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In brief: FAI invited to join 'home nations'

THE ENGLISH FA want to bring back an extended 'home nations' tournament, including Ireland, in 2013 -- but only on a one-off basis.

They want to hold the series of matches to mark their 150th anniversary celebrations and, in addition to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, they have asked the FAI to join the party.

Ireland are preparing for this year's Carling Four Nations Tournament with the other three countries, and it was assumed that event would be taking place every two years until 2017.

However, all that is set in stone is this year's inaugural staging, with future renewals depending on the success of the first tournament and discussions with sponsors Carling.

It means there is no obstacle to the 2013 concept, with England understood to be wooing Scotland, Wales and the North with a view to merging them into a Great Britain football team for the London Olympics.

FA general secretary Alex Horne said it would be a stand-alone competition with more specific details to be hammered out in further discussions.

Celtic set to appeal Lennon six-game ban

Celtic immediately announced plans to appeal after manager Neil Lennon received a six-match touchline ban from the Scottish Football Association.

The club confirmed they were taking the action after claiming they were "very surprised and extremely disappointed" by the sanctions imposed by the SFA's disciplinary committee.

Lennon saw his original punishment trebled after appealing against a two-match ban for being sent to the stand in a game against Hearts on November 10.

He lost that appeal and received a further four-match ban for the charge of "excessive misconduct" relating to his dismissal in the 2-0 defeat at Tynecastle.

Among the games he would be banned from the dug-out for is a Scottish Cup tie against Rangers at Ibrox, after the Old Firm rivals were paired together in yesterday's fifth-round draw at Hampden.

details in factfile

Clough facing sack at Derby

The managerial roundabout continued turning yesterday, with Darren Ferguson discussing his reappointment at Peterborough United and Nigel Clough on the brink of being fired at Derby County.

Clough is expected to pay the price for a bad run of results culminating in Monday night's FA Cup third-round defeat to non-League Crawley Town. That was Derby's sixth defeat in eight games including a 5-2 loss to rivals Nottingham Forest last month.

  • Shamrock Rovers have re-signed combative defender Pat Flynn for the 2011 season. The Dubliners had initially parted company with Flynn after their title celebrations in November, but they reached agreement on a further one-year deal.

Irish Independent