Football: Saunders' 20-goal target for Forest

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The Independent Online
Dean Saunders returned to the Premiership yesterday talking a good game. The 31-year-old striker completed his pounds 1.5m move from Galatasaray with the intention of ending Nottingham Forest's search for a goalscorer by bagging at least 20 next season.

Saunders, who spent a year in Turkey, scoring 21 goals in 28 games, has been recruited to give Forest the firepower that Campbell, Lee, Silenzi and Co failed to deliver last season.

"I always set myself a target of 20 goals each season and I'm not going to change now," the former Derby, Liverpool and Aston Villa forward said. "I can't promise to score 20 goals but I feel certain I will be able to improve the team at Forest."

Having upgraded the front end, Frank Clark, the Forest manager, intends to strengthen the back by signing the Croat international Nikola Jerkan. Clark has agreed a pounds 1m fee with Real Oviedo, which will take his spending for the summer to pounds 3m. A work permit for the 31-year-old defender, who played in the Euro 96 quarter-final against Germany, has still to be secured but Forest do not envisage any problems.

The Danish international striker Mikkel Beck begins pre-season training today with a Middlesbrough team whose disciplinary record has led to Bryan Robson making an embarrassing appearance before the Football Association.

The Boro player-manager, who worked as assistant to the England coach, Terry Venables, during Euro 96, will face a disciplinary commission in Manchester on 9 August. The club will be hoping the powers of persuasion he brought to bear on the pounds 4m Emerson and the pounds 7m Fabrizio Ravanelli will deter the FA from handing the club a heavy fine.

The former Premiership clubs, Queen's Park Rangers and Manchester City, are also on the carpet, as are Portsmouth, Luton, Millwall, Gillingham and Hartlepool.

Beck is believed to have signed for Middlesbrough even though he has been involved in a dispute with Fortuna Cologne, who demanded a transfer fee because they claimed they had a year's option on his expired contract. A preliminary court hearing in Germany supported Beck, though the decision has yet to be ratified.

Manchester United have experienced "a slight hitch" concerning the pounds 3.5m transfer of Karel Poborsky, the Czech Republic midfielder from Slavia Prague. Negotiations were postponed at the weekend, but Maurice Watkins, United's legal director, described the delay as "nothing serious".

Fernando Nelson, the 26-year-old Portuguese international right-back, will arrive in Birmingham tomorrow to sort out personal terms with Aston Villa over his pounds 1.75m move from Sporting Lisbon.

Heading out of the country could be Claus Thomsen, Ipswich Town's Danish utility player, who is wanted by Torino.

A tribunal has ruled that QPR will have to observe a sell-on agreement and pay pounds 350,000 to Tottenham Hotspur for the striker Steve Slade. Rangers had offered pounds 100,000 for the England Under-21 international.

The spectator who caught the Euro 96 final ball after it was kicked into the Wembley crowd by a jubilant German player has given it to the makers of the crown jewels for safe keeping.

Peter Gibbons, a 33-year-old carpenter from South Harrow, has refused four-figure sums for the ball and has accepted an offer from Garrards to keep it in the same safe where the Premiership trophy is held. "I am very nervous about having it. I have lost sleep and I am off my food," he said.

The Referees' Association president, Peter Willis, has joined the call for the golden goal rule to be scrapped. "In my view, it is unnatural and brings a brutal end to a game," Willis said.

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