Derby to meet Gregory over manager's job

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The Independent Online

Derby County have confirmed that John Gregory is their No 1 target to replace Colin Todd as manager at Pride Park.

Gregory resigned as Aston Villa manager last Thursday after four years in charge there. Both Derby and Gregory's agent, Paul Stretford, yesterday confirmed that he will hold talks this week with representatives of the Premiership strugglers.

Another club reportedly interested in Gregory's services, Atletico Madrid, yesterday denied any advances.

Derby take on Charlton at The Valley tonight without the midfielder Luciano Zavagno and defender François Grenet, both of whom are suspended.

Sunderland have completed the signing of the Sweden international Joachim Bjorklund from Venezia for a fee of £1.5m. The 30-year-old former Rangers and Valencia defender has agreed a four-year deal, but may not be cleared in time to play in tonight's North-East derby with Middlesbrough at the Stadium of Light.

The defender Laurent Charvet, who has been pushed out of Kevin Keegan's Manchester City squad, is talking to Marseilles about a free transfer.

The Fulham manager, Jean Tigana, is trying to sign the French World Cup hopeful Johan Micoud from Parma on loan for the rest of the season.

The Bury chairman, Terry Robinson, has resigned due to the impending takeover of the Second Division club. A Manchester-based consortium is set to take charge from the majority shareholder, Hugh Eaves.

The Uefa president, Lennart Johansson, will be the sole candidate to retain his job as head of the game's European governing body when the election is held on 25 April.

England supporters at the World Cup should expect no mercy if they cause trouble, according to the junior Foreign Office minister Denis MacShane, who is currently on an official visit to Japan. Hooligans arrested by police there will be detained for up to 27 days and could face up to five years in jail.

"It won't be a question of saying 'You're a naughty boy, get on the plane, go back home to England'," MacShane said. "They will see the next World Cup in four years' time eating a bowl of rice in a Japanese prison. As far the Government is concerned, we won't be lifting a finger to help them out, providing they've been properly convicted."

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