Little departs as Southend seek step up

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The Independent Football

Alan little has been dismissed as manager of Southend United. The decision was announced yesterday 48 hours before the Shrimpers are due to meet Rochdale in the Third Division.

Alan little has been dismissed as manager of Southend United. The decision was announced yesterday 48 hours before the Shrimpers are due to meet Rochdale in the Third Division.

The Southend chairman, Ron Martin, announced that Little's contract had been terminated "with immediate effect", stating that the manager had failed to reach the club's expectations during his time at Roots Hall.

Mick Gooding will take temporary charge for tomorrow's game while Martin looks for a manager who will "get us back into the Second Division".

Arthur Cox has parted company with Fulham where he was director of football. The former Derby and Newcastle manager joined the Cottagers as a member of Kevin Keegan's back-room staff in May 1998 and helped them win promotion to the First Division.

Bryan Robson is trying to negotiate a fee for the Cameroon centre-half Lucien Mettomo with St-Etienne. The Middlesbrough manager has been impressed by the powerful defender during his three-day trial. Mettomo will also have a medical on his knee after Blackburn pulled out of signing him, claiming that they had worries about an old injury.

The Everton manager Walter Smith is signing the United States centre-half Gregg Berhalter from the Dutch side Cambuur and he could go straight into the squad for tomorrow's game against Ipswich at Goodison. The defender recently turned down a deal at Norwich because he wanted a crack at the Premiership.

The Notts County goalkeeper Darren Ward has withdrawn from the Wales squad for the World Cup qualifiers with Norway and Poland next month. Ward damaged a leg muscle playing for County in their Worthington Cup second round, second leg 2-0 win at Watford this week.

Dundee insist the deal to bring Argentinian World Cup striker Claudio Caniggia to Dens Park is still "on-going". The club had hoped the 33-year-old would arrive on Tayside yesterday but he is now expected to arrive within 48 hours.

Manchester United confirmed yesterday they were in talks with Nike about a sponsorship deal which reports suggest may be worth as much as £300m over 15 years.

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