Football: Strachan is Rovers' new target

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The Independent Online
BLACKBURN ROVERS are making an ambitious move to tempt Gordon Strachan to leave Coventry City and become their manager.

Rovers have switched targets quickly after being rejected by Manchester United yesterday in their official approach for Brian Kidd, the assistant manager at Old Trafford. Coventry's chairman, Bryan Richardson, will be asked if he will let Strachan speak to Blackburn about the pounds 750,000 a year post.

Last week Martin Edwards, Manchester United's chief executive, claimed the highly-coveted Kidd would only leave Old Trafford "over my dead body" and not surprisingly he has turned Rovers down.

Edwards claims Kidd, who has also been sought by Manchester City and Everton in the past, has no problems with United's decision, even though he could have quadrupled his salary with Rovers.

Strachan could be interested in the move but Coventry want compensation of close to pounds 1m, a figure that scared off Leeds United but will not worry, Jack Walker, Blackburn's owner. Walker had put Strachan at No 2 on his wanted list behind Kidd, who has a four-year contract at Old Trafford.

Colin Hendry remains in the picture despite indicating yesterday that his future lies with Rangers.

Leeds remain confident of signing David Batty from Newcastle even though the two clubs are unable to agree a fee for the England midfielder. They are believed to have offered pounds 4m for Batty, who they sold to Blackburn in 1993, pounds 2m below the Magpies' apparent asking price.

Nevertheless, the Yorkshire club's chairman, Peter Ridsdale, believes Batty, 30 today, will be returning to Leeds, although he was in no mood to have his arm twisted by Newcastle.

"Our manager [David O'Leary] has made it absolutely clear that David Batty is a player that he admires and would like to bring back to Leeds United," Ridsdale said. "We have made a bid. That bid currently falls short of Newcastle's valuation but at the end of the day, we won't overpay for players."

It is thought that if Leeds were to increase their offer to pounds 4.5m then they would clinch a deal. The agreement of Batty's personal terms is seemingly a formality.

Batty turned up for training at Newcastle's Chester-le-Street training headquarters yesterday morning four days after apparently taking his leave when he handed in a written transfer request to the St James' manager, Ruud Gullit.

Douglas Hall and Freddy Shepherd yesterday launched an attempt to return to the board of Newcastle United's plc. Already back on the football club's board as the chairman and vice-chairman respectively, they now appear very likely to return to the plc's board as well, reclaiming their places from the two men who have been their representatives on the board, John Fender and Tom Fenton.

In July, when the pair were reinstated to the club board, they signed letters which appeared to state that they did not intend to rejoin the plc.

The pair left both boards after mocking Newcastle fans for paying high prices for replica kits, dubbing Alan Shearer "Mary Poppins" and branding Tyneside women "dogs".

Ian Rush will be asked to take over as the manager of Wrexham as part of a major takeover by Steve Morgan, the millionaire owner of the house building firm, Redrow. Morgan, who is based in Jersey, is close to tying up a deal worth about pounds 2m to buy the club and pump more cash into the Second Division club.

Morgan met Wrexham officials yesterday to thrash out the price of the purchase and he is expected to be in charge of the Welsh club before the weekend. A lifelong fan, Morgan wants to install Rush as manager above Brian Flynn in a bid to attract bigger name players and go for promotion.

Wolves have rejected an approach for their captain, Keith Curle, from their First Division rivals Bristol City. Wolves' new manager, Colin Lee, is planning to offer the 35-year-old a new contract.

Manchester City have placed Murtaz Shelia, the Georgian international, on the transfer list. The defender is surplus to requirements following the arrival of Andy Morrison from Huddersfield.

Darren Ferguson, the Wolves midfielder and son of the Manchester United manager, has joined Cosenza in Italian Serie B on a 10-day trial with a view to a permanent transfer.

Paul Hall, Coventry's Jamaican World Cup winger, last night turned down a pounds 300,000 move to Port Vale. Robin Berntsen, who was on loan to Vale from Tromso, has returned to Norway.