Football: Record crowd expected

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The Independent Online
THE ATTENDANCE record for an England Under-21 international will be broken when Peter Taylor's side take on France at Derby's Pride Park tonight.

More than 30,000 tickets have been bought in advance and the game seems almost certain to be a 33,000 sell-out - even though there is not a single Rams player in the squad to boost local interest.

The turn-out will surpass the previous best for an Under-21 game in November 1994 when 25,863 saw England defeat the Republic of Ireland at St James' Park.

The last international to be staged at Derby was an Under-23 match against Scotland at the Baseball Ground in 1972 when the England side included Kevin Keegan, Alan Hudson, Mike Channon and Malcolm MacDonald.

Taylor has suffered two further withdrawals from his squad with the Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris, who suffered a dead leg against Southampton on Saturday, and Everton striker Danny Cadamarteri (illness) ruled out. They join the Manchester United defender Wes Brown, who pulled out on Sunday with a sore shin. Brown was replaced by Bradford's Andrew O'Brien but Taylor will not be calling up any further replacements.

David O'Leary is angry with England after being forced to release Jonathon Woodgate and Alan Smith. The Leeds duo have been called into the Under-18 squad to face France at Wycombe's Adams Park tonight despite picking up injuries during Saturday's 1-0 defeat at home to Newcastle. The Leeds manager was hoping centre-back Woodgate and striker Smith, who have become integral members of United's first team this season, would be released from international duty.