Restless McAteer set for Sunderland

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The Independent Football

The Sunderland manager, Peter Reid, is ready to end Jason McAteer's miserable spell at Blackburn Rovers by signing the Republic of Ireland midfielder.

McAteer has become a misfit at Ewood Park under Graeme Souness's management. He is available on a free transfer and Reid, whose side needs midfield fortification after the departure of Don Hutchison to West Ham, could be tempted to make a move.

An unhappy McAteer has warned Blackburn that he may have to move to save his Irish World Cup hopes. He made an unexpected start for Rovers at the weekend after having been at loggerheads with Souness for some time, but he will not hesitate to quit if his chances of making the finals next summer are affected.

Ali Benarbia has snubbed a quick route to the Premiership to help Manchester City fulfil Kevin Keegan's promotion ambitions. The Algerian midfielder, already a Maine Road favourite after just three games, has been approached by a top-flight club.

But Benarbia remains committed to the club he joined on a free transfer from Paris St-Germain. Benarbia's agent, Willie MacKay, said last night: "We were contacted by a Premiership club in the last few days, but I told Kevin Keegan immediately."

The mystery club has not been named, but is believed to be Newcastle United. The Magpies' manager, Bobby Robson, was interested in the Benarbia before he signed for City.

Michael Ricketts says he is is fed up with patronising critics who cannot accept Bolton Wanderers as a surprise Premiership force. The club's top scorer is apparently upset at the lack of respect for Sam Allardyce's side.

The players at The Reebok Stadium have started calling themselves "little old Bolton" as a mocking reference to how the experts see their start to the season. Ricketts said: "We are there on merit. We knew we would lose some time, but look at how we've bounced back."

The Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld has rejected a loan move to the Spanish Primera Liga side Alaves. The Spaniards, who were beaten 5-4 by the Reds in last season's Uefa Cup final, had hoped to sign the Dutchman on a short-term deal until December.

The former Italy international defender Antonio Benarrivo has snubbed a move to Middlesbrough after admitting that one visit to Teesside was enough to put him off making a switch from Parma.

The full-back was expected to seal a £1m deal to move to Middlesbrough this week, but the 33-year-old has admitted that he has changed his mind.

West Ham appear to have dropped their interest in the Finnish defender Hannu Tihinen. The Viking Stavanger right-back featured for the Irons during a loan spell last season, but the West Ham manager, Glenn Roeder, now seems certain not to pursue that interest with Bayer Leverkusen poised to sign the player.

Alan Shearer's winning strike in Newcastle's 4-3 victory over Manchester United has been recorded instead as a Wes Brown own goal.

The former England captain had originally been awarded the goal in the St James' Park clash on 15 September. But the FA Premier League's Dubious Goals Committee has decided that the goal should be credited to Brown.

The Wolves manager, Dave Jones, has transfer listed the club's Georgian international striker Temuri Ketsbaia.

The Wrexham manager, Brian Flynn, and his assistant, Kevin Reeves, have left the Second Division strugglers by mutual consent, ending a 12-year association with the club.

Former Liverpool star and club coach Joey Jones takes charge of team affairs for tonight's visit of Port Vale.