Football: Rangers ready to resurrect Jansen's career

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The Independent Online
RANGERS are ready to bid for Blackburn's forgotten man Matt Jansen - and give the Rovers owner, Jack Walker, his money back.

Talks between the Scottish champions and Blackburn are at an advanced stage. Jansen has been out of the Rovers side since the sacking of Brian Kidd and could be signed before a new manager is installed. A Rangers scout, Ewan Chester, this week saw Jansen play for Blackburn's reserves, scoring one stunning goal and making another.

The Ibrox club are poised to offer Blackburn around pounds 3.5m for the player who would replace the injured Michael Mols.

Paul Ritchie has turned down a move to Derby County and decided to stay with Hearts and let his contract run out. The Scotland defender refused Derby's offer of a pounds 400,000-per-year contract. Meanwhile, Derby's Spencer Prior is still talking over a pounds 500,000 move to Hearts and could sign in the next 24 hours.

Doug Ellis, the Aston Villa chairman, has re-affirmed his support for his manager John Gregory - and is also hoping that Wednesday's Worthington Cup defeat of Southampton will start an upturn in fortunes.

Speculation has been rife that Gregory's 21-month reign has been under threat after Villa collected just three points from eight Premiership matches. But the 4-0 demolition of the Saints has eased the tension and now Villa, who will visit West Ham in the quarter- finals, are looking for an improvement in their league fortunes when they entertain Newcastle tomorrow.

Ellis said: "I have been supporting the Villa manager. I always have done. In fairness we have been playing quite well and losing. The collective spirit within the dressing room has been good but we haven't had the breaks for one reason or another.

"On Wednesday we did everything that was necessary. We worked terribly hard and got the goals. It will be even better if we can also win against Newcastle on Saturday."

Gregory insisted: "I have not been getting the support from the media but the chairman has been terrific. Our relationship has been just the same as it was on day one when I came here 21 months ago."

Paul Gascoigne's adviser, Mel Stein, has moved quickly to deny speculation that the midfielder is set to quit English football for the United States. The 32-year-old has failed to command a regular place in Bryan Robson's Middlesbrough side this season, but Stein insists his client is remaining at the Riverside Stadium.

"It is absolute nonsense. We have had no approaches whatsoever from MLS [Major League Soccer]; nor, as far as we are aware, have Middlesbrough Football Club," Stein said yesterday. Middlesbrough have also denied any US link. "There is no truth in it whatsoever," said a club spokesman, Dave Allen. "Paul is under contract until the end of next season."

Huddersfield Town have vowed to seek compensation over what they have described as a "ludicrous" and "disgraceful" refereeing performance that they believe may have robbed them of a money-spinning appearance in the last eight of the Worthington Cup.

Huddersfield's chairman, Ian Ayre, is fuming over the referee Jeff Winter's decision not to award Huddersfield a 90th-minute penalty when Clyde Wijnhard looked to have been fouled in the area in their side's 2-1 extra-time defeat at home to Wimbledon on Tuesday night, and also by Winter's explanation to the manager, Steve Bruce.

"He said that, while he had seen the incident and agreed it would have been a penalty, he had not given it because their player was fouled by Wijnhard before he then wrestled him to the ground," Ayre said yesterday. "That being the case, our view is that he should have given the foul - but he did not give either."

Marcus Gayle has signed an extension to his current contract that will keep him at Wimbledon until 2003.

Birmingham City's pounds 1.5m striker Paul Furlong is to spend a further two months on the sidelines after breaking down in training. The former Chelsea player has not played for Trevor Francis's side since sustaining a knee injury at Walsall on 8 October.

The Raith Rovers manager, John McVeigh, has left the Scottish First Division club by mutual consent. The assistant manager, Peter Hetherston, has taken temporary charge.

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