Football: QPR move for Ripley could set up Sinclair sale

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The Independent Online
Stuart Ripley, the Blackburn Rovers winger, is lined up for a pounds 1m move to Queen's Park Rangers this week - paving the way for the sale of Trevor Sinclair.

Ripley has been stuck in Rovers' reserves after a comeback from injury, and the QPR assistant manager, Bruce Rioch, watched him play in a midweek second-team game.

Ripley has also been chased by West Bromwich Albion, but they are more interested in a loan deal. Rangers can cash in on Sinclair by selling him to Leeds for pounds 6m - with an imminent deal possible if they can sort out a replacement.

The Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson, has rubbished press reports emanating from Italy that he has launched a pounds 5m bid for Milan's Croatian midfielder, Zvonimir Boban. "We have not approached Milan and we have had no contact with the player either," Ferguson said.

The Aston Villa forward Tommy Johnson is still pondering a move back to Derby County, who have agreed a pounds 2m fee - which will rise if they stay up - for their former player. Johnson will make his decision on Monday.

Derby's two new signings from Costa Rica may not be able to play for them until next season because of work permit difficulties. Derby paid about pounds 1m for the striker Paulo Cesar Wanchope and the midfielder Mauricio Solis, who have both signed three-year contracts. Wanchope scored a hat- trick for Costa Rica in a friendly against Cameroon last Sunday.

Blackburn's caretaker manager, Tony Parkes, yesterday confirmed that several of his club's players were asked to leave a VIP lounge at the Cheltenham Festival this week. There have been media allegations of players becoming involved in alcohol-influenced escapades during a day out at the races.

"There was an incident in a VIP lounge," Parkes admitted. "The players were asked to leave and they did, watching the rest of the racing from outside. I believe it couldn't have been that bad, for they weren't asked to leave the course. That's all we've got to say. We want to nip it in the bud and concentrate back on the football."

Everton have opened talks to leave Goodison Park for a purpose-built stadium in Kirkby - but the move has sparked protests from some supporters, who are angry at plans to leave the club's traditional home.

Everton's chairman, Peter Johnson, confirmed that plans for a proposed new home for the club on the site of Kirkby Municipal Golf Course were being prepared. "We are preparing artists' impressions and will publish a coupon asking for people's votes on it," he said.

Chris Whyte, the 35-year-old former Arsenal, Leeds and Charlton defender, has joined Oxford United for the rest of the season.