Megson fears Anelka 'nightmare'

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The Independent Football

Gary Megson believes it will be "a nightmare" for Bolton if Nicolas Anelka plays for France in their Euro 2008 qualifier against Ukraine next week. Bolton's striker will report for international duty despite missing his last four club games with a hamstring injury.

Anelka is not due to return until early December after being told he would be out for six weeks – which include successive Premier League matches against Manchester United and Liverpool. Anelka suffered the setback in Megson's first game in charge against Aston Villa on 28 October.

The Bolton manager is hoping the France coach, Raymond Domenech, will return the player to his club after he has been assessed by their medical team. "Nicolas has to go, we know that, so they can see what state he is in," said Megson.

"He has a tear on his hamstring and the prognosis was six weeks. It would be a huge mistake if they said he had to stay, train and play. It would be a nightmare for Nick and us."

France currently top Group B and will qualify for the finals without kicking a ball if Italy triumph against Scotland on Saturday. If that does not happen, a point in Kiev next Wednesday will send them to Austria and Switzerland.

France also have a warm-up match on Friday when they entertain Morocco. Megson added: "We have spoken to Nick and told him what we think. He accepts that. However, he still has to report to the squad." Anelka looked on from the stand against Middlesbrough on Sunday, as Bolton remain in the relegation zone with only one win in 13 League games.

Megson added: "We are glad some of our players will have a breather during the international break. Maybe during this time we will also be able to get some of our injured lads back. Given the position we are in we need to start winning games, especially at home."

The Professional Footballers' Association is aiming to raise a minimum of £1m for Manchester Children's Hospital with the launch of their centenary celebrations this year.

The top London store, Harrods – owned by the Fulham chairman, Mohamed Al Fayed – kicked off the project yesterday when he hosted the display of a collection of framed football shirts signed by each of the 34 stars who have been named PFA Player of the Year since the accolade's inception in 1974.

The shirts will be put up for auction next month on 2 December, the very same date the Manchester United and Manchester City great Billy Meredith sat down with fellow professionals for the first meeting of the players' union 100 years ago.

The auction, for which a £50,000 bid has already been lodged, will take place at a gala dinner following a special England v The Rest of the World match at the City of Manchester Stadium where Terry Venables and Sven Goran Eriksson will be the rival coaches.

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