Keegan backs Pearce for Fulham job

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The Independent Football

Stuart Pearce is a surprise name in the running for the managerial vacancy at Fulham – with the approval of the Manchester City manager, Kevin Keegan.

The former England full-back has had only one year of coaching experience at City since retiring and that may count against him getting the main job at Fulham, despite apparent recommendations from Keegan. But he could be offered a position as part of a management team if the right No 1 is appointed. He was linked with a couple of First Division jobs a year ago before deciding to learn his skills at Maine Road.

Eyal Berkovic is hoping to be back in the City side at Bolton on Saturday after returning to training following a three-month injury lay-off. The Israeli playmaker, 31 today, has made one appearance this year after having groin surgery.

In defence, Keegan has a problem at left-back for the Bolton game after Danny Tiatto pulled out of a comeback yesterday. Keegan wanted the Australian to play for the reserves and then replace the suspended Dane, Niclas Jensen. But Tiatto's long-standing stomach muscle problems have flared up again and prevent that. Sylvain Distin may now be moved across to left-back, forcing Keegan to reshuffle his central defenders.

Aston Villa have been told they will not face any charges from the Football Association following crowd problems during their local derby against Birmingham last month. There were four pitch invasions and one home fan ran the length of the Villa Park pitch to confront the Birmingham midfielder Robbie Savage. But Villa have received a letter from the FA praising them for their handling of the trouble that erupted during the visitors' 2-0 win.

While Villa will not face action over crowd problems, both clubs have been charged with failing to control their players. The Villa striker Dion Dublin, who head-butted Savage, and the Birmingham striker Christophe Dugarry, who spat in the direction of the Villa midfielder Joey Gudjonsson, have also been charged with misconduct.

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