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Sherwood to placate Blackburn protesters

Tim Sherwood, the Blackburn captain, is considering making a public apology to the club's supporters tomorrow night to counter protests over an offensive gesture he is alleged to have made on Saturday.

Blackburn's Radio Rovers was inundated with irate callers after the 1- 1 draw against Aston Villa, and they continued to besiege the club switchboard yesterday. Now club officials are thought to be advising Sherwood that he should act quickly to diffuse the situation before Blackburn's opening Champions' League fixture, against Spartak Moscow tomorrow.

Sherwood insisted he did nothing wrong. "I wasn't aware of any reaction from the crowd and I didn't make any gesture," he said.

Ray Harford, the Blackburn manager, said: "I didn't see anything offensive."

Two players expected to make swift returns are Arsenal's David Platt and Andrei Kanchelskis, Everton's pounds 5m summer signing. Platt, who underwent surgery on his left knee on August 31, said he expected to be fit sooner than the nine weeks some reports had predicted. "I am hoping to be back playing earlier than that," he said. Kanchelskis will not need surgery on the shoulder he dislocated on Saturday.

Manchester City's Paul Walsh has returned to his former club for pounds 500,000, Portsmouth, with Gerry Creaney travelling in the opposite direction. Pompey immediately used the profit on Creaney's pounds 1m sale to sign West Ham's Martin Allen for pounds 500,000. The transfers of the Danish midfielder Johnny Vilstrup to Luton for pounds 175,000 and Paul Davis's move from Arsenal to Brentford on a free transfer were also completed.

n The Benfica coach, Artur Jorge, has quit on the eve of the Lisbon club's opening Uefa Cup tie. The former Benfica trainer, Mario Wilson, will be charge for tonight's visit to the Belgian side, Lierse.