Bellamy stranded on Tyne

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The Independent Online

Craig Bellamy could find himself out in the cold for the rest of the season as Newcastle are still waiting for a meaningful offer.

Craig Bellamy could find himself out in the cold for the rest of the season as Newcastle are still waiting for a meaningful offer.

The Welsh international will not be included in the squad for Saturday's FA Cup fourth round tie with his former club Coventry and, with the transfer window closing on Monday, seems likely to remain on Tyneside.

Burnley have joined Stoke, Portsmouth and Norwich in inquiring about possible loan deals, but chairman Freddy Shepherd has yet to receive any firm offer. The logistics of tabling a bid, carrying out a medical and processing a transfer would take several days, and Souness would have little time to recruit a replacement, especially having seen his interest in Portsmouth's Aiyegbeni Yakubu rebuffed. Meanwhile, Bellamy's former Coventry team-mate Steve Froggatt disclosed yesterday how unpopular Bellamy had been at Highfield Road.

"Bellamy has often been labelled as an arrogant and an obnoxious player and I have to agree with that description," Froggatt said. "I played with Craig when I was at Coventry in the 2000-01 season and he was certainly not liked in the dressing room. When he first turned up after signing from Norwich for £6.5m he came in holding a pair of gold boots and thought he was the business ... The senior players took a real dislike to him. When I walked in the dressing room they were hammering him constantly."

Elsewhere, Blackburn have rejected a second bid from Rangers for Barry Ferguson. The new offer, which guaranteed Rovers £3.5m and would have risen to £4m after a set number of appearances, still fell short of Rovers' £6m valuation. A Rangers spokesman said they would not be going back to Ewood Park with a better offer.

The Birmingham manager Steve Bruce has signed his 20-year-old son, Alex, from Blackburn on a two-and-half-year deal. Bruce junior, who can play in central defence or midfield, will remain on loan to Oldham until March.

Elsewhere, a Football Association spokesman expressed "disappointment" at the police decision which means England's World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland on 26 March must kick off at 3pm. The game at Old Trafford therefore clashes with all other fixtures that afternoon. The FA wanted an early evening kick-off, but police advice was that 3pm was unavoidable due to public order concerns.

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