FOOTBALL: Royle could offer Kidd lifeline at City

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BRIAN KIDD trained with Manchester City yesterday amid speculation that the former Blackburn Rovers manager is about to join Joe Royle's backroom team.

Kidd was at City's Platt Lane complex at the invitation of two of his oldest friends, Royle and his assistant, Willie Donachie. Kidd watched over the training session with Royle, who said: "Brian was only in for a cup of tea and a look around."

Kidd, who used to play for both Manchester clubs and was formerly assistant manager at Manchester United, has not yet finalised a pay-off with Blackburn but is understood to be keen to get back to work as soon as possible. Kidd has also been linked with a part-time post with Wales if Mark Hughes becomes manager of the national side.

City, meanwhile, have made a new offer for the Gillingham striker, Robert Taylor. City have offered pounds 1.5m plus Danny Allsopp, a young Australian striker who is currently on loan at Notts County. Royle hopes to have the deal concluded by the end of the week, but will not be able to rush a transfer through before the game against Barnsley tomorrow.

Three members of the Birmingham City party involved in the so-called "Battle of Ancona" four years ago will learn on Thursday whether they will face charges in connection with the incident. A judge in Ancona will give a ruling after a lengthy inquiry by the Italian police into the case.

The Birmingham defender, Michael Johnson, the former captain, Liam Daish, and former coach, David Howell, will find out if they must stand trial after an incident that left Massimo Cacciatori, the Ancona coach, in hospital with severe facial wounds. The incident came at the end of a stormy Anglo- Italian Cup tie.

Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, wants a watchdog body to sit in judgement on footballers' behaviour on the pitch. Taylor believes it is time to act after a weekend which saw Manchester United players accused of getting Derby's Stefan Schnoor sent off and West Ham's Trevor Sinclair winning a controversial penalty that helped defeat Sheffield Wednesday. Taylor called for a weekly panel of experts to cast their eyes over video evidence and punish players with fines or suspensions if their fair play standards slip.

Taylor said: "You've got to be realistic. These things will happen on the pitch but it doesn't stop you doing all you can to impress the highest standards of fair play on players and managers."

Taylor wants a weekly fair play panel to sit in judgment on issues, including diving or over-elaborating injuries, and with power to crack down on wrongdoers.

The Football Association, which is already considering setting up a TV jury to review video evidence of controversial incidents, currently looks after all disciplinary matters but Taylor believes a collective body representing referees, players and managers makes more sense.

Steve Walsh, Leicester's long-serving defender, is poised to come off the transfer list and has set his sights on earning a new contract at the age of 35. The former Filbert Street captain, whose current deal expires in June, asked to go on the list in the summer after not securing the two-year contract he felt he deserved.

Walsh completed his first 90 minutes since the Worthington Cup final in March when he played in Saturday's Premiership win over Wimbledon after a long-term groin problem. He confirmed: "I'm going to speak to the manager about it first but I'll probably be coming off the transfer list.

"I can see now what I've got to do. I've just got to knuckle down for the next few months and get on with my game, and hopefully there's a role to play here still. I went on the list because I was hoping to sign a two-year contract - a last contract of my career - and Leicester have still not offered me anything else.

"I've got to look to my future, with an eye on moving into coaching, and if someone came in with a good deal I would have to consider it. But there was no way I ever really wanted to leave Leicester. I would think the manager will probably leave things until right to the end of the season, which I don't really want.

"But if I can keep putting in a few more good performances then it might make him come to a decision and will earn me a new contract."

Walsh suffered a serious groin injury in the opening match of the season at Arsenal and admitted: "I did think to myself, 'Is this it? Is this the end?' because it was quite bad. But I feel fine now and I've just got to get my match fitness."