Rough terrain for England

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The Independent Online
England's trip to Georgia for next month's World Cup qualifier looks like being a bumpy ride. John Gorman, the assistant to the England manager, Glenn Hoddle, has just returned from a trip to Tbilisi - and has brought back tales of a poor pitch and worse training facilities.

The pitch in the Boris Paichadze stadium, where Georgia meet England on 9 November, has been roughed up by rugby players. "The pitch is certainly not what we are used to, but they have promised to work on it and get it in the best condition they can before we come over," Gorman said. "It's a different world. They simply do not have the facilities we do, and it will be difficult for us. But we simply have to make do and get on with it."

"The country's not in the best of states but the feeling for football is tremendous and, while they do not have the money, they have a great love for the game," Gorman added. "I don't want to criticise them, because wherever we went we received only the warmest of welcomes and great help."

At least the team's base in Tbilisi, the Metachi Palace Hotel, should be suitable. "The hotel is excellent," Gorman said. "It is the only hotel in Tbilisi, but it's top class and they have an English chef who is in charge of the food."

Arsenal's John Hartson, who has been captaining the Under-21 side, is expected to earn promotion to the senior squad when Bobby Gould names his squad today for the World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands in Eindhoven on 9 November.

The Scottish Football Association will have the final say on whether the Coca-Cola Cup winners will represent Scotland in the Uefa Cup next season. European football's governing body confirmed yesterday that Scotland will again have two representatives in the competition. Traditionally, the League Cup winners and the Premier Division runners-up take part.

Hibernian announced yesterday that last season turnover had increased by a third and pre-tax profits were up by almost 30 per cent. For the year up to 31 July, turnover rose from pounds 2.4m to pounds 3.2m, while pre-tax profits increased from pounds 51,000 to pounds 66,000.

Romario's future is uncertain after the Brazilian striker's former team, Flamengo, called off negotiations for his return from Spain's Valencia. Romario, who is currently in Brazil, left Flamengo and signed for two seasons with Valencia in August, but a few weeks into the season he fell out with the Valencia coach, Luis Aragones.

Referee Linda Bailey and her assistants, Anne Smart and Karen Ford, are set to become the first all-women team of officials in Britain to handle a senior men's game. They will be in charge of the match between Broomfield and Kent University in the Nuclear Electric Kent County League tomorrow.

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