Pardew poised to join Hammers

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The Independent Football

Though Reading claimed yesterday to have rebuffed an approach from West Ham for Alan Pardew, the former Charlton and Crystal Palace midfielder is set to be named as the Hammers' new manager this weekend - in time to prepare his new club to meet his old club.

Pardew came out top of the shortlist drawn up after Glenn Roeder's sacking and the deal has been set up between the First Division promotion rivals. His impending departure has been known to Reading for the past 48 hours and they have made a secret approach for a new manager of their own, with old boy Lawrie Sanchez as favourite. The Wycombe manager has earned a good reputation at Second Division level and fits in with the Reading regime's idea of recruiting young managers.

Gudjon Thordarson is fighting to keep his job at Barnsley despite taking the struggling Yorkshire side to second in the Second Division. The Icelander was part of the group that took over the club but the new chairman, Peter Ridsdale, had lined up the former Cheltenham and Stoke manager, Steve Cotterill, for when he took charge.

Cotterill has been out of work since being sacked after a disastrous spell as Sunderland's coach and he is waiting for the call from Ridsdale, who hopes to be in complete charge this week. Thordarson is on a one-year rolling contract and, with his assistant Ronnie Glavin and the coach Noel Blake, he will need to be paid off to leave.

Arsène Wenger has ruled out the prospect of Arsenal sharing the new Wembley national stadium. There had been speculation that the Gunners could share Wembley with the Football Association and even Tottenham if a proposed move to Ashburton Grove falls through.

However, Wenger said: "The only priority is to go to Ashburton Grove and get the finance right, that would be the ideal situation ... I think at the moment the only one is to go back to Highbury. Wembley would be out of the question."

The Hearts manager, Craig Levein, yesterday won a legal battle to have a touchline ban imposed by the Scottish Football Association suspended. Lord MacFadyen agreed at the Court of Session in Edinburgh to impose an order lifting the four-month ban while Levein fights the SFA's ruling.

The SFA imposed the ban after Levein refused to pay a fine for comments made about a referee last season.

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