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Football: Kinkladze returns to Premiership in Derby loan deal

GEORGI KINKLADZE, the former Manchester City midfielder, yesterday moved from Ajax to Derby County, where he will remain on loan for the rest of the season.

The Georgian international, who will start training with Jim Smith's team today, may make permanent the move from the Dutch club, who signed him from City for around pounds 5m 18 months ago.

Smith, the Derby manager, said: "I think Georgi is the type of player the Derby public will enjoy." The 26-year-old will not be available for Saturday's game at Liverpool but, if a work permit is secured in time, he could make his Pride Park debut at home to Manchester United on 20 November.

David O'Leary, the Leeds United manager, is on a collision course with Fifa after his insistence that Harry Kewell will not be allowed to play in two friendlies for Australia against Brazil's Under-23 side later this month.

Football's world governing body has confirmed that the Australians have grounds for an appeal to force Leeds to release Kewell. The friendlies coincide with a 10-day break while England and Scotland meet in the Euro 2000 play-offs, but O'Leary said: "The bottom line is that Harry is a young player and I've got to look after him."

Kevin Phillips may be fit to join the England squad for the play-offs against Scotland. The Sunderland striker was carried off during his side's victory over Tottenham on Sunday, but fears of a long-term injury have receded.

A statement from Sunderland read: "Kevin has bruising to his right knee and to a bone on the outside of his left foot. He will be undergoing treatment during the course of this week and has not been ruled out of this weekend's game at Middlesbrough."

Scotland have climbed to 20th in the latest Fifa world rankings, up 18 places from 38th. England remain in 12th place while Wales have tumbled 13 places to 97th, below Togo and Qatar. The Republic of Ireland are 35th, Northern Ireland are 78th.

France's Nelly Viennot will become the first woman to officiate at a Champions' League match tomorrow when she runs the line in the Group E game between Molde and Real Madrid in Norway.