Football: Fuertes forced to fly home after passport problem

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The Independent Online
ESTEBAN FUERTES, the Derby County forward, has been forced to return to Argentina after being refused re-entry to Britain at Heathrow Airport.

The incident occurred on Saturday as the Derby squad returned from a training camp in Portugal. As a result of a discrepancy in his passport, the 26-year-old has flown home to Argentina. In the meantime Derby are taking legal advice over the matter.

The absence of Fuertes leaves Jim Smith, the Derby manager, with a selection problem for Saturday's home game with Manchester United. He is already without Deon Burton, who is suspended, and Lee Morris, who has a fractured foot. Mikkel Beck cannot play because he is on loan with Nottingham Forest, leaving Dean Sturridge as the only available recognised striker. Smith may have to play the versatile Rory Delap, Derby's top scorer with five goals this season, in attack.

Manchester United, meanwhile, may have their own problems against Derby. Mark Bosnich suffered a hamstring injury playing for Australia in Sunday's 2-0 defeat by Brazil, although the United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, is hoping his goalkeeper will have recovered by Saturday.

Colin Todd, the former Bolton manager, will have talks with Blackburn Rovers this week about a quick return to management. Todd has emerged as the surprise favourite for the post. A short list drawn up yesterday also includes Joe Kinnear, Graeme Souness and a fourth contender who is still in work.

Manchester City's manager, Joe Royle, has had a new pounds 1.2m offer for Gillingham's striker Robert Taylor rejected. The former Liverpool and Rangers winger, Mark Walters, aged 35, has completed a free transfer move from Swindon Town to Bristol Rovers. Brentford are poised to sign the Cambridge United striker, Trevor Benjamin, for a fee of pounds 750,000.

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