Waddle may have stage to himself

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Footballing connoisseurs anticipating an intriguing battle between the First Division's two most skilful players could be disappointed at Maine Road today.

While the visitors, Bradford City, expect Chris Waddle to play his part, Manchester City's manager, Frank Clark, has admitted that Georgi Kinkladze is a major doubt. The inspirational Georgian midfielder limped out of the FA Cup defeat at home to Middlesbrough a fortnight ago and has been under intensive treatment ever since.

Clark has yet to be beaten in six League games since he took over at Maine Road, but he knows that his team are not the only side battling against the drop whose quality belies their lowly position. "Bradford have some very good players and Waddle, without a shadow of a doubt, is an outstanding player. As far as I can tell, they are in a false League position."

Bradford's Portuguese striker, Sergio Pinto, is doubtful with a back problem, while Jonathan Gould is back in goal following the sale of Mark Schwarzer to Middlesbrough. City will have Martyn Margetson in goal following Nottingham Forest's recall of Tommy Wright.

At Grimsby, Birmingham City's beleaguered manager, Trevor Francis, will be desperate for his side to avoid a seventh successive defeat. The Blues are without the suspended Paul Devlin, while Anders Limpar is doubtful.

Charlton's pounds 400,000 signing from West Ham, Steve Jones, misses the trip to Swindon and could be out for at least a month, after injuring his knee in last week's 4-4 draw with Norwich. Sheffield United's new signing John Ebbrell misses the trip to Portsmouth with a foot injury.