Fowler ready to start his season

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The Independent Online
Robbie Fowler is ready to play his first game of the season - in Liverpool's reserves.

The club's top scorer last season has been ruled out by a knee injury he sustained in a pre-season friendly in Norway. He looks likely to appear for the reserves in their home Pontins League match with Derby tomorrow, a game switched from Saturday because of Diana, Princess of Wales' funeral.

But while one international returns to action, another could be leaving Anfield, as there is mounting speculation that Jason McAteer could be on his way from the club soon. The Republic of Ireland international has lost his place as a wing-back to Rob Jones and has managed only two appearances as substitute for the England full-back in Liverpool's opening four matches. Tottenham are reported to be preparing a pounds 5m bid, and Monaco are also said to be interested.

Barnsley have signed Ashley Ward from Derby in a deal which could eventually cost them than pounds 1.5m. They will pay an initial pounds 1.3m for the striker, and a further pounds 250,000 if they avoid relegation. Derby will receive 20 per cent of any future transfer fee. Ward signed for Derby from Norwich City in March last year for pounds 1m but injury restricted his appearances and dented his form.

Barnsley refused to confirm any details, but have called a press conference at Oakwell for midday tomorrow when, a spokesman confirmed, they would be unveiling "a major new signing".

Danny Wilson, Barnsley's manager, made the move to sign Ward after his team lost 1-0 at Derby on Saturday. Afterwards he berated his forward line for squandering numerous chances.

Aston Villa will oppose any attempt to move their Uefa Cup first round first leg clash with Bordeaux to Thursday 18 September. There have been suggestions that Bordeaux want to switch the match in France from Tuesday for live television coverage. Villa are not keen on the idea. Their secretary, Steve Stride, said: "If they asked for the match to be put back to the Wednesday then we would consider it. But Thursday is definitely out. "We have a match against Derby on the Saturday and another game at Liverpool the following Monday."

Tranmere have signed Dirk Hebel, a 24-year-old German midfielder, on a free transfer from the Turkish club Bursaspor. He has agreed a two- year contract with the First Division club.

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