Football: McFarland in control

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Roy McFarland, the former England international, returned to managership yesterday when it was announced that he has taken charge of Cambridge United. McFarland, who was capped 28 times by England, has signed an 18-month contract and is already preparing the Third Division promotion challengers for Saturday's FA Cup first-round tie against Welling.

McFarland had spells in charge of Derby (twice) and Bradford City before taking Bolton into the Premiership. He left Burnden Park eight months ago. At Cambridge, he succeeds Tommy Taylor, who left the Abbey Stadium to take over at Leyton Orient last week.

Reg Smart, the Cambridge chairman, revealed there were 36 applications for the job. "There were some interesting people among them, but we decided instead to approach three people we thought more suitable. We interviewed them all yesterday and they were all very impressive. I would recommend the other two, whom it wouldn't be right to name, to any club, but Roy McFarland stood out as the man for this job," he said.

The Birmingham manager, Trevor Francis, is ready to sell the former Orient and Plymouth midfielder Steve Castle, bought by Barry Fry for pounds 225,000 last year. Southend are believed to be interested.