Football: Listed Sharpe keen to show his worth

Click to follow
The Independent Online
LEE SHARPE, placed on the transfer list yesterday by Leeds United, believes he can do for his next club what Marc Overmars has done for Arsenal.

Howard Wilkinson might have been thinking along similar lines when he paid Manchester United pounds 4.5m to bring him to Elland Road just over two years ago. The move had not proved particularly successful for the 27- year-old former England winger - and Sharpe has been told by Leeds' new manager, David O'Leary, that he did not figure in his future plans.

His chance of reproducing the exciting form he showed in his early career was hampered by a knee ligament injury pre-season last year, which ruled him out of the entire 1997-98 campaign. Although he started the opening game of this season, neither O'Leary nor his predecessor, George Graham, have given him a run in the side.

Sharpe believes he still has what it takes to perform at the highest level. He said: "If I'm not going to be part of David's plans then I've got to swallow my pride, suck the lemon, wipe my mouth and move on to the next thing in life. The last thing I need now is to be sitting on the bench and not being involved. It has been 18 months now since I had a run. I just need games."

Fulham have been linked with Sharpe, but it is more likely that Southampton, Everton or Sheffield Wednesday could make a move, while Benfica have also been mentioned.

Money will also play its part as Leeds will want to recoup as much as possible of the pounds 4.5m fee they paid for Sharpe. O'Leary is refusing to set any minimum limit, although it is believed around pounds 1.5m would be enough to see him move away from a club where he has made only 37 league and cup appearances in 28 months.

Halifax Town have banned their captain, Kevin Hulme, for two weeks for his part in a 20-player brawl during the Third Division match against Chester on Tuesday. The midfielder, who has also been also fined a fortnight's wages, will miss tonight's FA Cup first-round tie at Manchester City.

Halifax's chairman, Jim Brown, said: "The match video makes horrific viewing. The things happening on the field were disgraceful and Halifax Town Football Club cannot and will not tolerate scenes like that."

Hulme, shown a red card along with Chester's Chris Priest for violent conduct, attempted to chase after his opposite number as Priest made his way down the tunnel but was restrained by his player-manager, Kieran O'Regan, and stewards.

Halifax will also be without the striker Steve Guinan, as he has returned to Nottingham Forest after a one-month loan spell.

For their part, City will have to make enforced changes. The defender Richard Edghill is ruled out with a suspected broken toe and the striker Michael Branch, on loan from Everton, is ineligible. But the captain, Jamie Pollock, is back in the squad after a hernia operation and suspension as Royle bids to bounce back from the mid-week League defeat at Wycombe.

"Halifax are flying at the moment and they will provide a very tough test for us," Royle said. "If we play to our full potential we can win. The lads are ready for it and a good Cup run would bring in much-needed cash. We have to make Maine Road a fortress."

The last time the two clubs met was in the third round of the Cup on 3 January 1980 when Halifax, of the Fourth Division, beat then First Division City 1-0 at The Shay.

The Under-18 tournament in Israel that England were scheduled to play in has been postponed at the last minute due to the worsening political situation in Iraq. European football's governing body, Uefa, has called off next week's event, involving Spain, Andorra and Israel, after a plea from the Football Association.