Hernia operation sidelines Anderton

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Darren Anderton, the Tottenham midfielder, is to go into hospital next week for a hernia operation, ruling him out of England's World Cup qualifying match against Poland at Wembley on 9 October.

Tottenham's assistant manager, Roger Cross, said Anderton, who is also struggling with a groin injury, decided before last night's Coca-Cola Cup match against Preston, during which he limped off, to go ahead with the surgery.

The England match could be a sell-out, as more than half the tickets have already been sold.

Ron Atkinson, the Coventry City manager, and his assistant, Gordon Strachan, were yesterday charged by the Football Association with bringing the game into disrepute. Liam Daish faces a similar charge following incidents during the match at Chelsea in August.

Atkinson and Strachan were charged after remonstrating from the touchline with officials following a disputed goal, while Daish, sent off by the referee Paul Danson for foul and abusive language, faces charge relating to an incident after the game outside the referee's dressing-room.

Duncan Ferguson is facing up to six weeks on the sidelines after surgery on a knee injury. The Scotland striker's absence is a blow for his Everton manager, Joe Royle, who is trying to pull his side away from the foot of the Premiership. The operation also rules the striker out of three of Scotland's World Cup qualifiers.

Another Merseyside club, Tranmere, have signed the former Wimbledon central defender Andy Thorn on a two-year contract. Rovers' player-manager, John Aldridge, wants the 29-year-old as cover, because John McGreal is expected to be out for three months because of ankle surgery.

Sunderland have been fined pounds 1,000 after fielding a suspended player, Alex Rae, in a reserve match in pre-season.

Chris Coleman's future at Blackburn Rovers is in doubt. The Wales defender was dropped in midweek and will find his way into the side blocked by Henning Berg and Graeme Le Saux. He cost pounds 1.7m from Crystal Palace less than a year ago.

Doncaster Rovers, bottom of the Nationwide League, has been put up for sale, two days after another Third Division club, Cambridge United, was placed on the market. Its controlling company, Dinard Trading, advertised its 51 per cent shareholding yesterday.