Football: Republic and City hit by Quinn injury

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NIALL QUINN, Manchester City's premier striker, will miss the rest of the season - and probably the Republic of Ireland's World Cup campaign in the United States - after an exploratory operation yesterday revealed he has severed cruciate ligaments in his knee, writes Henry Winter.

'It is a devastating blow for us,' Brian Horton, the City manager, said of the injury Quinn sustained against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. 'We do not know when he will be back for us. It will be a very long time.'

The 27-year-old Dubliner, who will undergo an operation in three weeks' time to stitch the ligament together, is a key component in Jack Charlton's Irish game plan and his possible absence could allow Chelsea's Tony Cascarino, a more modest version of the muscular target man, to become the Republic's forward fulcrum. Charlton refused to discount Quinn playing in America, but the man himself sounded less hopeful: 'I can play my part in cheering them on.'

Graham Taylor, the former England manager, has informed Birmingham he is not interested in the managerial vacancy at St Andrews.

Oldham Athletic considerably strengthened their front-line yesterday by buying Bradford City's Sean McCarthy in a pounds 500,000 deal.

Uefa's executive committee meets today and tomorrow to discuss the future shape of the European Cup. One proposal is the doubling in size of the Champions' League, which currently involves eight clubs. Six would enter automatically, while another 20 clubs would play off to produce a 16-team competition split in four mini-leagues.