Football: That was the weekend that was

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FA Cup overfloweth for UniBond boys

YOU COULD forgive both Emley and Leigh RMI if their thoughts were not entirely focused on the job in hand when the UniBond League sides met at the Lancashire club's Hilton Park on Saturday, playing out a somewhat predictable 0-0 draw.

After all, they are both now less than a week away from two of the more intriguing ties in next weekend's FA Cup first-round proper - Leigh's trip to Kevin Keegan's Fulham and Emley's Sunday "home" game with the Third Division leaders, Rotherham United.

Having collected gate receipts from just 351 spectators, Leigh will be hoping for rather more support at Craven Cottage - but nothing on the scale of what Emley are expecting following the thrills and spills of their run all the way to the third round last season, when they lost gallantly to Premiership West Ham.

As soon as the draw was made, the Yorkshire village side abandoned any idea of staging the tie at their 1,700 capacity Welfare Ground. They first planned to switch to Huddersfield Town's McAlpine Stadium, but having failed there because of a fixture clash managed to secure the use of Barnsley's Oakwell Ground.

"We feel a crowd around 8,000 is a certainty and that 10,000 isn't out of the question," Emley chairman Peter Matthews said. The match kicks off at 1pm with prices set at pounds 10 for adults, pounds 7 for concessionaries.

Emley are by no means daunted by their task. "Lincoln were Third Division leaders when we beat them last year, so why shouldn't we beat Rotherham?" was Matthews' bold assessment.

Beardsley faces the final whistle

PETER BEARDSLEY'S nine-minute appearance as substitute in Fulham's 1-0 victory over Bristol Rovers at Craven Cottage may be the last of the former England forward's illustrious playing career.

The match was the end of Beardsley's three-month loan with the London side, the maximum allowed under League regulations. Unless he and Fulham can agree terms for a permanent contract he will have to return to the wilderness with Bolton.

Bolton manager Colin Todd bought Beardsley from Newcastle for pounds 500,000 15 months ago but has now deemed him surplus to requirements. He gave the 37-year-old a free transfer at the start of the season but there were no takers.

Beardsley and Fulham manager Kevin Keegan remain close friends but the reluctance of Beardsley's family to uproot from the north has apparently proved a stumbling block. "There is a lot of talking to be done," said Keegan. "I want to do the best by Peter as well as provide the best for Fulham."

Otherwise, Third Division Carlisle - Beardsley's first League club - may take him as coach, though stories linking him to Carlisle's chairman- manager, Michael Knighton, have so far come to nothing.



The number of years in charge at Old Trafford for Alex Ferguson


The career League goals scored by Niall Quinn following his 81st-minute effort for Sunderland against Grimsby on Saturday


The total appearances made for West Bromwich Albion by John Osborne, their goalkeeper in the 1968 F A Cup final, who sadly died from cancer on Saturday, aged 57


`We are bound to be successful. We have so much, the both of us, to bring to the team.'

Gerard Houllier before Saturday's defeat, one of the few still backing Liverpool's managerial partnership.

Premiership Team Of The Week


Derby County




Aston Villa




Tottenham Hotspur




Aston Villa


Blackburn Rovers


Derby County


Coventry City


Aston Villa

Manager of the weekend: Colin Lee (Wolves). Perfect example of how a caretaker should advertise his claims for a full-time job - just win 6-1 away.

Performance of the weekend: Coventry City - just the sort of gutsy display that manager Gordon Strachan wanted at the end of a difficult week

Missing... making it... and mistaken

Gareth Farrelly


DESPITE HAVING scored the goal that kept Everton in the Premiership courtesy of a 1-1 draw with Coventry last May, the 23-year- old former Irish Under-21 captain has found himself frozen out by new Goodison manager Walter Smith, his season limited to one brief appearance as substitute. Wigan reportedly want to pay pounds 50,000 to give him a fresh start.

MArk Burchill


AFTER ADVERTISING himself with two goals in Celtic's 6-1 romp against Dundee on Saturday, the 18-year-old forward could find himself a sought-after commodity, especially as he has failed to agree new contract terms with the Glasgow club.

NO WONDER Chris had to jack it in at Torquay -- what with having to play Des Barnes (aka Philip Middlemiss) four times a week in Coronation Street, he must have been shattered! Mind you, as Street fans know, he is soon to find himself with a bit more time on his hands...


Villa to use Oakes as bait for Wright

JOHN GREGORY'S spending may have soared to pounds 21m with the signing of Dion Dublin, but at least two of the Sunday papers do not believe it is over yet. The Mail on Sunday, for example, reckons he wants Ipswich goalkeeper Richard Wright to groom as a replacement for Mark Bosnich and is willing to offer pounds 3m plus his second-choice goalkeeper, Michael Oakes. The Sunday Mirror, meanwhile, names Leicester midfielder Muzzy Izzet as his next outfield target.

The People claims Newcastle manager Ruud Gullit is close to landing Turkish international midfielder Abdullah Erkan from Besiktas for pounds 5m, having previously tried to get him for Chelsea. The Mail on Sunday says Gullit is also on the trail of Manchester United centre-back Ronny Johnsen.

Both the Sunday Mirror and the People report that Liverpool are about to call time on Roy Evans, the latter claiming he will be given a pounds 500,000 pay-off to bring to an end his 30 years at Anfield.

The Express says former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish wants to make a quick return to management as soon as his financial dispute with Newcastle is settled. Their report suggests he may return to Anfield or Celtic but says Blackburn would welcome him back should Roy Hodgson move on.

The People names Stewart Baxter, manager of AIK Stockholm, as a surprise contender to succeed Mark McGhee at Wolves. Baxter has been a huge success in Sweden, but is disturbed by threats of violence against himself and his family there.

Southampton have offered Crystal Palace the pick of their players in exchange for striker Matt Jansen, according to the Express, who also claim that Nottingham Forest are ready to part with out-of-favour forward Jean- Claude Darcheville. The People reckons Forest are lining up another Dutch forward, Bayer Leverkusen's Eric Meijer, as a pounds 1.5m replacement for Pierre van Hooijdonk.


Today: No Premiership or Nationwide League, but Shrewsbury (away to Leatherhead or Rushden & Diamonds) and Bournemouth (away to Basingstoke or Dover) will watch the FA Cup fourth qualifying round scores with interest.

Tomorrow: Liverpool against Tottenham is the pick of three Worthington Cup fourth round ties. A busy Nationwide League programme features matches from all three divisions.

Wednesday: Arsenal and Chelsea repeat last season's semi-final in the Worthington Cup, in which other fascinating ties include Leicester at home to Leeds, the club Martin O'Neill rejected, and Peter Reid's return to Merseyside as Sunderland manager, at Everton.

Friday: In the F A Cup first round, Manchester City face League newcomers Halifax Town, while Swansea take on Millwall.

Saturday: The big day for the minnows in the F A Cup, with only 10 matches that do not involve a non-League club. In the Premiership, most eyes will be on Highbury, where George Graham returns as manager of Spurs.

Sunday: Emley against Rotherham, Fulham against Leigh RMI and Boreham Wood versus Luton are F A Cup first-round ties. Coventry meet Everton in the Premiership.