Blues hand defender a lifeline

JOE Royle is ready to hand another footballer in limbo a lifeline back into the game.The Blues boss has given a trial to Arthur Gnohere, who was sacked by QPR earlier in the year for breaches of discipline while out injured with cruciate knee ligament damage.

By Derek Davis

JOE Royle is ready to hand another footballer in limbo a lifeline back into the game.

The Blues boss has given a trial to Arthur Gnohere, who was sacked by QPR earlier in the year for breaches of discipline while out injured with cruciate knee ligament damage.

The 27-year-old French defender appealed and the two parties later came to an agreement on his contract, which was mutually terminated.


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Gnohere has not played since seriously injuring his knee in a League Cup tie against Aston Villa, in September 2004.

Since recovering, the Ivory Coast international had an unsuccessful trial with Barnsley in October and has recently been training with Stockport County.

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The six foot-tall central defender can also play as a left-back as he has shown at Burnley and QPR.

After starting his career at Caen, where he made 28 appearances, scoring twice, Gnohere arrived in England in August 2001 to sign for Stan Ternent's Clarets.

He played 92 games for them, scoring six goals and played alongside Drissa Diallo. Gnohere moved to QPR but made just 23 appearances, some in defence with Georges Santos, before injury and off-field problems ended his Loftus Road stay.

Royle said: “We will have a look at Arthur this week. He is comfortable at centre-back or left-back and played with distinction at Burnley.”

Gnohere is one of three players who will be watched at close quarters by the Blues coaching staff, with another two expected to arrive today, and represents the sort of market Town can dabble in, rather than any £40,000-a-week Premiership striker.

Royle remains in the market for a proven goalscorer and, if a trialist doesn't suit, will once again try to land someone on loan.

If Nicky Forster stays fit, and adds to the goal he scored at Sheffield Wednesday, Town will need just one finisher to play alongside him.

Dean McDonald has returned from his loan spell at Hartlepool full of confidence and vim and will hope what he has learned at the Victoria Ground will hold him in good stead, with a run of four games in eight days coming up.

Adam Proudlock continues to make progress from a knee injury and is another looking to prove a point, after Royle gave him a second chance following his sacking from Sheffield Wednesday.

Dean Bowditch and Danny Haynes both played at Hillsborough but it is clear Royle doesn't consider them to be the answer just yet, while Billy Clarke's elbow injury has scuppered his chances for a month or so.

Sam Parkin is another long-term casualty and not expected to be back until late February or early March.

West Ham last night signed Israeli Yaniv Katan, subject to work permit and medical, and that could spell an end to Alan Pardew's interest in Bowditch.

That in turn may make it more difficult for Ipswich to sign Gavin Williams on a more permanent basis.

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