Football: Keane to consult German expert on injury

MANCHESTER UNITED are sending Roy Keane to the leading German injury expert, Dr Hans Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, in the hope that he can sort out the midfielder's persistent hamstring problem.

The Republc of Ireland international is being badly affected by the injury that could mean him missing United's matches for at least the next month.

Keane is also suffering pain in his knee, which is believed to stem from the new running style he has adopted since cruciate ligament surgery. Wohlfahrt will try to plan a new training programme for him.

Aside from aiding United's campaigns this season, Keane wants his problems solved as he head into the most important spell of his career, with his contract expiring at the end of the season.

Wohlfahrt is considered the leader in his field in Europe and should be able to diagnose the origin of Keane's problems and decide how best to deal with them.

Other players who have suffered cruciate trouble in the past have had a knock-on effect with their hamstrings, which means that they need to do special training to avoid the prospect of breaking down regularly.

Keane first damaged his hamstring on international duty, but felt more discomfort last week and had to pull out of a proposed comeback so that he could rest the injury.

There was better news for Manchester United on their appeal against the life ban that was imposed on their young defender, Ronnie Wallwork, by a Belgian court after he was accused of manhandling a referee while playing for United's Belgian partner club, Royal Antwerp.

Wallwork's punishment has been cut to a three-year ban, two of which will be suspended. The remaining year's ban will apply only in Belgium, which leaves him free to play in England or elsewhere in the world. United's Danny Higginbotham, who had been banned for one year for his part in the fracas, has had his sentence cut to four months. The defender will be free to play again from 26 September.

Wallwork and Higginbotham were on loan at Royal Antwerp when the incident happened at the end of a Belgian Second Division play-off match at the end of last season.