Football: Short chooses Derby

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FOR ONCE the millions of Jack Walker were not enough. Craig Short, the Notts County centre-back, yesterday decided against joining Walker's free-spending club, Blackburn Rovers, signing instead for Derby County for pounds 2.5m.

Blackburn are third from top of the Premier League while Derby are bottom of the First Division, but Short decided to move to the closer club. The sale represents excellent business for County, who signed Short from Scarborough for pounds 100,000 three years ago.

Kenny Dalglish, the Blackburn manager who was keen to bolster his defence with the highly rated 24-year-old, said: 'It's up to him. It is his decision and there is nothing I can do about it. He said he has a feeling for Derby and, obviously he can't sign for two clubs.'

County have replaced Short with the Peterborough United defender, Dave Robinson, who moved yesterday between the First Division clubs for pounds 400,000.

Nottingham Forest expect to take the first step towards shoring up the Premier League's most porous defence today by re-signing Colin Foster, a player they sold to West Ham three years ago, for around pounds 400,000.

The 6ft 4in centre-back, who is 28, was originally bought from Orient in 1987 for pounds 50,000 and sold on for pounds 750,000. He has been unable to win back his West Ham place from Alvin Martin after injury.

Ronnie Fenton, Brian Clough's assistant at Forest, confirmed yesterday that Foster would be at the City Ground this morning to discuss terms. 'Colin probably would never have left in the first place, but he wanted to get back to London at the time,' Fenton said. 'We know all about him - we just hope he can help solve some of our problems at the back.'

The proposed part-exchange between Forest and Sheffield Wednesday, which involved Nigel Jemson also returning to Nottingham and Kingsley Black plus a cash adjustment going the other way, now looks unlikely to happen.

On a day of much movement by centre-halves, Andy Tillson, the QPR defender signed from Grimsby in 1990 for pounds 500,000, rejoined the Mariners on a month's loan.

The Football League president, Gordon McKeag, wants urgent discussions with the Football Association over plans to cut the Premier League to 18 clubs. McKeag's move follows a reassurance from the chief excutive, Graham Kelly, that the FA will under no circumstances sanction an extension of the Premier League.

McKeag tackled Kelly at an executive committee meeting after learning that several Football League clubs had been approached about the possibility of forming a second division of the Premier League. McKeag said: 'Graham Kelly stated categorically that there will be no second division of the Premier League.'