Hoddle's injury list grows as Carr is ruled out

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The Independent Football

Stephen Carr, the Irish full-back, has been ruled out for four months after a knee operation in a new blow for Tottenham as they wait to seal the £8.2m transfer of Dean Richards and ease the injury crisis which is threatening to undermine their season.

The right-back will also miss the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Cyprus in Dublin in two weeks and, if Mick McCarthy's team win that tie, a two-legged play-off against Asian opposition in November for a place in next summer's finals. Carr's international deputy, Leeds United's Gary Kelly, is suspended for the Cyprus game after being sent off in this month's 1-0 win over the Netherlands.

But it is an even bigger setback for Spurs with their manager Glenn Hoddle counting 10 players on the injured list ahead of Saturday's trip to Liverpool.

The news about Carr has tarnished the success of a battling 2-1 victory at Sunderland on Wednesday night when Hoddle had to abandon his normal 3-5-2 formation and switch to 4-4-2 simply because he had run out of centre-halves.

Hoddle's other Ireland international, Gary Doherty, broke a leg in the Worthington Cup tie against Torquay last Thursday and, three days later, Yugoslav defender Goran Bunjevcevic was carried off during the 3-2 defeat by Chelsea with a fractured cheekbone.

Richards was absent from training with Saints yesterday and their manager, Stuart Gray, refused to discuss his likely whereabouts, but the player is believed to be close to talking personal terms with Spurs. The acrimonious deal, with Southampton still seething over Hoddle walking out on them last March to join Spurs, was stalled by the Saints chairman, Rupert Lowe, demanding £10m for Richards if Tottenham wanted to pay the fee in instalments.

The Celtic manager, Martin O'Neill, will learn this afternoon whether Uefa is to ban him from the touchline following his Champions' League sending-off in Turin on Tuesday. O'Neill raced almost half the length of the pitch to remonstrate with the German referee, Hellmut Krug, after Juventus had been awarded a controversial 90th-minute penalty which earned them a 3-2 victory.

The world governing body, Fifa, yesterday confirmed a 3pm kick-off time for England's decisive final World Cup group qualifying game against Greece next month at Old Trafford. The Football Association had lobbied for an afternoon game on 6 October in the belief it would help travelling arrangements for supporters and improve security arrangements. Germany asked for an evening kick-off for their qualifier against Finland the same day, which must start at the same time.

The Queen's Park Rangers fan Brian Melzack has entered into talks to buy the club. The property developer's consortium will now have 21 days in which to finalise their offer for the London club who are currently in administration. He has fought off two rival consortiums, who cannot be considered by the Second Division club during the lock-out period.

Kevin Keegan has had a row with a second Manchester City player, exchanging angry words with the Australian, Danny Tiatto, at half-time in the defeat at Coventry and then taking him off. Keegan wants Tiatto to defend more and, though Tiatto wanted to use this season as a platform to play in the World Cup finals, he may find himself being moved on. Meanwhile, Richard Dunne stayed away from training on Monday as well as missing out on Sunday's warm-down.

* Dino Zoff has been sacked as Lazio's coach after Wednesday's 3-1 Champions' League defeat by Nantes. He was replaced by the former Milan coach Alberto Zaccheroni.

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