Football: Leeds allow Kewell to play for Australia

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The Independent Online
FRANK FARINA, the Australia national team coach, is relieved that Harry Kewell, the Leeds United midfielder, has been given permission by his club to join the Socceroos for one of their two friendlies against Brazil's Under-23 side this month.

David O'Leary, the Leeds manager, had resisted the idea of letting Kewell return home over the Premiership's 10-day break during which Euro 2000 play-off games are played, insisting his player needed to rest. Kewell had said he was "gutted" about not being released, but Fifa, football's world governing body, brokered a compromise which allows the winger to play in the first match on 14 November.

"We've obviously made a significant progression in the talks and having this confirmation in writing from the club is very comforting," Farina said.

Internazionale, meanwhile, are upset about Brazil's decision to call up Ronaldo for the match rather than play him in the full-international friendly against Spain the day before. The Italian club have filed an appeal to Fifa.

Stan Collymore could be returning to Nottingham Forest in time to play against Norwich City tomorrow. The Aston Villa striker, sold by Forest to Liverpool for pounds 8.5m in 1995, is expected to move to the City Ground on loan with a view to a permanent move.

"We have discussed terms with Villa and if all goes to plan we would like Stan to train with us tomorrow and play for us on Saturday," David Platt, the Forest manager said. "There's no questioning his ability, and I firmly believe in the current market that if you have a player of his ability in the First Division he will be a great bonus."

Forest are looking to replace Ian Wright, who had been on loan from West Ham but who joined Celtic last week. Whether Collymore's move will go ahead remains to be seen, as the 28-year-old said: "If Forest are interested in taking me then I will consider it, although there is a saying about not going back."

Meanwhile, Villa are reported to have turned down a bid of around pounds 1m from Derby for their midfielder Mark Draper.

Bryan Robson, the Middlesbrough manager, has dismissed reports that their midfielder Keith O'Neill suffered a broken jaw in a nightclub incident. It was alleged the Republic of Ireland player had sustained a fracture at a nightclub on Saturday. Robson, however, said that the 23-year-old was unhurt in a minor incident.

"These things happen when you have youngsters together," Robson said. "It's the first incident of this kind since I came here five and a half years ago. There was a problem. It has been sorted out and, as far as I'm concerned, it was all a storm in a teacup."

Sheffield Wednesday supporters have formed an independent pressure group in an attempt to change the personnel in the Hillsborough boardroom. The Wednesday Independent Supporters' Association claim that new blood is needed on the board if the club are to avoid "the annual soap opera of relegation struggles". WISA have pledged to consider demonstrations, boycotting official merchandise and urging a season-ticket sales strike.

Wednesday are adrift at the foot of the Premiership and a WISA statement said: "We've been told the directors want to compete at the highest level. It looks as if that means the highest level of the Nationwide League. This is not a campaign against Danny Wilson's team management, or against the players, but we no longer retain confidence in the competence of the board."