Football: Wright needs knee surgery

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ARSENE WENGER has told Ian Wright to hold on to his hopes of making the World Cup, despite the torn cartilage which means the 34-year-old Arsenal striker will have an operation on his left knee today.

The Arsenal manager believes that modern advances in keyhole surgery will soon have Wright back, and he said yesterday: "It is not a big injury these days and Ian's age is not important. There is a small tear on an inside cartilage and really it is now considered a minor operation. He is naturally feeling a little bit down, but in three to four weeks he should be ready to play again."

Wenger faces the prospect of doing without nine first-choice players for tonight's Coca-Cola Cup semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge, most notably Dennis Bergkamp, who has an ankle injury.

Crystal Palace could be fighting for a place in the Uefa Cup this summer, even if they are relegated. Palace, 18th in the Premiership, are the only English club to have expressed a desire to compete in the InterToto Cup, winning which provides an entry into the Uefa Cup.

Derby are to lodge a protest over Jamaica's decision to keep the striker, Deon Burton, for a friendly this weekend. Burton is wanted to play against Nigeria on Saturday, which rules him out of Derby's game at Old Trafford.

The new Stoke City manager, Chris Kamara, has made Kyle Lightbourne his first signing, paying Coventry pounds 500,000 for the 29-year-old forward.