Bracewell given task of rescuing Halifax

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The Independent Football

Paul Bracewell today took over as the manager of Halifax Town and insisted he was relishing the challenge of preserving the club's League status.

Paul Bracewell today took over as the manager of Halifax Town and insisted he was relishing the challenge of preserving the club's League status.

The former Fulham manager, out of football since being sacked at Craven Cottage in May, said: "Halifax may be bottom of the League, but the club has a lot of potential and it is up to me to bring it out. I am looking forward to the challenge."

The caretaker manager, Peter Butler, has been sacked, but his co-caretaker, Tony Parks, has been promoted to become Bracewell's assistant.

David Hirst wants to make a start in management - with his local team, Frickley. The former Sheffield Wednesday striker is favourite for the post with the Unibond League side. Hirst, who was forced to retire from the game through injury, could even play for the club based near his native Barnsley. Frickley sacking Stewart Barrowclough as manager after they lost 12-0 to Chris Waddle's Worksop Town last week.

Christian Bassedas, the Newcastle midfielder, is struggling to prove himself in time for a Premiership debut in the Tees-Tyne derby against Middlesbrough later this month.

The Argentinian international, signed by Bobby Robson from Velez Sarsfield for £4m during the summer, belatedly made his home debut on Monday night for the club's reserves, but he now faces the task of persuading Robson that he is ready for the match at the Riverside Stadium on 16 October.

Robson will at least be pleased to have Bassedas fit after seeing Kieron Dyer and Andy Griffin added to the casualty list after Saturday's 1-0 win at Manchester City. Griffin is to see a specialist to assess the extent of a back injury.

The Newcastle manager said he had pulled the former Colchester striker Lomana Tresor Lua Lua out of Monday night's reserve-team game because the £2.25m signing has four yellow cards to his name. Robson did not want to risk him getting another, which would lead to a suspension.

The Everton defender Alessandro Pistone will be out of action for six months after returning to Italy for reconstructive surgery on his knee. The £3m summer signing from Newcastle United flew home for the operation on Tuesday.

The former Internazionale left-back had only just returned from a hamstring injury, which came just months after he fought his way back to fitness from a broken leg suffered at Newcastle last season. Pistone, 25, has played 135 minutes of football for Everton this season.

Sheffield Wednesday have rejected an attempt from the Belgian club Genk to sign the striker Gilles de Bilde on a free transfer. "We were not prepared to let Gilles go for nothing," a Wednesday spokesman said.

Aberdeen have confirmed they are in discussions with Blackburn about a loan move for their out-of-favour midfielder Billy McKinlay.

The 31-year-old has failed to impress the Rovers manager, Graeme Souness, since the former Rangers man's arrival at the club. But McKinlay has turned down the chance to rebuild his career with a move to the Scottish Premier League strugglers Motherwell.

That has alerted the Aberdeen manager, Ebbe Skovdahl, who is hoping to sort out a loan move with a view to making it a permanent deal.

McKinlay, a £1.75m signing from Dundee United in 1995, has not played this season and has become increasingly frustrated with life in Lancashire.