Football: Leeds deter Rangers from Graham bid

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The Independent Online
Leeds have moved to ward off any attempt by Rangers to approach their manager, George Graham, by preparing to offer him a new, improved contract.

Graham and Newcastle's Kenny Dalglish are believed to be high on Rangers' wanted list to succeed Walter Smith, who is to leave his job at the end of the season.

Peter Ridsdale, the Leeds chairman, said: "We have had absolutely no contact from Rangers. Before all this blew up I had informal discussions with George about extending and improving his existing contract.

"I expect to see it through to a satisfactory conclusion and we will be holding further talks with George in the very near future."

Graham's present contract at Elland Road has a season and a half to run. He said: "The link with Rangers is pure speculation. There has been no contact with them whatsoever."

The Football Association has said it is to take no further action over claims by the Tottenham midfielder David Howells that players had won up to pounds 30,000 in a betting coup on the time of a game's first throw-in.

An FA spokesman said that Howells had been asked to clarify his comments, but had actually been referring to "anecdotal evidence from a game in the late 1980s" and did not have any solid proof of wrongdoing.

The FA also defended itself from calls over the weekend by the West Ham manager, Harry Redknapp, for any players found to have been guilty of putting money on opponents - following last week's report into betting in the professional game - to be named.

Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, is confident Ryan Giggs will be fit to face Feyenoord in tomorrow's Champions' League match in Rotterdam.

Giggs has a slight hamstring injury and missed Saturday's 6-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Old Trafford, but Ferguson expects him to ready for the Group B match. Denis Irwin, who is having treatment on a thigh strain, is the only doubtful starter.

The Everton defender Slaven Bilic and John Gregory, the Wycombe manager, have been fined for comments they made to referees.

The FA found the Croat international guilty of a misconduct charge and fined him pounds 1,000 for remarks he made to Graham Poll during Everton's match against Newcastle at St James' Park on 24 September.

The FA fined Gregory pounds 500 and severely censored him for comments he made to Steve Bennett during Wycombe's match against Preston at Adams Park on 27 September.

Coventry are set to sign the Bosnian international Enes Demerovic from the Slovenian champions Gorica. The 25-year-old midfielder, who played for Sarajevo before the Bosnian war, has impressed while playing in practice matches for the Midlands club.

Brighton have been forced to put their four best-paid players up for sale because of a cash crisis.

The Seagulls' new board, led by chairman Dick Knight, have made veteran strikers Ian Baird and Craig Maskell and defenders Mark Morris and John Humphrey available for transfer.