Spurs ponder action on Iversen

Tottenham Hotspur are considering taking action against the Norwegian Football Association after their striker Steffen Iversen aggravated an ankle injury playing for the Under-21 team against Switzerland.

Iversen was not expected to take any part in Tuesday's game, having damaged his ankle in training the previous week. "I was astonished to get a phone call from Norway saying that Steffen played," Gerry Francis, the Spurs manager, said. "He hadn't trained with us for over a week and we let him go to Norway purely so he could see their doctor to confirm that he was injured and be sent home.

"I was already resigned to the fact he would not play for us at Leicester on Saturday, so to find that he had played in Norway was a shock. We will certainly be looking into it to see what action we can take."

Stuart Ripley will not play for Blackburn for at least a fortnight and he could be out for six weeks. The winger pulled up with a hamstring injury eight minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute during England's World Cup win over Moldova at Wembley on Wednesday - his first international appearance for four years.

Nigel Clough has decided that Manchester City's reserve team is no place for a forward who once commanded a pounds 1.5m transfer fee and has joined Sheffield Wednesday on loan.

Port Vale yesterday sold Jon McCarthy, the Northern Ireland international winger, to their First Division rivals Birmingham City for pounds 1.5m, and then bought the Lincoln City winger Gareth Ainsworth for pounds 500,000.

"We were reluctant to see Jon go, but he turned down a new three-year contract and we couldn't risk him just walking out at the end of the season for nothing," John Rudge, Vale's manager, said. "He has been a brilliant player and done a tremendous job for Port Vale."

Rudge did not waste any time plugging the gap by signing the 24-year- old Ainsworth for a club record - the fee topping that paid by Vale when they bought McCarthy from York City for pounds 450,000 two years ago.

The Carlisle United manager Mervyn Day has been sacked after a four-hour meeting with the club president Michael Knighton. Day, who took over as manager 16 months ago, was not the only casualty at Brunton Park. The physiotherapist and assistant coach, Peter Hampton, as well as the commercial manager, Martin Hudson, were also shown the door. David Wilkes, the club's youth team coach has taken temporary control.

Although Carlisle have lost four of their opening six matches and are bottom of the Second Division, the sackings are not thought to be related solely to the team's poor start.

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