Football: Wright and Cole stranded on sidelines

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The Independent Online
INJURY was added to insult for Arsenal and Newcastle United yesterday. A day after their eviction from the FA Cup the two Premiership clubs learned that their prolific strikers, Ian Wright and Andy Cole, could both be out of action for the rest of the month.

Wright strained a hamstring during Arsenal's defeat to Bolton Wanderers. After examining Wright, Gary Lewin, the Highbury physio, said: 'Hamstring injuries are unpredictable but this looks like a two or three weeks job.' Cole, a friend and former colleague of Wright's, ripped muscles in his shoulder during Newcastle's loss at Luton Town.

Kevin Keegan's pursuit of defensive reinforcements, a need confirmed further by events at Kenilworth Road, slowed briefly yesterday when his pounds 1m offer for Feyenoord's speedy Ulrich van Gobbel was rejected by the Dutch club. The impasse is expected to be only temporary.

Keegan has also asked Swansea if their Welsh Under-21 midfielder, Jason Bowen, can travel to St James' Park for a three-day trial.

Crystal Palace's promotion campaign was strengthened yesterday when Alan Smith made the first signing of his seven-month managerial tenure, paying Chelsea pounds 150,000 for their 23-year-old midfielder, Damian Matthew.

Smith failed to persuade Tottenham to return Andy Gray to Palace on loan but did manage to extend Paul Stewart's loan from Liverpool until the end of March.

Everton are expected to complete the signing of Jan Eriksson, Kaiserslautern's Swedish international defender, for pounds 650,000 today.

The Football Association said yesterday there 'were no immediate plans to revive' the England-Scotland fixture. Lancaster Gate is looking for a revenue-generating match to fill the vacant international date of 17 May, a situation that led to speculation of the Scots descending on Wembley. But the FA spokesman, David Bloomfield, said: 'The England-Scotland game was the first international match of all time and, as a fixture of historical significance, it is a game consistently under review. But there are no immediate plans to revive it.'

Celtic's directors are considering a new pounds 3.6m takeover bid by a group of Glasgow businessmen. The offer, headed by the millionaire, Gerald Weisfeld, would give each director pounds 300 a share.

Hearts have cancelled the contract of Justin Fashanu following his non-appearance at training sessions.

Non-League Notebook, page 36