Strachan's advice sends Whelan to Coventry

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The Independent Online

Noel Whelan can thank Gordon Strachan for yesterday's pounds 2m move from Leeds United to Coventry City. Ron Atkinson, the City manager, paid out a club record fee for the England Under-21 striker on the advice of Strachan, the former Leeds' midfielder who is now No 2 at Highfield Road.

"It is no secret he is a very good player, but when Gordon joined us he spoke glowingly about the player," said Atkinson, who is looking to spend a further pounds 3m on the Crystal Palace defender Chris Coleman. "In fact he said that if there was one player we should get if we possibly could, it was Noel Whelan. I tried to get him pre-season and then again when we played at Leeds a few weeks ago. I must admit I was surprised they let him go this time, but they have laid out some money to buy in players."

Whelan is likely to make his debut alongside Dion Dublin against Aston Villa on Saturday.

The Nottingham Forest winger Ian Woan has agreed to sign a new contract after making his peace with manager Frank Clark.

Woan, who was dropped by Clark for Sunday's game with Aston Villa after criticising the club's contract offer and writing off Forest's Uefa Cup hopes, will sign a four-year deal within the next few days.

"I'm delighted at the way things have turned out," Clark said. "Ian and I sat down and sorted out the football side of things and then came to an agreement over the contract. The matter is over as far as I'm concerned. Dropping him was punishment enough."

Sheffield Wednesday's pounds 4m signing of the Red Star Belgrade duo Darko Kovacevic and Dejan Stefanovic has been given the go-ahead by the Department of Employment.

Wednesday yesterday announced that work permits had been granted - seven weeks after a deal between the clubs had been agreed. The pair, who are both 21 and Yugoslavian internationals, are due at Hillsborough on Thursday and will watch the match against Leeds on Saturday.

Birmingham have withdrawn from a deal to sign Barcelona midfielder Ronnie Ekelund after failing to agree terms with the Danish international.

The Queen's Park Rangers unsettled midfielder Ned Zelic has joined Eintracht Frankfurt in a loan move that could lead to a permanent transfer. Alan Thompson has been ruled out of Bolton's plans until February after becoming the third player at the club to require a hernia operation.