Cech must wear special helmet in comeback match

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The Independent Football

Petr Cech revealed yesterday that he will have to wear a special helmet when he returns to action. The Czech international, 24, who is expected to return against Liverpool on Saturday in the Premiership, has been out since October after a collision with Reading's Stephen Hunt left him requiring surgery on a fractured skull.

"The specialists have allowed me to train 100 per cent and unless something unexpected happens at the check-up, I should receive official permission to play matches," the Chelsea goalkeeper said. "But I will have to play with a special helmet. It does not limit me, however; I've been training with it for two months and I've got used to wearing it very easily." Cech, who is to have a final check-up tomorrow, ahead of Saturday's fixture, added: "I am not going to be afraid. The training sessions confirmed I have nothing to fear. Someone may say it is easy to say this when you are not on the pitch yet but I am deeply convinced I'm not going to be afraid.

"Physically I feel very well. As regards technical skills, I've had several weeks to drill it and I should be OK. We shall see how I will feel this week when I will start full training but I think it should be fine."

Elsewhere, the Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock has freshened up his squad with two arrivals and one departure. The Jamaican international Luton Shelton has joined from the Swedish club Helsingborg for a fee in the region of £2m, subject to international clearance, with the Senegal defender Mamadou Seck signing a two-and-a-half-year deal after his free transfer from Le Havre. However, the striker Neil Shipperley, who has not played for the Blades this season, has had his contract terminated by mutual consent.

The Wigan defender Andy Webster has finally been given the go-ahead to join Rangers on loan by the Scottish Football Association. The 24-year-old defender had agreed a deal earlier until it emerged that his former club Hearts still held his registration. However, the SFA cancelled this after consultation with Fifa.

Alex McLeish, meanwhile, heads a "short" all-Scottish list of candidates to replace Walter Smith as the manager of Scotland following a meeting of the SFA's board of directors yesterday morning. No names were revealed but it is understood that McLeish, who left Rangers in May, is the No 1 choice, ahead of Tommy Burns, Jim Jefferies, Gary McAllister, Craig Levein and Joe Jordan.

Burns, who was Smith's No 2 and is a Celtic coach, is seen as the continuity candidate. Hiring Jefferies, the Kilmarnock manager, or Levein of Dundee United, or Jordan, the No 2 at Portsmouth, would entail paying compensation (of differing degrees), something the SFA would prefer to avoid.

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