Football: Glowing report for Le Tissier

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The Independent Online
MATTHEW LE TISSIER has done his prospects of winning a place in Terry Venables' first England squad a power of good with his hat-trick for Southampton in Monday's Premiership game against Liverpool. His performance at The Dell came in front of Ted Buxton, the former Tottenham chief scout who is in line for a place in Venables' back-up team, and his report will be a glowing endorsement of Le Tissier's rejuvenation under the new Southampton manager, Alan Ball.

Buxton has accompanied Venables to Arsenal and Wimbledon in the last week, as they run the rule over the likely candidates from whom the national coach will select a side to launch his England reign at Wembley on 9 March against Denmark. Venables has admitted his admiration for Le Tissier's extravagant skills in the past and, two years ago when he was searching for a Tottenham match-winner who could also entertain, he gave serious consideration to signing him ahead of Portsmouth's Darren Anderson.

Southend United will urge the Football League to deduct points from Birmingham City if today's three-man commission of enquiry finds them guilty of making an illegal approach to Barry Fry, the manager who moved to St Andrew's in December.

The Southend vice-chairman and chief executive, John Adams, said: 'When so-called big clubs who find themselves in trouble near the bottom of the table use a cheque-book to break the rules, the League must address the reason why.'

A points penalty would be a heavy blow to Birmingham, who have won only twice in 10 League games since Fry's arrival and are just three places off the foot of the First Division.

Everton will be without the defender, Gary Ablett, for a month after surgery on a broken toe. The midfielder Steve Hodge is one of three Leeds players placed on the transfer list. He joins Frank Strandli, the Norwegian international striker, and the defender, Ray Wallace.