Adams dismisses fitness worries for qualifiers

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The Independent Football

The England captain Tony Adams has insisted that his fitness should not be an issue ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Germany and Finland.

The England captain Tony Adams has insisted that his fitness should not be an issue ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Germany and Finland.

The Arsenal centre-back faces a demanding schedule of four games in the space of two weeks, starting with last night's match against Lazio in the Champions' League, and then continuing at home to Manchester United this weekend.

With the two England qualifiers on 7 and 11 October, there has been some concern over his availability given his latest injury problems. However, ahead of Kevin Keegan's official announcement of his squad for those two games today, Adams said: "The time is right to put the record straight about my fitness. There have been a lot of rumours and a lot of talk from people who don't know."

Keegan Keegan, who will not be attending the official press conference following the recent death of his mother, is certain to rely on the foundation stones of the last squad he named. With only Sol Campbell and Darren Anderton both definitely absent through injury from the original 24-man squad that faced France, that would mean the England coach finding an additional four players to call-up. Although he may also consider whether to replace David James with the Ipswich goalkeeper Richard Wright, it would seem likely that the Chelsea full-back Graeme le Saux and Arsenal's midfielder Ray Parlour will be two of those names. There is still a major injury doubt over Emile Heskey and Robbie Fowler could earn a recall despite his own lack of match-fitness.

Christophe Daum - the coach who will plot Germany's World Cup bid - is under investigation for fraud and embezzlement involving £2.4m.

The startling revelation about the 46-year-old was made yesterday as he confirmed he would sign a deal to become the full-time coach of the German national side before the opening game with England. Daum is under investigation from the public prosecutors in Cologne after allegations by a former business partner, Jochen Kress, who is now in jail.

Kress has claimed Daum "cheated" him out of the money in deals to develop 72 apartments in various Mediterranean holiday resorts. He gave his statement to police from his prison cell and Daum confessed that he has been quizzed about the allegations.

"I am glad it is out in the open now," Daum said. "I have to put my faith in justice. I have to find the strength to get through this."

On a lighter note Daum, currently in charge of Bayer Leverkusen, has revealed he will take over as coach after having "second thoughts" about the position. "I will definitely be national coach and sign a contract next week," he said.

Steve Bruce is ready to sign the Bolivian striker Jaime Moreno for struggling Huddersfield Town.

Bruce is looking for a goalscorer to steer his troubled side out of trouble at the foot of the First Division and Moreno, who had two spells with Bryan Robson at Middlesbrough, has flown in for talks with the Yorkshire club and could sign for the remainder of the season. The striker is still a big star in the United States' Major League Soccer and he is being allowed to come to England for the year to keep up his fitness and sharpness.

Saudi Arabia are to calling for the release of their England-based striker Sami Al Jaber 14 days before the start of the Asian Cup in Lebanon.

The national coach, Milan Macala, will demand Al Jaber's release from Wolves following the Midlands club's game against Nottingham Forest this weekend.

Al Jaber joined Wolves at the start of September, making his full debut in the 3-2 defeat to Grimsby Town in the Worthington Cup on Tuesday night. He became the first Saudi to sign for an English side when he joined on a four-year contract after leaving the Riyadh club Al Hilal.

Fifa's rules stipulate that clubs must release players two weeks before major tournaments. Saudi Arabia kick off their defence of the Asian Cup against Japan on 14 October. The tournament begins on 12 October, with the final to be held on 30 October.

Hibernian have offered the former PSV Eindhoven goalkeeper Mike Franks a three-month contract.

The 23-year-old Canadian has been brought in as cover for current Easter Road club's Nick Colgan. But the Hibernian manager, Alex McLeish, wants to see Franks challenge Colgan for a first-team place. "Mike looks a very capable keeper and we are looking for him to challenge for his place," said McLeish.

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