United fans to ignore Palace ban on Cantona masks

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The Independent Football

Manchester United fans are preparing to defy Crystal Palace's ban on wearing Eric Cantona masks tomorrow to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his assault on a Palace supporter. Palace have said that anyone wearing such a mask will be refused entry and those who don them inside Selhurst Park "will be immediately ejected on safety grounds".

Manchester United fans are preparing to defy Crystal Palace's ban on wearing Eric Cantona masks tomorrow to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his assault on a Palace supporter. Palace have said that anyone wearing such a mask will be refused entry and those who don them inside Selhurst Park "will be immediately ejected on safety grounds".

A contributor to the United fanzine Red Issue said yesterday: "I will be wearing a mask and many other United fans will be as well.It is not meant to be provocative or to taunt the Palace fans - there's no rivalry there, Crystal Palace away is a non-event. It is just to bring a bit of colour, atmosphere and enjoyment to the match."

A United player who took part in a road race which caused a crash and left two people injured was imprisoned for 12 months yesterday. Mads Timm, 20, and his 19-year-old former team-mate Callum Flanagan, crashed in Partington, Manchester, after training in January last year. Flanagan was sentenced to eight months' jail.

Liverpool's injury woes worsened yesterday when Neil Mellor became their fifth player, and third striker, to be ruled out for the rest of the season through injury.

Mellor will undergo surgery to cure tendinitis in both knees. "The club have decided surgery is the answer to cure the problems once and for all," a Liverpool statement said.

Liverpool's French striker Djibril Cissé broke his leg in two places against Blackburn in October while his compatriot Florent Sinama-Pongolle suffered a knee ligament injury in the Carling Cup semi-final against Watford. Goalkeeper Chris Kirkland (back) and Xabi Alonso (ankle) are also out for the rest of the campaign.

The 22-year-old Mellor has scored five goals in 16 games this season. Aside from his last-minute winner against Arsenal in the Premiership in November, he also struck with five minutes left to help Liverpool to the 3-1 win over Olympiakos in the Champions' League.

The former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler, said that the responsibility of scoring goals for Manchester City would rest on his shoulders, following the departure of Nicolas Anelka. He was the match-winner on Monday at Norwich, and yesterday said: "I accept I have extra responsibility. I am the senior partner, whether it is Antoine [Sibierski] playing just off the front or Jon Macken up there alongside me."

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