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NEW Bristol Rovers gaffer Mark McGhee has confessed to a few butterflies after taking charge of the ailing club this week.
The 54-year-old Glaswegian has had years of managerial experience with the likes of Wolves, Millwall, Brighton, Leicester, Reading and Aberdeen, the club he was sacked from in December 2010.
His call to the hot seat by the League Two strugglers is his first since leaving the Scottish outfit and he admitted: “I’m excited but a little nervous too! We’re in a difficult position and my main focus right now is to keep us in the Football League. It’s a huge responsibility.”
McGhee was a European Cup Winners’ Cup winner as a striker with Aberdeen in 1983. He also played for Celtic, Newcastle and Hamburg.
Bristol City have tied up a deal to keep centre-half Liam Fontaine at the club for a further two-and-a-half years. “I’m delighted Liam has agreed to sign because he’s someone we really wanted to keep hold of,” boss Derek McInnes enthused. “It’s great business for the club.”
It has been a hectic spell of off-field negotiating for McInnes, who this week recruited Derby’s 29-year-old Scotland midfielder Stephen Pearson, and Aberdeen’s 26-year-old skipper, and utility defender, Richard Foster, who had been with his previous club for nine years.
Blue Square Bet Premier side Forest Green Rovers have snapped-up strikers Matthew Paterson, from Southend United, and Liam Henderson (for a second spell), from York City, on loan, while 21-year-old attacking midfielder Michael Uwezu has signed on until the end of the season and defender Chris Stokes has penned a two-year contract extension.
Former Weston-super-Mare goalkeeper Ryan Northmore has been elevated on to the board of directors at the Woodspring Stadium club. Northmore has enjoyed a successful three-and-a-half year stint as Weston’s academy director and will continue in that role, despite becoming a director.
Southern League side Mangotsfield United have signed 25-year-old Curtis Jack from Chippenham Townbut have lost the services of experienced fellow defender Neil Arndale, who is quitting the game for now due to work commitments.
Relegation-threatened Conference National side Bath City have persuaded Hereford United striker Sean Canham to return to them on a half-season loan arrangement. Canham, no relation to Romans’ midfielder Marc Canham although the pair once performed together at Team Bath, was on loan at Twerton Park for two months earlier in the campaign.
Toolstation Premier Division high-fliers Bitton have announced they will not be applying for promotion to the higher level this year due to their financial situation. “It’s a disappointment but I understand why the club have taken the decision,” manager Richard Fey said.
Bitton’s rivals Bishop Sutton have made an approach to sign Brislington’s former Bristol Rovers striker Josh Klein-Davies.
Former Almondsbury Town and Cinderford centre-back John Lock has rejoined Toolstation Premier Division side Brislington.
CRICKET: Gloucestershire CCC’s hopes of a £10 million redevelopment of their Nevil Road ground have been dealt a major setback after Bristol City Council planners refused them permission to build 147 flats that would help fund the scheme. The decision means Gloucestershire may no longer be able to host international cricket, while chief executive Tom Richardson insisted the club might have to move out of Bristol altogether.
CRICKET: Somerset have been boosted by the news that their 24-year-old England wicketkeeping batsman Craig Kieswetter has agreed to stay with the county club until 2014, while opting not to partake in the big-bucks Indian Premier League during that time.
WEIGHTLIFTING: Great Britain Olympic Games hopeful Sonny Webster, from Bristol, did his call-up cause no harm by breaking three national under-18 lifting records, watched by Olympic selectors in London.
SNOOKER: Bristol potting sensation Judd Trump has said he plans to ram criticism from fellow players and pundits about his adventurous style down their throats, after clinching his first major prize with a 10-8 victory over Mark Allen in the final of the UK Championships in York.