Scotland seek role for Ferguson's expertise

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The Independent Online

The Scottish Football Association plans to meet the Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to see if he wants a new role north of the border. Ferguson, who retires at the end of the season, has ruled out taking over from Craig Brown, who resigned this month after failing to reach the World Cup finals. But the SFA would like Ferguson's input in some capacity as they look to rebuild for the 2004 European Championships.

A goal from Karim Bagheri, the former Charlton Athletic midfielder, gave Iran a 1-0 win over the United Arab Emirates in the first leg of their World Cup play-off in Tehran yesterday. Iran and the UAE are playing off over two legs – the second leg takes place in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday – with the winners going through to a play-off against the Republic of Ireland for a place in the finals.

Jesper Blomqvist is optimistic that he could earn a new contract with Manchester United after returning from his latest injury setback.

Blomqvist played his first competitive match since the 1999 Champions' League final for the reserves against Manchester City this month as part of his rehabilitation following injuries to both knees. Ferguson has allowed the Swede to continue training with United this season, even though his contract expired in the summer.

Blomqvist said: "I know my chances of getting a new contract aren't great, but I feel at home here. I've been progressing well over the last few weeks and the manager has wanted to see me play a little."

Southampton were last night waiting for results from a knee scan on the Ecuador striker, Agustin Delgado, before putting the final touches to a deal that should see him move from Nexaca in Mexico to St Mary's. Nexaca think the player needs knee surgery.

If the signing is completed before this afternoon, Delgado will be eligible to make his debut for the Saints at Fulham tomorrow. Southampton will not say how much they will be paying Nexaca. "I am very excited to be here," Delgado said yesterday, having watched Southampton draw 3-3 with Ipswich at St Mary's on Wednesday.

Delgado, 26, currently leads the goalscoring table in the South American World Cup qualifying competition, having scored nine times in 16 games, including the only goal in a 1-0 victory against Brazil in March, his country's first ever win over their rivals. He has scored 29 times in his 42 internationals.

The Republic of Ireland international Jeff Kenna has been told he can leave Blackburn if he can find another club. The 31-year-old has not figured in Graeme Souness's plans this season and has been granted a free transfer.

Hamilton Academical have parted company with the former Rangers player Robert Prytz in an effort to cut costs. Prytz, who also played with Malmo, has been working as assistant manager to Ally Dawson.

Northampton have confirmed Kevan Broadhurst as manager. Broadhurst has been in charge of the Cobblers on a caretaker basis since Kevin Wilson was sacked at the end of September.

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