FOOTBALL: Gillespie may be on the way out

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The Independent Online
KENNY DALGLISH, the Newcastle manager, could be willing to listen to offers for his winger, Keith Gillespie. With the Middlesbrough manager, Bryan Robson, on the look-out for a forward to play out on the flanks, Newcastle's Northern Ireland international could find himself a target for the Premiership newcomers.

Middlesbrough have shown interest for some time now in the West Bromwich Albion winger, Kevin Kilbane, but it is believed that Denis Smith, the manager of the First Division club, wants more than Robson will pay.

Middlesbrough, who host a four-team tournament featuring Newcastle, Benfica and Empoli this weekend, are keen to get their man before they start their Premiership campaign against Leeds United in a fortnight's time.

Less than a year ago Gillespie inspired Newcastle to victory over Barcelona in the Champions' League, laying on two of Faustino Asprilla's three goals. However, he has had a chequered career on Tyneside since Kevin Keegan signed him as part of the Andy Cole deal in January 1995.

With both Alan Shearer and Stephane Guivarc'h in the middle looking for service from the flanks it might seem unlikely that Newcastle would be open to offers for Gillespie. However, if the Middlesbrough chairman, Steve Gibson, and his manager were able to come up with a pounds 5m offer then Newcastle might find it too much to turn down.

With the arrival of seven new faces in recent weeks and more to come, United may think it is time to cash in on Gillespie. They have an abundance of wing-backs on the books, including Laurent Chavet and Alessandro Pistone.

Gillespie, meanwhile, has an ankle injury and is ruled out of this weekend's competition.

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