FOOTBALL: Rovers in pounds 6m Dublin move

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The Independent Online
BLACKBURN ROVERS are making an ambitious pounds 6m bid to sign the striker Dion Dublin from Coventry City.

Roy Hodgson, Rovers' manager, has put in an offer for the powerful 29- year-old England international and hopes to have it accepted by Coventry before talking Dublin into the move.

Dublin has been upset by personal comments made by the Coventry chairman, Bryan Richardson, in a recent book and could be persuaded to leave. Blackburn have come in first, with Hodgson forced into the market by Chris Sutton's four-game ban, Kevin Gallacher's three-month injury and Kevin Davies' lack of goals.

However, Hodgson is facing big financial problems pushing through the transfer in time for Dublin to make his debut at Wimbledon on Saturday. The player has just signed a lucrative new contract at Coventry at around pounds 1m per year - and his wages are higher than any player at Blackburn.

Hodgson, though, is being strongly linked with a return to Internazionale in the Italian press, and Blackburn's owner, Jack Walker, will be unwilling to risk driving him out by blocking a major transfer.

The Rovers manager is on a short list if Inter fire their coach, Gigi Simone, after a bad run of results - a decision that may be taken later this week. Hodgson left Inter 18 months ago to join Blackburn but is still close to their president, Massimo Moratti, and has admitted that he would like to go back at some stage.

Blackburn completed the signing of the Swiss midfielder Oumar Konde from Basle yesterday. The initial fee is pounds 500,000, with more money in instalments. Rovers' unsettled centre-back Tore Pedersen has moved to the German club Eintracht Frankfurt for pounds 225,000. The Norwegian, bought by Hodgson from St Pauli last season, made just three League starts for the Ewood Park club.

Vinnie Jones, the former Wimbledon midfielder, could go back to his footballing roots - if he decides there is no future in his role at Queen's Park Rangers under their new manager, Gerry Francis.

Rangers' First Division rivals Watford, where Jones was once a member of the youth squad, are believed to be closely monitoring his situation at Loftus Road.

Since Francis returned for a second spell as QPR manager, Jones had not been seen at the club until yesterday, when he had a meeting with Loftus Road officials.

When Ray Harford was sacked from the QPR manager's job last month, Jones and the striker Iain Dowie were put in temporary charge of team-affairs, having already been given extra responsibilities as coaches. But while Dowie was immediately taken under Francis's wing as his No 2, Jones has not been offered a permanent position and may well be interested in a move to Vicarage Road.

The new Motherwell manager, Billy Davies, has signed the Manchester City midfielder Ged Brannan and the former Scotland striker John Spencer as he launches his Fir Park rebuilding programme.

The Scottish Premier League strugglers completed the pounds 378,000 signing of the 26-year-old Brannan on a three-year contract, while Spencer (who is married to Davies' sister) has arrived on loan from Everton with a view to securing a permanent move.

The Huddersfield Town manager, Peter Jackson, flew to Sweden yesterday to try to complete the pounds 500,000 signing of the centre-back Jesper Mattsson from Halmstad.

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