Football: Rovers may face battle for Eriksson

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The Independent Online
Blackburn Rovers' plans to secure Sven Goran Eriksson's managerial services next season are being tested by interest from the Italian club Lazio.

The Swedish coach has signed a contract with Rovers stating that he will join them at the end of his contract with Sampdoria in June, but Lazio sacked their Polish coach Zdenek Zeman yesterday after a poor run of results and are expected to make an approach for Eriksson.

He may be persuaded to change his mind as the Lazio job interested him in the past, and sources at Blackburn have revealed that Eriksson's recent meetings with the Blackburn management have not gone well because of differences of opinion on appointments, signings and future strategy.

Peter Storrie, West Ham's managing director, is refusing to be tied down by Michael Tabor's deadline for an answer to his offer to buy the club. Tabor has made repeated bids but has been frustrated by a lack of response from Upton Park. He originally set the deadline for Friday, but yesterday he said from Barbados, where he is on holiday: "If we do not hear within seven days it is going to be too late to do anything about this season. Events will overtake us."

For his part, Storrie said: "The chairman is looking at a range of offers, which will remain confidential." West Ham's problems mounted yesterday when the Football Association asked them for an explanation of Saturday's pitch invasion - the second at Upton Park this season.

Teddy Sheringham, the Tottenham striker, is almost certain to miss England's World Cup qualifier with Italy at Wembley next month after breaking down on his first day back in training since damaging his ankle at the start of the month.

Eric Cantona has been given a two-game suspension following his yellow card during Manchester United's FA Cup match with Wimbledon on Saturday. He will miss the fifth-round tie against QPR if United win thereplay, as well as the Premiership game at Arsenal on 19 February.

Bradford City's FA Cup hero Robert Steiner is to call an early end to his three-month loan period and return to the Swedish club Norrkoping after turning down a permanent move.

Graham Fenton, the Blackburn striker, could be out of action for up to a month after a scan revealed medial ligament damage sustained in a reserve- team game at Birmingham last week.