FOOTBALL: Wednesday directors watch Francis

Joe Parkinson examines the high spots in this weekend's programme
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The Independent Online
Dave Richards, the Sheffield Wednesday chairman, admitted yesterday that his directors were worried about the club's alarming slide down the Premiership table. Trevor Francis, their manager, was criticised by the fans after the 7-1 drubbing by Nottingham Forest last week - their seventh defeat in nine matches.

Defeat against the bottom club, Leicester, at Hillsborough today is unthinkable and would put a real question mark over Francis's future.

Richards said: "Of course the Board are concerned at the position. But we know what we are doing. The club will be in the Premiership for years to come. Managers come and go but come what may, the board will continue to strive to put Sheffield Wednesday in the highest echelon."

Leicester City's manager, Mark McGhee, admitted: "It's too late to save ourselves from relegation but it's important that we try to end the season on a high note."

The Norwich City manager, John Deehan, has an important date at Newcastle, followed by another next week with his chairman, Robert Chase.

Chase has been openly critical of Deehan as the club have tumbled down the Premiership but he says the talks on Tuesday are to discuss "routine matters". Norwich travel to St James's Park, short on confidence after the defeat by Leicester in midweek, but desperate to secure at least a point.

Chase said: "I have a good business relationship with the manager. It is an exciting end of season coming up - one that I had not planned."

The coach, Gary Megson, is set to play his second match in three days as Norwich have an injury crisis. Deehan said: "Gary is in my thoughts as are any other players who are able to walk.

"I cannot fault the attitude or commitment of my players. If we keep repeating those qualities we should stay out of trouble."

West Ham have their first game in three weeks when they travel to Nottingham Forest. Tony Cottee, their former Everton striker, said: "It's been a frustrating time for all the players and the management.

"We had a great win at Aston Villa and just when everyone is buzzing and looking forward to the next game, we have had to wait three weeks for the next. That is crazy at this stage of the season."

Arsenal's England goalkeeper, David Seaman, is ready for Premiership action again after getting through the European Cup-Winners' Cup tie against Sampdoria without the aid of pain-killing injections for his cracked ribs.

Stewart Houston, the Arsenal manager, plans to play Seaman against his former club, Queen's Park Rangers, at Loftus Road unless there is any late reaction. He said: "I'm hopeful now that David is fit for the rest of the season."

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