Hinchcliffe retirement prompts tribute by Yorath

Kieran Daley
Thursday 28 March 2002 01:00

Terry Yorath, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, yesterday paid tribute to the former England defender Andy Hinchcliffe, who has been forced to retire at the age of 33 following surgery on his left knee.

Hinchcliffe, capped seven times by his country, suffered the injury in the Owls' match against Crewe in January.

"Andy's left foot was second to none, especially on set-pieces," said Yorath. "People didn't see the hard work and effort he put in to getting back to fitness this season, and for his comeback to end after 15 minutes was very sad."

The Wales midfielder Jason Koumas has pledged his immediate future to Tranmere after turning down a possible move to West Bromwich Albion.

The 22-year-old has spent the last few weeks considering a £2.75m transfer but, following talks with his representatives and West Bromwich, he has decided to stay at Prenton Park. The Albion chairman, Paul Thompson, said: "We shook hands on a four-year deal – we're very disappointed Jason has decided not to join us."

However, the Leicester striker Trevor Benjamin has revealed he "jumped at the chance" to join the Baggies on loan for the rest of the season. Benjamin said: "It's an honour to join a club with such massive potential."

West Bromwich's promotion rivals Wolves have completed the £1m signing of the midfielder Kevin Cooper from Wimbledon and are hoping to tie up a loan move for the Leicester defender Jacob Laursen. Cooper, who turned down a move to Albion last week but has signed a four-year contract at Molineux, played under the Wanderers manager, Dave Jones, when he was at Stockport.

"The fact that I have already worked with Dave was a factor in my decision to join Wolves," Cooper said. "I have won promotion with him before and hope I can do it again."

The Stockport County manager, Carlton Palmer, is ready to offer a contract to the on-loan Blackburn striker Mark Byrne. The 18-year-old made his first start for the Edgeley Park club in the 2-0 home defeat by Preston on Saturday.

Palmer said: "Mark has done very well. He has got great pace and strength and we will be sitting down with him in the next few days."

Grimsby's Dutch defender Menno Willems has asked for a transfer after not playing for the Mariners since February 10.

Barnsley have rejected the opportunity to take Blackburn's out-of-favour striker Egil Ostenstad on loan, but have signed the striker Kevin Betsy for an undisclosed fee from Fulham. The injury-prone striker Lee Jones has left Oakwell after having his contract terminated by mutual consent.

Walsall have parted company with the experienced striker Brett Angell after he decided to join Rushden & Diamonds challenge for a Third Division play-off place.

Stoke have signed the midfielder Tony Dinning on loan from their Second Division rivals Wigan for the rest of the season.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 internationals Shelley and Molloy have signed pre-contract agreements to join Carlisle at the end of the season. The Cumbrians are at present barred from buying players until a loan of almost £40,000 is repaid to the Professional Footballers' Association.

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