Football: Jones has hospital check for virus

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NINE days to go until the big kick- off and Liverpool already have injury problems. John Barnes, Jan Molby, and Steve McManaman are all receiving treatment at Anfield and now Rob Jones is doubtful for the season's curtain-raiser, the Charity Shield against Leeds United at Wembley on Saturday.

Jones missed England's brief trip to Sweden for the European Championship, stricken by shin splints after an arduous first season in the top flight. The 20-year- old full-back recovered from this problem but has since been troubled by a virus.

Jones underwent hospital tests yesterday after missing Liverpool's 7-1 trouncing of Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday. Another Prenton Park absentee was Michael Thomas, still hampered by a calf problem. One encouraging medical bulletin emanating from Anfield is that McManaman, the 20-year-old Liverpool winger, is close to full fitness after a knee operation.

Cambridge United have told Dion Dublin, their in-demand forward, that he has until tomorrow lunchtime to choose between Chelsea, Manchester United or Everton. 'If a decision is not made by then,' the Cambridge chairman, Reg Smart, said, 'I'll assume that he is still under contract to Cambridge and will be playing for us next season.'

The 23-year-old Dublin, who had talks at Old Trafford and Goodison Park yesterday, was released by Norwich City in 1988, but is now valued at pounds 1m. Howard Kendall, the Everton manager who announced his interest in the tall target man at the end of last season, rejoined the chase yesterday keen to add some height to his diminutive strike-force.

Oldham Athletic yesterday welcomed two new defenders, Steve Redmond and Neil Pointon completing their move from Manchester City with Rick Holden, the Oldham winger, departing for Maine Road. City will receive pounds 300,000 along with Holden.

Pointon's debut will be delayed as the former Everton full-back is still one game short of finishing a three-match suspension carried over from last season.

Kevin Keegan, the Newcastle United manager, has signed Peter Cormack Jnr, the son of one of his former Liverpool team-mates. Cormack, an 18-year-old centre- half, joined from Meadowbank Thistle for a small fee.

Marseille, the French champions, have signed Rafael Martin Vasquez, the 26-year-old Spanish international midfielder, from Torino for just under pounds 2.4m. He joined the Italian club from Real Madrid two years ago.