Football: Vialli eager to see Rix back at work

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The Independent Online
THE CHELSEA manager, Gianluca Vialli, wants his coach, Graham Rix, to return to work at Stamford Bridge as soon as possible. Rix, 41, will be released from prison on good behaviour today after serving half of his one-year sentence for having unlawful sex with a 15-year-old girl. The father of four will remain on the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years.

Despite the adverse publicity the case has generated, Vialli is anxious to see his assistant asserting his influence on the training pitch. "He'll be back with us very soon but after such a difficult time he will need some days to relax," the Stamford Bridge manager said. "He needs to get used to real life again."

Ray Wilkins has been deputising for Rix, but Vialli denied reports that Rix's return would lead to Wilkins' departure. "Ray is staying with Chelsea," the Italian added.

The future of Jim Jefferies as Heart of Midlothian manager was thrown into doubt yesterday when it was revealed that the club's board discussed his dismissal earlier this year.

The leaks came from the club's former chairman, Leslie Deans, who has claimed that Hearts' chief executive, Chris Robinson, was the man behind the attempts to oust Jefferies in March due to fears of the collapse of the club's market value on the Stock Exchange.

After lengthy talks with Robinson yesterday, Jefferies announced that he would be staying with Hearts. "You could not expect me to be happy at all the public comment on this issue," he said, "but I am satisfied that I have the board's wholehearted support in taking this club forward."

Karl-Heinz Riedle, Liverpool's former German international striker, is expected to sign for Fulham today for an undisclosed fee. West Ham's Ivory Coast-born striker Samassi Abou is poised to complete a pounds 350,000 move to Hibernian.