Football: Unsworth will not go `on cheap'

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The Independent Online
DAVID UNSWORTH will finally make his first competitive appearance for Aston Villa tonight, even though the central defender is still hoping to move back to Goodison Park.

But John Gregory, the Villa manager, has warned Everton they have "no chance" of securing Unsworth's services unless they match the pounds 3m paid to West Ham last month.

Unsworth moved from Upton Park to Villa, but then asked to go to Everton after his wife refused to move from their Merseyside home and because of the problems of a 160-mile round trip to training each day.

Unsworth was suspended for Villa's opening Premier League match - ironically at Everton - but he will turn out for the reserves tonight against Leicester.

Gregory said: "He is back with us trying to get on with his life and hopeful that Everton are going to come back in for him. But if they think they are going to do a deal on the cheap for, say, pounds 2.5m, then they've got no chance.

"In fact, you could argue that for all the inconvenience we have suffered so soon near the start of the season that Everton should pay over the odds for Unsworth."

Nottingham Forest will let their unhappy striker Pierre van Hooijdonk go for pounds 8m and Turkish side Fenerbahce are favourites to sign him.

Forest have decided to cut their losses and reduce their original valuation of the Dutchman, who is refusing to return to the City Ground. Forest are so keen to sell that they have also employed an agent, Paul Stretford, to find him a club.

Fenerbahce have tabled an opening offer of pounds 5.5m for Van Hooijdonk and are trying to reach a compromise deal with Forest.

Tommy Burns, the Reading manager, has laid down the law to his side after their poor start to the season. He has banned alcohol, junk food, mobile phones and dissent in a crackdown on his players following their 4-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers.

He said: "I don't like to see the players chatting away on a mobile phone and ignoring their team-mates when travelling to matches. That's a time for the players to be bonding together as a team and they can't do that if they are having private conversations.

"They are also banned from drinking alcohol when on club business, or eating junk food. We have installed a microwave on the team bus to cook pasta for them. They have no problems with that because they know it is for the good of their health."

Neville Southall and Simon Barker are set to sign for Doncaster Rovers today. The Doncaster manager, Ian Snodin, has asked his old Everton team- mate Southall to help out the GM Vauxhall Conference side and he is set for his debut tomorrow.

Southall has been looking for a club all summer after playing for Stoke City a few months ago. Barker has also been unable to find new employers since being released by Queen's Park Rangers at the end of last season.