Football: Setback for United as Keane faces knee operation

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The Independent Online
ROY KEANE has been told he must undergo surgery in order to clear up a troublesome knee injury, leaving Manchester United to hope that their captain's enforced absence will not disrupt the club's quest for European and domestic glory.

Keane will be missing for up to a month after the operation and the United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, is considering the best time to have the problem resolved. Keane has already missed a couple of games before returning against Sturm Graz in the Champions' League on Wednesday, only to aggravate the injury. Sir Alex said: "The indications are that he'll go through surgery to have the knee cleaned out."

Keane, named yesterday in the Republic of Ireland squad for the European Championship qualifying tie against Macedonia in Skopje on 9 October, said that he is becoming frustrated. "It's annoying more than anything else," he said. "If you have a broken leg at least that heals, but these niggling injuries go on and on. It plays on your mind more than anything and I just hope it settles down."

Keane will miss today's Premiership home match with Southampton and is doubtful for Wednesday's Champions' League tie with Marseilles at Old Trafford. Sir Alex said: "We're probably looking at next Sunday against Chelsea for him."

Everton have added to their increasingly potent striking force by signing Tommy Johnson on loan from Celtic with a view to a permanent deal after the initial three-month spell. Johnson joined Celtic from Aston Villa in 1997 for pounds 2.3m but his career with in Glasgow was hampered by injury.

The tortuous boardroom machinations that are clouding Leicester City's season could be resolved next week when the Foxes' chairman, John Elsom, and the club's plc chief executive, Sir Rodney Walker, are due to hold talks with the so-called "Gang of Four", chief executive Barrie Pierpoint and directors Gilbert Kinch, Roy Parker and Phil Smith. However, with the two factions deadlocked, Elsom believes the club's shareholders may ultimately decide who obtains control at Filbert Street. He said: "I believe it could go to the shareholders to decide this matter, either at the up and coming AGM or at an EGM although the two could be effectively rolled into one on the same day."

Leicester's manager, Martin O'Neill, a supporter of the Elsom-Walker faction, has been prevented from giving his views on the struggle in today's programme. His notes will not appear for the third edition running.

Samassi Abou's transfer to Hibernian has collapsed, the 26-year-old striker returning to West Ham after the Scottish club were unable to agree terms with the Londoners.

Republic of Ireland squad, Digest, page 31

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