Football: Short close to role at Rovers

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BLACKBURN ROVERS are expected to confirm today the signing of Craig Short, the 24-year-old Notts County central defender, for pounds 2.5m. County have agreed a fee with Blackburn and Derby County, and yesterday, after speaking with the Derby manager Arthur Cox, Short travelled north to discuss terms with the Rovers manager Kenny Dalglish.

Rovers, third in the Premier League, are expected to prove a much greater attraction than Derby, bottom of the First Division. This transfer also represents the first market clash between multi-millionaires, the Rovers benefactor, Jack Walker, and the Derby chairman, Lionel Pickering.

Short's progress in the Premier League would be followed with great interest. No club is in more need of a central defender than Liverpool and, after the sale of Dean Saunders, they have the money to compete. Yet after several checks they decided that Short was overpriced.

Graham Kelly, the FA chief executive, warned that the Association would not sanction another breakaway league after the FA and the Premiers were in discussion yesterday following the dispute over the Bass pounds 13m sponsorship offer, rejected by those eight clubs who already have links with other drinks companies. The 14 who favoured Bass, including Spurs, are rumoured to have had talks with some of the bigger First Divisions clubs such as Newcastle United.

Kelly said: 'I have no proof of such talks and the Premier chairman deny they have taken place. The president of the Football League tells me that they have.'

He added that the FA was planning to appoint a Director to the Premier League, an indication of a tightening of authority.