O'Neill ready to break record to bring in Booth

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The Independent Online

Leicester are poised to smash their transfer record by signing the Sheffield Wednesday striker, Andy Booth, in a deal which could be worth up to £2.75m. The Foxes have agreed a fee with the Hillsborough club for Booth, who was due to have talks yesterday with their manager, Martin O'Neill.

Leicester are poised to smash their transfer record by signing the Sheffield Wednesday striker, Andy Booth, in a deal which could be worth up to £2.75m. The Foxes have agreed a fee with the Hillsborough club for Booth, who was due to have talks yesterday with their manager, Martin O'Neill.

City desperately need additional firepower to supplement the current strike-force of Emile Heskey and Tony Cottee, with only the veteran Ian Marshall as back-up to that pair.

The arrival of Booth, however, if he agrees personal terms, is not the forerunner to the departure of the in-demand Heskey, who has been linked with Leeds and Liverpool. O'Neill is keen to hang on to his prized asset for as long as possible to help Leicester towards their goal of a European spot.

Booth has a long history of injury problems but has been in fine form recently for Wednesday since regaining his first-team spot, but their manager, Danny Wilson, needs to generate cash to bring in new players and off-loading Booth would help considerably. Leicester have agreed to pay an initial £2.5m which will rise to £2.75m depending on appearances. It breaks the previous club record of £2.3m they paid to Chelsea for the defender Frank Sinclair.

The Football Association will keep their options open right up until the weekend deadline before deciding on the FA Cup draw format. Manchester United have until Saturday evening's second-round draw to decide on their participation in this season's competition. The FA will then select one of several options to allow the Cup to continue without interruption.

"We have a number of options in mind as to how the draw will take place depending on whether Manchester United are in the FA Cup this year or not," the FA spokesman, Adrian Bevington, said.

The Newcastle full-back, Andy Griffin, will be out for the next two months with a back injury. The news is a fresh blow to Newcastle's manager, Bobby Robson, as he wrestles with an injury-plagued squad.

Griffin, who has yet to kick a ball this season because of the problem, had hoped to be in line for a place against Arsenal at Highbury on Saturday with Warren Barton starting a four-match ban, but after breaking down in a reserve game at Sunderland eight days ago, he is back on the treatment table.

The Birmingham City manager, Trevor Francis, faces losing the strikers Peter Ndlovu and Andrew Johnson for the rest of the season.

Ndlovu has had ankle surgery after injuring himself in the Blues' 2-0 Worthington Cup victory over Newcastle earlier this month. Johnson suffered major knee ligament damage during last week's defeat to Manchester City.

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