Football: Robson a loser over keepers

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The Independent Online
Middlesbrough's season is threatening to lurch from the sublime to the ridiculous. Following his latest defeat, another failed appeal to the Premier League, Boro's manager, Bryan Robson, is facing the possibility of using Neil Cox, a former England Under-21 right-back, as an emergency goalkeeper against Aston Villa at the Riverside Stadium tomorrow.

Robson's four goalkeepers are all on the injured list - Mark Schwarzer has a calf problem, Ben Roberts has a swollen arm, Gary Walsh is recovering from a knee operation and Alan Miller has a suspected broken hand - and he was yesterday refused permission to borrow a goalkeeper to help his relegation-threatened side through four League games in eight days.

A Premier League spokesman said last night: "The request has been turned down. The position is perfectly clear. You can't sign players after the deadline and expect to play them in matches affecting the championship or relegation."

Robson said: "If you've got four goalkeepers out injured surely there's got to be a dispensation. As it stands, we'll just have to wrap Ben Roberts in cotton wool. The player we've always said would go in goal in an emergency is Neil Cox."

Chelsea have, as expected, beaten off interest from Italy and Spain to sign the Uruguayan midfielder Gustavo Poyet. The 29-year-old international will go to Stamford Bridge on 30 June on a free transfer, under the Bosman ruling, when his contract ends with Spain's Real Zaragoza.

Ian Wright is in trouble with the Football Association again. The Arsenal striker has been summoned to Lancaster Gate as a result of comments he allegedly made to the referee, Mike Riley, at the end of Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Blackburn.

Jim Smith, Derby County manager, has made a pounds 3.5m offer to Monaco for the French international Emmanuel Petit, who can play left-back, centre- back or in midfield.

West Bromwich's chairman, Tony Hale, may call on the club's former manager, Alan Buckley, to help to resolve a contract dispute with the striker Paul Peschisolido. The Canadian asked for a transfer this week, claiming that Albion had broken promises made when Buckley signed him for pounds 600,000 last summer. Buckley is suing Albion after being sacked by the club in January and failing to agree compensation.