Football: Yorke set to make Villa return

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The Independent Online
The Aston Villa manager, Brian Little, is confident that his leading scorer, Dwight Yorke, will be over his World Cup disappointment and in the right frame of mind for the Coca-Cola Cup tie against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park tonight.

Yorke flew into Heathrow last night after being in the Trinidad and Tobago side beaten 1-0 by the United States in Port of Spain, which ended Trinidad's hopes of qualifying for France '98.

However, Little will have no hesitation in recalling the player who has scored seven goals in his last seven games. "He is obviously disappointed and he and Trinidad take their football very seriously now, but we won't have to lift him," Little said.

"He is aware of what he is coming back to at Aston Villa. He has wanted to get back for tonight's game. He has put the schedule on himself to get back in time because he wants to be involved.

"We won't have a problem in making sure he is focused on what we will be trying to do against Wimbledon. There is no question of leaving him out. If he is right, he will play. He is at the moment the best striker at this football club."

Little is likely to give Julian Joachim the role alongside Yorke after his impressive performance against Coventry on Saturday, with Savo Milosevic again likely to be on the substitute's bench.

Joe Kinnear, the Wimbledon manager, is unlikely to repeat the wholesale changes he made for the previous round against Luton, but Vinnie Jones, who was substituted with a rib injury at Liverpool on Saturday, will have a late fitness test.

Stewart Castledine, the last-minute goalscorer against Luton, and Jon Goodman are added to the players on duty at Anfield, when the Dons extended their unbeaten run to 15 matches.

Middlesbrough have received a boost from two of their foreign players as they prepare for their fourth-round match game against Newcastle at the Riverside Stadium tomorrow night.

Bryan Robson, the Middlesbrough manager, is confident Fabrizio Ravanelli and Brazilian midfielder Emerson will be available for selection.

Middlesbrough are the leading scorers in the competition after beating Hereford 10-0 on aggregate and Huddersfield 5-1 in the two previous rounds.

Ravanelli, with 15 goals so far this season, has recovered from a twisted ankle he incurred in the 2-2 draw with Manchester United on Saturday.

Emerson is keen to get back into action after his recent well-publicised problems off the pitch. The pounds 4m midfielder is currently serving a three- match Premiership ban, but is eligible for the Coca-Cola Cup as the competition now has its own disciplinary rules.

The change came into effect at the beginning of the season after consultation between the Football Association, Football League and clubs when it was decided that the Coca-Cola Cup would be self-contained as far as discipline is concerned.

Players picking up two yellow cards in the competition are suspended for the next match, although Coca-Cola Cup bans can still be carried over into League and FA Cup matches if a player is subject to a three-match penalty for violent conduct.

Nigel Pearson, the Middlesbrough captain, is set to miss the Newcastle game. The 33-year-old central defender has not fully recovered from a neck injury he suffered against Wimbledon four weeks ago.