Newcastle to order Bellamy back for pre-season work

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The Independent Football

Craig Bellamy will be ordered to turn up for pre-season training at Newcastle on 22 June as the club raises the stakes for potential buyers.

Craig Bellamy will be ordered to turn up for pre-season training at Newcastle on 22 June as the club raises the stakes for potential buyers.

The 25-year-old striker, on loan at Celtic after his row with Newcastle's manager, Graeme Souness, will receive a letter next week telling him to report back and prepare for a possible Intertoto Cup campaign. The midfielder Hugo Viana, who has spent the season on loan at his former club Sporting Lisbon, will also be expected back after the Newcastle chairman, Freddy Shepherd, failed to get a definitive answer from the Uefa Cup finalists after a recent enquiry as to their intentions.

"We have contractual obligations to both Craig Bellamy and Hugo Viana, just like they have contractual obligations to us," Shepherd said. "If we are playing in the second round of the Intertoto Cup early in July and if they are still at the club, they will be expected to report for training on like everybody else."

Bellamy, who effectively put an end to his career on Tyneside when he branded Souness a liar and has since been accused of sending abusive text messages to Alan Shearer, may scoff at the prospect of returning to a club which will seek to offload him as quickly as possible. Despite Shepherd's bullishness, there is little prospect of Bellamy in particular ever pulling on a black and white shirt again, and it is more likely that the chairman is simply warning interested parties that unless they meet his asking price he will not do business with them.

The Welshman, who has been told by Souness that he will never play for him again, is wanted by Celtic, but the Scottish club is thought to be unwilling or unable to match Newcastle's £6m valuation. Birmingham tried unsuccessfully to sign him during the January transfer window after agreeing a fee, while Aston Villa are interested but may balk at the player's wages.

The Blackburn manager, Mark Hughes, may be interested in his compatriot, but Bellamy believes he has the ability to attract bigger fish, as Steve Bruce found to his cost earlier this year.

Viana cost the Magpies £8.5m when he left Sporting in the summer of 2002, but never settled in the Premiership. The 22-year-old has enjoyed an excellent season back at the Jose Alvalade Stadium and is wanted by the manager, Jose Peseiro. But Newcastle have yet to receive an offer from Sporting and will now listen to alternative bidders as Shepherd seeks to recoup much of the £14.5m he handed to his former manager Sir Bobby Robson to buy the pair in the first place.

Elsewhere, the Football Association yesterday rejected a claim for wrongful dismissal by Southampton on behalf of their striker Peter Crouch. The 24-year-old was sent off for violent conduct during Saturday's 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace after a tussle with the Uruguayan defender Gonzalo Sorondo. He will miss Southampton's final game of the season at home to Manchester United on Sunday and the first two games of next season.

Chelsea confirmed yesterday that their captain, John Terry, will not play again this season. The England defender is to undergo surgery on his injured toe this week.

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