Football: Keane and Stam ready to play

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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER UNITED'S campaign on three fronts received a fillip yesterday with the news that Jaap Stam and possibly Roy Keane may be available for the crucial game against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, writes Alan Nixon.

While Stam, who has a sore Achilles heel, was only taken off at half- time against Blackburn on Wednesday as a precaution, Keane left Middlesbrough last Sunday on crutches after suffering a bruised left ankle.

"The swelling has gone down and the bruising come out and he's jogging now which will help circulation," the United manager Alex Ferguson said. "The next step is kicking the ball but I think he will be able to play even if he is only 70 per cent fit."

There was further encouraging news for United yesterday when Bayern Munich's Bixente Lizarazu limped out of training. The French left-back, who has been out for six weeks with a torn left knee ligament, felt pain and had to abandon the session.

The Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said Lizarazu would definitely not play at Nuremberg on Sunday but refused to speculate on whether the 29- year-old Basque would be fit in time for the European Cup final.

Barcelona are facing a potential row over ticket sales for the final, with a Spanish newspaper reporting that 33 club directors have been handed 50 tickets apiece. United and Bayern Munich have each received 30,000 tickets for their fans.

David Ginola has ended speculation over his future by signing a new three- year contract with Tottenham. Ginola's future was uncertain, despite his two Player of the Year awards, but now the 32-year-old Frenchman has agreed a deal which could see him end his playing career with Tottenham.

Also close to agreement with his club was the on-loan Kevin Campbell, who has agreed to take a pay cut to sign for Everton. He is expected to sign for around pounds 16,000 a week, which is a drop of close to pounds 500,000 a year on his contract with Trabzonspor.

The only sticking point may be the fee. The Turks want pounds 3m, while at the moment Everton can only find about pounds 2.5m. The other option is that Campbell returns to Turkey - which he is desperate to avoid.

Wolves have offered a new one-year contract to Keith Curle. The 35-year- old defender comes to the end of his current agreement this summer.

The Scottish Premier League and Sky TV have come under pressure to scrap Sunday evening kick-offs next season. Scotland's senior police officers have called for changes in the 6.05pm scheduling following the mayhem at the Old Firm game last week. There were 113 arrests when fighting broke out after Rangers beat Celtic 3-0 to secure the Scottish title.

The former Ranger Pieter Huistra could be on his way back to Scotland, albeit with Kilmarnock. The 32-year-old midfielder is available on a free transfer in the summer, when he will be out of contract at his Belgian club, Lierse.

West Ham are hoping to sign Nottingham's Forest defender Richard Gough, who has been on loan for the past two months from America's Major League Soccer. He is expected to go to Upton Park in the summer.

Des Lyttle has rejected Forest's offer of a new contract after being offered a 12-month deal on vastly reduced terms.

Paolo Di Canio is set to be sued by Sheffield Wednesday fans following the loss of the Player of the Year trophy awarded by London Owls last year. A solicitor has been instructed to issue proceedings for the value of the pounds 85 trophy, plus costs.

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