Richards is not distracted by Hoddle bid

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The Independent Online

Dean Richards' agent insists the continuing battle between Southampton and Tottenham's former Saints manager Glenn Hoddle for the centre-back's signature will not affect his performances.

The 27-year-old was the subject of a rejected £4m bid from Spurs on Wednesday and, as Hoddle prepares a fresh bid for the much coveted player, Richards' representative, Ian Elliott, has spoken of his client's mental coolness.

The defender helped keep the Leeds attack at bay until the final 23 minutes of Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Elland Road and Elliott said: "Dean doesn't get flustered. He knows the situation and there's nothing we can do until the clubs have agreed a fee. I would certainly expect Tottenham to come back with another bid.

"We haven't heard anything," he added. "But he knows the situation – he is a Southampton player and he has got four years [left] on his contract."

While Elliott told of his willingness to re-open negotiations at a moment's notice, the Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe has reiterated his determination to cling on to the defender.

"I haven't heard a word," Lowe said. "The player's not for sale and he is registered with us for the next four years. We are just getting on with our lives.

"We have got a big game here against Chelsea on Saturday [their first in the Premiership at their new £32m 32,250-capacity home]. And as to what Tottenham are going to do I can't speculate."

Hoddle, meanwhile, said: "You need the right balance with experience – and I am on record as saying we still need another centre-half.

"Hopefully, we will go in with an improved offer for Dean some time later this week. We need one or two more players yet because the aim here is to get a squad that can carry a few injuries to key players.

"We haven't got that yet but there are several [teams] in the Premiership who can afford to be without three or four top players and still be challenging at the top."

Blackpool have signed the much-travelled striker Graham Fenton, a former England Under-21 striker, on a free transfer from St Mirren.

The Dunfermline centre-half Andy Tod has joined Bradford City in a loan deal. The big defender – out-of-favour under Jimmy Calderwood and on loan at Stockport County last season – could make his debut in the Worthington Cup at Macclesfield tonight.

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