Injured Owen struggling to face Tottenham

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Michael Owen is facing a race against time to be fit for Liverpool's visit to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Michael Owen is facing a race against time to be fit for Liverpool's visit to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

A back problem forced the striker to withdraw from England's squad for the friendly with Italy in Turin. Now, with Emile Heskey serving a one-match ban, the Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier faces the prospect of having only Robbie Fowler fit to play in attack at White Hart Lane.

Liverpool also have fitness concerns over Steven Gerrard, ruled out by England with hamstring and groin problems. Houllier may be forced to include the out-of-favour Titi Camara in his squad.

There was good and bad news for Abel Xavier yesterday. Everton's Portuguese international had his nine-month ban for harassing match officials during Euro 2000 reduced to six months on third appeal.

However, the defender still faces a knee operation that will rule him out for a month. He is due to have the operation today and is unlikely to play again until Christmas. He may soon be leaving Everton anyway, following an attack on his employers earlier this week because of what he saw as a lack of support over his appeal.

Norwich City and Blackpool have been fined by the Football Association's disciplinary committee for failing to control their players during their Worthington Cup second-round first-leg fixture at Carrow Road on September 19. Norwich have been fined £30,000 and Blackpool £6,000.

John Aldridge, the Tranmere manager, has been fined £2,500 for misconduct after throwing a water bottle during the game against Barnsley in October. Aldridge has also been banned from the touchline for 14 days from December 3.

Bolton are trying to sign the Cameroon centre-half Pierre Njanka, who is currently on trial from the French side Strasbourg. Sam Allardyce, the Bolton manager, is trying to agree terms with Njanka, who is valued at around £500,000.

The Celtic defender Alan Stubbs, who had a testicle removed last June after a test revealed a cancerous growth, has been admitted to hospital following a new scare. Stubbs was given the all-clear after the operation but a relapse means he will have to undergo further chemotherapy sessions.

Joe Royle must continue his search for a striker after the Chilean Sebastian Rozental failed to impress during a four-day trial period at Manchester City. The Rangers player has been on loan at the Argentine club Independiente.

The Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric has reduced prices for visiting supporters who could get soaked in the club's roofless Milton End. Ticket prices have been cut for the visits of Huddersfield and Sheffield United in December. Earlier this season, Mandaric offered to refund the money of Pompey's travelling fans after their 4-0 Worthington Cup defeat at Blackburn.

An attempt by Aberdeen to take Colin Hendry to Pittodrie has fallen through. The club had hoped to sign the out-of-favour Coventry player on loan, with a view to a permanent move but the defender's wage demands are believed to have been a sticking point.

Christoph Daum, set to take over as Germany's next coach until he failed a drugs test, has passed a second test. His lawyers said in a statement that their client, who has denied any wrongdoing, tested negative in the United States. Daum fled to Florida last month after the first test in Germany proved positive for cocaine, prompting him to resign as the coach of Bayer Leverkusen. He had been due to replace Rudi Völler as the national team coach.

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