Football: Wilson seeks early deal on Celtic pair

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THE SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY manager, Danny Wilson, is hoping to thrash out a deal with the Celtic chairman, Fergus McCann, to allow Simon Donnelly and Phil O'Donnell to sign before next week's transfer deadline, with Celtic receiving a nominal fee. The players have signed pre-contract agreements, which means that unless Wilson has his way they will finish the season with Celtic before joining Wednesday on free transfers under the Bosman ruling.

Glenn Hoddle is still defending himself over his dismissal as the England coach. In The Lion's Den, a documentary to be screened on BBC1 next week, he reiterated that the remarks that led to his sacking six weeks ago had been misinterpreted.

"I must get people to understand that what I actually ended up getting the sack about, the punishment for disabled people from other lifetimes - it's not my belief and it's not what I said," Hoddle said. "I think we have the choice to come back into whatever circumstances in the next lifetime. I would never dream of saying that there's a punishment bestowed upon people who are disabled."

Leeds United have denied they are ready to sign the Nottingham Forest striker Pierre van Hooijdonk for pounds 4m in the summer. Van Hooijdonk has been rumoured to be set for a move, but the Leeds manager, David O'Leary, said: "There's absolutely no truth in this whatsoever. I am not interested in him."

The Portsmouth reserve team manager, Martin Allen, was sacked yesterday following allegations of gross misconduct at the club's training ground. A complaint was made to the First Division club by a woman over remarks allegedly made by Allen.

Middlesbrough will pay Norwich pounds 700,000 for the services of the Republic of Ireland midfielder Keith O'Neill. The 23-year-old Dublin-born player would have been out of contract at the end of the season and could have moved abroad on a free transfer under the Bosman ruling.

The Aston Villa manager, John Gregory, is to make an official complaint to the Football Association over referee Peter Jones and request that the Loughborough official never takes charge of another match involving the Midlands club.

Gregory was upset after Jones failed to spot an alleged head-butt by the Tottenham striker Steffen Iversen on Alan Thompson during the 1-0 defeat, and when Spurs keeper Ian Walker escaped unpunished after bringing down Thompson.

Alan Little has been sacked as manager of York City, ending his 11-season association at Bootham Crescent.

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