Pleat unhappy with Petrescu

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The Independent Online
David Pleat, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, has taken exception to remarks by Dan Petrescu and has threatened to drop the Romanian international. Petrescu has been reported as saying: "I want to play for a club with ambition and ability" and that he wants to leave Hillsbrough and play alongside Ruud Gullit at Chelsea even though he has three years left on his Wednesday contract.

Pleat was singularly unimpressed. "I am very unhappy about this," he said. "The club will not be held to ransom. Dan has a lucrative four-year contract here. If he doesn't want to be in our first team, perhaps he can play in our reserves. Dan has not been knocking on my door. It is his agent who is demanding more money for the player."

The Arsenal manager Bruce Rioch will lead the bidding for Paul Ince if Internazionale put the former Manchester United midfielder up for sale. Ince has been the target of intense criticism as the Milan club have struggled this season. The sacking of coach Ottavio Bianchi has intensified speculation that the pounds 7m signing, who has had difficulty adapting to playing in Serie A, will soon move.

Rioch said: "I made an inquiry for Paul before he joined Inter. It is well known I'm interested in signing any good players that become available. Paul certainly comes into that category."

Jack Charlton, the Republic of Ireland manager, has recalled six key players to his 22-man squad for the vital group six European Championship qualifying tie against Latvia at Lansdowne Road on 11 October.

Back come Blackburn's Jeff Kenna, Phil Babb and Jason McAteer of Liverpool, Motherwell's Tommy Coyne, Alan McLoughlin (Portsmouth) and Liam Daish (Birmingham). They were all missing when the Republic suffered a major setback in their attempt to qualify for Euro '96 when Charlton's team lost 3-1 to Austria in Vienna last month. That loss meant that the Republic have picked up just five points from their last five games.

The only surprise omission is Terry Phelan, while Steve Staunton - who has not played for his club, Aston Villa, this season following a heel injury - has been invited to join the squad in Dublin in the hope that he may be available. Staunton and Phelan could still come into the reckoning because of injury doubts surrounding Denis Irwin and Tony Cascarino.

Also in Group Six, Jimmy Quinn has been given the chance to break the Northern Ireland goalscoring record at the age of 34. The Reading player- manager, who is two goals behind Colin Clarke's record of 13, has been recalled to the squad for their game in Lichtenstein on 11 October. Quinn replaces the West Ham striker Iain Dowie, who is serving a one-match ban.

Bryan Hamilton has made two other changes from the 1-1 draw in Portugal earlier this month, with one of them enforced by suspension. Like Dowie, the Newcastle winger Keith Gillespie must also sit out the Lichtenstein return. That brings a recall for the first time in 10 months for the Hibernian midfielder Michael O'Neill. The Queen's Park Rangers centre-back Alan McDonald returns after his one-match ban.

Watford yesterday paid Ipswich pounds 135,000 for their 27-year-old midfielder Steve Palmer.

Squads, Sporting Digest, page 29

Oxford's legal battle, page 22