FOOTBALL: OLD PRO... ... BRIGHT YOUNG THING

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The Independent Online
SPENCER PRIOR

SOUTHEND UNITED, 33

The former Norwich, Derby and Manchester City centre-half enjoyed his best times as a member of Martin O'Neill's side at Leicester, his career reaching a peak in 1997 when he won a League Cup winners' medal. The Filbert Street side reached the sixth round of the FA Cup and finished ninth in the Premiership in the same season.

Sold to Derby for pounds 700,000 in 1998, he moved to Manchester City two years later and subsequently spent three years with Cardiff City before his career turned full circle last summer when he rejoined the Shrimpers, 11 years after a pounds 300,000 move from Roots Hall to Norwich.

Prior has ambitions in coaching but hopes first to help Southend win promotion to League One. "I want to give something back to them after the opportunities they have given me," he said.

CHRIS EAGLES

WATFORD, 19

Having left Watford for Manchester United as a 14-year-old, Chris Eagles jumped at the chance to return to his roots at Vicarage Road when the Hornets' manager Ray Lewington signed him on a three-month loan deal.

"It is a good move for me," he said. "The Championship is a big step up from youth football in terms of the strength and pace of the players but hopefully I can go back to United a better player. Plus I'm nearer home so my mum and dad will be able to see me play."

Lewington certainly sees opportunities for the midfielder, who has made six starts in his Old Trafford career so far but scored his first senior goal for Watford against Gillingham last weekend. "He has great potential," Lewington said. "Sir Alex [Ferguson] has been very good in letting us have him and I think he can help us."

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