Football: Two new faces to strengthen Terriers' campaign

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The Independent Online
STEVE BRUCE, the Huddersfield Town manager, has agreed terms with the Ajax midfielder Dean Gorre and the Auxerre defender Kwami Hodouto. The two players will join the Terriers subject to a medical, with Hodouto, who is joining for an undisclosed fee, set to sign a two-year contract and Gorre likely to cost around pounds 400,000.

Bruce said: "Hodouto doesn't speak much English but he can play football and that's all that matters."

Roger Mitchell, the Scottish Premier League chief executive, reckons Rangers and Celtic are on course to earn a Champions League place next term as Scotland climbs the Uefa club rankings. The newly-released list sees Scotland rise from 26th to 21st, based on last season's performances which saw Rangers defeat Bayer Leverkusen en route to the Uefa Cup third round.

This season Rangers are in the Champions' League, launching their campaign in Valencia today, having defeated the Uefa Cup holders Parma in the qualifying stages. If Celtic can make progress in the Uefa Cup against Hapoel Tel Aviv, Mitchell believes the Scottish clubs will continue to move in the right direction and even force their way into Europe's top 12.

He said yesterday: "Last season was the best in Europe for Scottish clubs for several years, with the extended run in the Uefa Cup by Rangers in particular contributing extremely well to our coefficient. Because the Uefa coefficients are calculated over a five-year period last year's score of 5.625 displaced the poor one we achieved in 1993-94 so we've jumped five places.

"The fact that our score for the coming year will replace another low coefficient of 1.25 in 1994-95 means that if our teams do as well or better as last year we stand a chance of an even bigger leap.

"We could make the top 12 which is vital as the top dozen countries in the rankings are each guaranteed to have at least two teams bidding to enter the Champions' League via the qualifying stages."

Mitchell said that overseas interest in Scottish football, helped in no small part by the increasing number of foreign players, has led to television rights being sold worldwide. "There has been a real upsurge of interest in the SPL from foreign fans. The revenue from overseas broadcast rights has increased tenfold to around pounds 1m a year."

Mitchell has issued a request to fans north of the border to put their club allegiances aside when Scottish teams compete in Europe because success will open up more opportunities for all. He said: "All Scottish fans should be supporting Celtic, Kilmarnock, Rangers and St Johnstone in their European matches as all our teams stand to benefit if we're awarded more Uefa Cup places."

Kilmarnock flew to Germany yesterday afternoon for their first-round first-leg match with Kaiserslautern without their manager and most famous player. Neither the manager Bobby Williamson nor striker Ally McCoist were aboard the flight, preferring instead an early evening shuttle from England where both had pressing engagements.

The tie tomorrow is expected to be nothing more than a much-needed stroll in the park for Kaiserslautern. With the French World Cup winner Youri Djorkaeff and the Swiss midfielder Ciriaco Sforza in their line-up, it only seems a matter of time before the German side arrest the dreadful form which has characterised their dismal start to the season.

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