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Fenlon rubbishes bust-up reports

Hibernian boss Pat Fenlon has denied reports of a furious training ground bust-up with Leigh Griffiths.

Yesterday, the former Bohemians boss woke up to claims that Griffiths had struck Fenlon and assistant Billy Brown during training and would never play for the club again.

Hibs moved quickly to deny the story, with the relegation stakes cranked up yesterday when Dunfermline appointed former Hearts boss Jim Jefferies as their new manager.

Dunfermline are four points adrift of Hibs with eight games left to play, as both sides scrap to avoid the disaster of relegation to Division One.

Griffiths, who is on a season-long loan from Wolves, has scored five times since Fenlon moved to Edinburgh, with the Hibs boss rejecting allegations of any confrontation.

Fenlon said yesterday: "As is usual for high-tempo training sessions involving committed players and coaching staff, robust views and opinions are shared, and yesterday was no different.

"Leigh is a quality striker, and a lively personality, and will remain a key part of my team for the rest of the season. There's nothing at all in the story.

"We just want to focus on winning games and getting up the table."

Clark is close to return -- McLeish

ASTON VILLA boss Alex McLeish says Ireland international Ciaran Clark is on his way back from injury.

The 22-year-old has been out of action since January after suffering a knee injury in training, but McLeish, already without the services of Richard Dunne, is hopeful that Clark is close to a return.

"He suffered a wee setback and I think next week it will be six weeks since he was injured," McLeish said.

"We felt it might be about four, but the setback stretched it out a wee bit. But he is now running and kicking the ball.

"He is not doing any blocking work yet as he has still got a bit of tenderness in the knee. But I would say in about a week's time we should be able to evaluate whether he comes back with the group."