually committed by Tony Grant. The club also confirmed the signing of Danish Under-21 midfielder Peter Degn from Aarhus. Degn, 20, will move at the end of the season.

The Football League Appeals Committee has ruled that Huddersfield Town must pay Hartlepool United pounds 65,000 for the midfielder Chris Beech. Hartlepool, who had sought pounds 250,000, will receive a further pounds 15,000 after 20 appearances and pounds 15,000 more after 40.

Notts County have signed the strikers Peter Beadle and Gerry Creaney. Beadle has joined from Port Vale for pounds 250,000, while Creaney cost nothing from St Mirren.

Reading's former Scottish international striker Robert Fleck, 33, has retired because of a back problem.

Motherwell have left Andy Goram out of their side to meet Celtic at Fir Park on Sunday because of allegations, which he denies, of links with the Ulster Volunteer Force.