Football: Gregory immovable on Collymore

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THE ASTON VILLA manager, John Gregory, is ready to take on the Premier League after refusing to compromise in the Stan Collymore row.

Gregory fined the controversial striker two weeks' wages - around pounds 40,000 - when he failed to turn up for a reserve training session after returning from a loan spell with Fulham. Collymore claimed that he had a dental appointment and contacted the Professional Footballers' Association to complain that the punishment was too harsh.

Now the Premier League is urging Gregory to think again over the severity of the fine - but the Villa manager is refusing to back down in his latest confrontation with officialdom.

In Gregory's eyes, Collymore's punishment is deserved for his failure to turn up for work and that he made no attempt to contact the club to let him know he would not be at training. It was only subsequently that Gregory received an explanation from Collymore about his dental appointment and it was unsatisfactory. Gregory has already shown that he will not compromise his beliefs if he feels he is in the right by continuing his verbal attacks over the standards of refereeing despite being fined by the Football Association.

Now his stance on Collymore - a target for Nottingham Forest - means that the Premier League looks certain to have to mediate in the latest dispute between the pair. The Premier League had urged Gregory to try to find a solution to avoid such action - but his tough line on the matter means that is now unavoidable.