Hartford has 'no desire' for City top job

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The Independent Online
Asa Hartford surprised Manchester City yesterday by ruling himself out of the running for the manager's job at Maine Road. Hartford becomes the caretaker manager tonight when City play Charlton Athletic in their first game since Alan Ball resigned, but emphasised he has no ambitions to take on the position permanently.

The former Scottish international ended speculation that he would be City's next manager, despite hints by the chairman, Francis Lee, that good results could give him that chance. "I've got no real desire to go for the job," Hartford said. "I'm not going to apply and I've not shown any interest. I won't get carried away either. I want to remain assistant manager. I've got a contract here for that post. I'm only taking temporary charge."

The Blackburn striker Kevin Gallacher picked up a bizarre injury on international duty during a half-time warm-up. Gallacher may miss Rovers' home match against Leeds United tomorrow after damaging his thigh in the kick-around for Scotland in Austria.

Ray Harford, the Rovers manager, watched the Swedish striker Martin Dahlin at the weekend. The unsettled, 28-year-old Roma forward, who would cost pounds 3m, scored in a World Cup qualifier in Latvia.

The Leeds manager, Howard Wilkinson, announced that he has failed to sign the Spanish sweeper Miguel Nadal from Barcelona and then put on a different hat to criticise the Premier League for arranging midweek matches after a weekend of punishing internationals. Wilkinson, the chairman of the League Managers' Association, believes that international fixtures were moved to the weekend "with a view to clubs having the players back for a full week before the next match. If you're going to have matches on a Wednesday there's no difference from the old system of midweek internationals followed by club games on a Saturday," he said.

Also calling for more recovery time was Gerry Francis, who demanded that England play all their internationals on Saturdays after injuries to Teddy Sheringham and Ian Walker added to Tottenham Hotspur's lengthy casualty list.

Spurs visit Wimbledon tomorrow and are already without broken leg victim Gary Mabbutt and Sheringham's strike-partner Chris Armstrong. Darren Anderton is also troubled by a groin strain.

Manchester United are resigned to losing the services of the midfielder Roy Keane for the Champions' League match with Juventus next Wednesday. Keane had surgery on his knee a fortnight ago, but has not recovered sufficiently to be included in Alex Ferguson's plans for United's opening game against the European Cup holders in Turin.

Middlesbrough are prepared to listen to offers for Jan Fjortoft, the Norwegian international striker. "Fjortoft has not figured in my Premier League side this season," Bryan Robson, the Boro manager, said. "At this stage of his career he needs first-team football."

The 29-year-old Fjortoft, who joined Middlesbrough from Swindon Town for pounds 1.3m two years ago, turned down a move to the Malaysian champions, Selangor, last month.