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I'M NOT DUBLIN YOUR MONEY; Roy won't give Dion any special wage deal.

BLACKBURN boss Roy Hodgson is set to fork out close to pounds 7million for Coventry striker Dion Dublin - but he will not break the Ewood Park wage structure to secure the deal.

England international Dublin will now discuss personal terms with with Blackburn after the clubs agreed an initial pounds 5.9m fee, rising to pounds 6.75m depending upon appearances.

He signed a new contract at Highfield Road in the summer which was believed to be worth pounds 20,000- a-week.

But Rovers manager Hodgson, who has already spent nearly pounds 13m on Kevin Davies and Christian Dailly, says he will not be held to ransom by the former Cambridge and Manchester United forward.

Hodgson said: "I'm confident that we have a good club to sell to Dion but there are always personal terms. We have a wage policy and a wage structure here, and while I consider it a very generous one, it's still a wage structure.

"I'm only hoping that the type of wage demands he's going to make are going to be within our bounds.

"I don't have any reason for believing that it's not going to be the case but we'll have to wait and see.

"I'm not prepared to recommend to Jack Walker that we should throw out all our policies and principles for a player, no matter how much I want him or like him."

Dublin's acquisition would be a timely boost for Blackburn, who will shortly have Chris Sutton suspended for four games and have Martin Dahlin on loan to Hamburg.

Hodgson, whose side are fourth from bottom of the Premiership, added: "The fact that Coventry have accepted our offer is a nice step forward but there's still a long way to go before completion

"We're going to be trying to persuade him that his future lies here, that there's a bit of work to be done before he signs a piece of paper.

"But at least we're in the happy situation of knowing that if we can persuade him to sign here, the deal can be done."

Dublin stalled over a new deal before signing an improved contract during the close season and Coventry chairman Bryan Richardson revealed it was a term in his agreement which led to his pending departure.

Richardson, who claims a replacement for Dublin is already lined up, said: "We've always been reluctant to sell Dion Dublin but he had a clause in his contract which said if we received an offer in excess of pounds 5million, we were duty bound to give him the right to talk to that club.

"We have to be clear about obligations to the club and that is if you sell somebody such as Dion Dublin you have to bring a player in who is available, who you can afford, and that you really think is the one that you want.

"In this particular case we think we've achieved those three items with one player and certainly it is our intention to bring that player to a conclusion within the next few days.

"They contacted us last week to ask if we were prepared to sell him, and we have been negotiating hard with them over the last few days. The situation is now outside of our control - it is down to Dion and his advisers and Blackburn Rovers to work out a package which is acceptable.

"People will understand that if you get pounds 7million, which is pretty much what it will be, for a player who is 30 in three or four months' time that is probably full value."

Meanwhile, Blackburn will be without winger Jason Wilcox for several weeks after it was revealed he needs a hernia operation.

Tim Sherwood, Jeff Kenna, Billy McKinlay and Sutton all require fitness tests before tonight's Worthington Cup third round tie at Crewe.

Blackburn are already missing Garry Flitcroft, Kevin Gallacher, Sebastien Perez, Marlon Broomes and Jim Corbett.

Hodgson said: "It's fair to say that the gods aren't smiling too kindly on us at the moment.

"We just seem to face one major injury problem after another.

"It's no way to prepare for any game and I just don't know how I'll be able to piece a team together to play Crewe."

Middlesbrough boss Bryan Robson has admitted he'd love to bring Juninho back to the Riverside Stadium - if he could find a spare pounds 20million.

The Brazilian, who spent 18 months with Boro before moving to Atletico Madrid, has struggled to secure a place in the Spanish side's first team.

He suggested in a recent television interview that he may return to the Premeirship one day.

Robson said: "If there was a possibility of signing Juninho some time then we'd definitely look at it because he's a world-class player, and the fans loved him here.

"But I think it's a long way down the lane for that to happen.

"I saw his interview and he was really positive about Middlesbrough, which is very nice. A lot of people were trying to say that the so- called superstar players who have been at this club didn't particularly enjoy it, or didn't want to be at the club or that we couldn't hold on to them.

"Juninho was very complimentary to the club, and I don't think Ravanelli, Juninho or Emerson would have left the club if we hadn't been relegated.

"If anyone has a spare pounds 15million to pounds 20million that would be very helpful in bringing him back.

"He's a quality player, but it's all hypothetical. You don't know if Atletico Madrid are willing to release him.

"He was unfortunate to have a bad break of his ankle, which didn't help him, and he missed out on the World Cup, which he was desperate to play in."


1969: Born Leicester, April 22.

1988: Joins Norwich City from non-League Oakham United on April 24.

1988: Signs for Cambridge United on a free transfer on August 2.

1991: Hits the national headlines by scoring two goals in a 4-0 FA Cup upset against Sheffield Wednesday.

1991: Member of the Cambridge side that wins promotion from the old Division Three in May.

1992: Moves to Manchester United for pounds 1million on August 7.

1992: Breaks his leg in a match with Crystal Palace in September.

1993: Howard Kendall quits as Everton boss after an attempt to sign Dublin is blocked.

1994: Moves to Coventry City for pounds 2million after failing to hold down a first-team place at Old Trafford.

1997: Sent off at Blackburn for the second successive season. Suffers a seven-match ban for being sent off three times in 1997.

1998: Wins first of three England caps in the 2-0 defeat against Chile in February.

1998: Left out of the England World Cup squad in May.

1998: Signs a five-year deal with Coventry worth pounds 1million a year in July.

1998: Coventry agree to sell him to Blackburn in a pounds 6.75million deal.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Gardner, John
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 28, 1998
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