Football: Rovers say Le Saux is going nowhere

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The Independent Online
Roy Hodgson, the Blackburn manager, said yesterday he expected Graeme Le Saux to be in his squad for their friendly against Aberdeen on Wednesday, despite reports that he is on the brink of a pounds 6m move to Arsenal.

The England left-back was missing from the Rovers side who beat West Brom 1-0 in their pre-season friendly at The Hawthorns yesterday, but Hodgson said afterwards that Le Saux had been left behind in Blackburn for a training session with a string of other players.

Hodgson said he was not aware of any deal being struck with Arsenal and added: "We don't need to sell and I don't want to sell. But I don't want players who will not be happy to play for me or the club."

Blackburn's owner, Jack Walker, insisted the defender had not been given permission to talk to any other club. He also said no decision had been made on whether Le Saux's transfer request would be granted, or whether he would be told to see out the remaining two years of his contract. Walker said: "He has not had permission to talk to anybody, absolutely definitely not."

The 28-year-old Channel Islander moved from Chelsea for pounds 800,000 in 1992, and this season he has fought his way back into the England side after a long lay-off with a broken ankle.

Roy Evans, the Liverpool manager, expects to sign a new striker next week, despite two goals from Michael Owen in a 2-1 victory over Irish part-timers Linfield yesterday. Evans believes that the teenager needs more time to develop while Robbie Fowler requires more experienced support in attack.

"Michael's a marvellous prospect and I've no doubt he can do a job for us this season," Evans said. "But he's only a young lad and it would be foolhardy to expect him to play in all the games. We need another striker to complement both Michael and Robbie and are hopeful of completing a new signing later in the week."

Fabrizio Ravanelli will be left behind when Middlesbrough leave for a three-match tour of Northern Ireland tomorrow.

Bryan Robson, the Middlesbrough manager, wants Ravanelli to build up his fitness after missing the opening weeks of pre-season training through transfer negotiations. Former Arsenal player Paul Merson will miss the opening tour matches against Portadown and Newry because of a sciatica problem.

At home, Boro have reduced their away capacity at the Riverside Stadium to put an extra 1,800 season tickets on sale. Their first allocation has already sold out.

Bruce Grobbelaar will not be playing for Zimbabwe in their crucial African Nations' Cup qualifying tie in Angola today. Ian Porterfield, the Zimbabwe coach, asked English court authorities to release the former Liverpool goalkeeper from the trial in which he is one of four men facing match-fixing charges.

However, defence lawyers said it would not be advisable for Grobbelaar to leave the country as the case in Winchester is drawing to a close.