Ba takes strike action and refuses Bolton Cup duty

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Ibrahim Ba, the French international, has gone on strike and is refusing to play for Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup third round today.

Ba's contract expires next week and the defender will not appear in the game away to Tranmere Rovers, where he was due to start, because of the dispute.

The former Milan player has been at Bolton all season and has featured in a handful of matches. The Tranmere tie was a chance to come in for the banned Ivan Campo and earn a new contract, but instead Ba declined to play.

"I would have played him, but he does not want to get Cup-tied in case things do not work out here," Sam Allardyce, the Bolton manager, said. "I can understand that.

"We will hopefully tie up a new deal, but the old one runs out next Thursday. I thought it was done and dusted but apparently there is a problem.

"I don't want to lose him, it would give me an extra problem to find a replacement. He might be better off going somewhere else from a financial viewpoint, but I think he is better staying here for football reasons."

Nigel Worthington has been named as the Nationwide League manager of the month for December after leading Norwich City to the top of the First Division for the first time in five and a half years.

Worthington, who also won the accolade for September, said: "The first half of the season has been exceptional and we have given ourselves a wonderful platform. In the last fortnight we have brought in three new players of great quality, which is necessary if the club wants to get even better and progress."

Plymouth Argyle's manager, Paul Sturrock, won the Second Division award for the second time in three months. The former Scotland international has steered the Pilgrims to four successive wins during the month which have put them top of the division.