Football: United give Yugoslav trial period

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The Independent Online
Manchester United are giving trials to Partisan Belgrade's 17-year- old midfielder Marco Marcovic. The teenager has attracted the attention of several top European clubs, but has been offered the opportunity of a possible permanent Old Trafford deal if he can sufficiently impress in the next fortnight.

"This is a wonderful chance for me, Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in world football and to be here is a tremendous thrill," Marcovic said. "I'm not looking too far ahead, all I can do is give it my best shot and see what happens."

Alan Shearer, the Blackburn Rovers striker, is to meet with the Ewood Park club over newspaper speculation that he is set to leave. He has been linked with Manchester United, Newcastle and several Italian clubs.

"I have been made aware of some newspaper stories of the past two or three weeks and will doubtless have a chat with chairman Robert Coar when I return to training at the end of the week to find out the reality behind the headlines," Shearer said yesterday.

Birmingham City are selling the striker Paul Peschisolido and the midfielder Richard Forsyth as they attempt to raise pounds 1m to buy Blackburn's Mike Newell.

Peschisolido will end a second spell at St Andrews by joining First Division rivals West Bromwich Albion for pounds 600,000, only four months after returning to Birmingham, who expect to receive pounds 200,000 from Forsyth's pending move to Stoke.

Southampton's long-serving midfielder Neil Maddison may stay at The Dell if a Football League tribunal puts a disputed transfer out of the reach of Crystal Palace today.

Maddison has agreed personal terms with the Palace manager, Dave Bassett, but there is disagreement over the transfer fee. Since the transfer is conditional, Palace can back out if the tribunal supports Saints' claim.

The new Southampton manager, Graeme Souness, has lined up two signings after holding talks with midfielders Graham Potter, of Stoke, and Palle Sorensen, of the Danish club Aarhus.

The Leicester City manager, Martin O'Neill, is trying to prise two players from his old club, Norwich City. O'Neill, who left Carrow Road last December, made a pounds 1m bid for Darren Eadie and signed the defender Justin Harrington on a free transfer.

Paul Parker, the former England defender, will not be joining Portsmouth for their pre-season build-up. Parker trained with Portsmouth last week after being freed by Manchester United, but returned home without signing.

The Football League have condemned the decision of the Plymouth chairman, Dan McCauley, to charge journalists to watch matches at Home Park. McCauley is taking the move after blaming criticism from the local Press for his decision to put the newly promoted Second Division club up for sale.

Andy Williamson, the Leag-ue's assistant secretary, said: "Ironically, this season we have issued guidelines to football clubs for the very first time about media relations. This move by Mr McCauley rather flies in the face of all that, although it's the clubs' prerogative to determine their own arrangements."

Rangers' security chief, Alistair Hood, remains sanguine about next month's visit to Chechnya. Walter Smith's side face Alania Vladikavkaz in the preliminary round of the Champions' League, and the second leg in Vladikavkaz has aroused concern over both the conflict and a diphtheria outbreak.

Hood has just returned from Russia and said any problems can be overcome. "As far as the war is concerned, I understand the fighting is 50 miles east of Vladikavkaz. I was told if it is to spread, it would spread eastwards. There has been an outbreak of diphtheria but the players will receive inoculations against that and tetanus as well."

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