Football: Horton in for Walsh

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PAUL WALSH may be the wrong side of 30 and plagued by ankle trouble, but Brian Horton, the Manchester City manager, has decided that the Portsmouth striker is the man he needs to steer his side away from the Premiership relegation zone, writes Rupert Metcalf.

Walsh, 31, travelled to Maine Road yesterday to discuss terms, after City made a bid of pounds 750,000 for his services. He has scored 11 goals this season, but has had trouble with ankle injuries, and may need an operation.

Despite this, Horton is determined to capture Walsh: 'I'm sure one or two of our supporters will be asking why we want a 31-year-old player from a lower division,' he said. 'The truth is that Paul Walsh is the best available player around. I have known him since we were at Luton together and I have always been one of his admirers.

Another troubled Premiership manager, Tottenham's Osvaldo Ardiles, heard that his injured strikers, Nick Barmby and Teddy Sheringham, may be back in action sooner rather than later.

Barmby was carried off with a knee injury during the England Under-21 side's victory over Denmark on Tuesday. 'He is out of plaster. It is just severe bruising,' John Fennelly, a Tottenham spokesman, said.

Sheringham, who has not played since October, had an operation on Tuesday to remove more cartilage from his injured knee. 'It was a complete success,' Fennelly said. 'It now looks like he will be back in weeks rather than months.'