Football: Wary Foxes make plans for Ginola

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The Independent Online
MARTIN O'NEILL is still to decide whether his Leicester side will man-mark Tottenham's David Ginola in Sunday's Worthington Cup final.

Ginola represents the biggest threat to the Foxes' chances of winning the competition for the second time in three years. But O'Neill insists he has not yet thought about the possibility of detailing a player to shadow Ginola at Wembley.

Pontus Kaamark did well when he was deployed to combat the influence of Juninho in the two encounters with Middlesbrough in 1997 but the Swede has not been a regular for Leicester this season.

"Juninho was playing brilliantly at the time and the comparisons are obvious, with Ginola playing out of his skin at the moment," O'Neill said yesterday. "The two play in different roles and different positions but the parallels are there. But today is the first day I've really thought about the game, with the media attention we're getting.

"Ginola is clever enough to wangle his way out of any situation but we'll certainly have a talk about it. The guy is world class and I'd love him to be playing with us rather than against us. But that's not going to happen, so we'll have to get on with it. Pontus played Juninho very well and played him fairly but there were periods in the Middlesbrough games which people forget when Juninho got himself clear."

Leicester's Frank Sinclair will go into the final believing his summer move from Chelsea has been more than justified. Sinclair scored for Chelsea in last season's League Cup win over Middlesbrough at Wembley but a groin injury suffered in the same match meant it proved to be his last appearance for the club.

He missed out on Chelsea's European Cup-Winners' Cup win and then decided Stamford Bridge's extensive foreign legion would mean limited first-team chances and decided to move to Filbert Street in a club record pounds 2.5m deal.

Sinclair, who played for Jamaica in last summer's World Cup finals, admits he "signed blindfolded" because he knew little about the Foxes, but insisted he moved to the Midlands to win trophies.

Now he will achieve that aim if O'Neill's side can overcome Tottenham, who are the favourites to take the next step towards a possible League Cup and FA Cup double.

"What has happened has justified my move from Chelsea and there will be plenty of boys at Chelsea envying me when it comes to cup final day," said Sinclair. "It will be my wildest dream come true to play at Wembley again."

Spurs' Darren Anderton has already buried one "jinx" by helping to guide Tottenham to the Worthington final and is now determined to demonstrate he is more than a injury-prone "nearly man".

The England midfielder had lost five semi-finals during his playing career before he made it sixth time lucky with victory over Wimbledon in the last four of the Worthington Cup last month.

Anderton suffered semi-final defeats in the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 1992, at Spurs in 1993 and 1995, and with England in Euro 96.

"I was beginning to believe I was jinxed when it comes to cups, and particularly semi-finals," Anderton yesterday. "I have lost four that everybody knows about - with Portsmouth, Spurs twice and England - but I even lost a Youth Cup semi with Pompey too. It makes you think it is just not meant to be. So to finally reach this cup final means a lot to me because I have had so many disappointments in semi-finals - now this really makes up for it."