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In brief: Tributes paid to Richards

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy led the tributes for Dean Richards, whose death at the age of 36 was announced yesterday following a long illness.

Former central defender Richards is fondly remembered at Molineux, where he moved after impressing with hometown club Bradford. He went on to play for Southampton and Tottenham, who paid more than £8m for his services, before he was forced to retire from the game at the age of 30 in 2005 when he was suffering from dizzy spells and headaches, an illness which was initially diagnosed as an inner ear infection.

"I can't tell you how sad I feel for him and his family. It is just devastating for them," said McCarthy. "He was a nice fella, and he is well remembered here because he scored a goal against the Albion, so he will always be fondly remembered."

Carr aims for Carling glory

FORMER Ireland defender Stephen Carr is set to captain Birmingham City today in the Carling Cup final showdown with Arsenal at Wembley.

The 34-year-old defender retired from football in 2008 after persistent knee and foot injuries put his future in doubt. But he started training with Birmingham in February 2009 and has been a stalwart for them ever since.

Arsenal haven't won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup but Birmingham have won nothing for 48 years since they beat city rivals Aston Villa in the 1963 League Cup final.

And a win against the odds today would also see Birmingham manger Alex McLeish claim his first honour in English football, having won 19 trophies as a player and manager in Scotland.

Browne quits

as Drogs boss

Drogheda United expect to announce a new management team today after Bobby Browne resigned as manager yesterday just six days before the start of the Premier Division season.

Browne was appointed late last season as the Drogs finished bottom of the top division. Two weeks ago they were saved from relegation after Sporting Fingal folded.

"Following lengthy discussions about the structure of the club both on and off the pitch, Bobby has offered his resignation which the board of management has accepted," club director Jim Agnew said.

Helguson adds to Boro woes

Heidar Helguson struck a brace as QPR boosted their Championship title challenge with a comfortable 3-0 victory at relegation-threatened Middlesbrough.

The Iceland star netted either side of the interval as QPR kept their lead at the top at five points. Adel Taarabt added a third goal with a 68th-minute penalty.

Meanwhile, Scott Sinclair bagged a brace as Swansea strengthened their grip on an automatic promotion place with a comfortable 3-0 home victory over Leeds.

Hearts fail to

leapfrog Gers

Hearts manager Jim Jefferies refused to be too downbeat, despite seeing his side miss out on going second in the Scottish Premier League after being held to a 0-0 draw against Aberdeen.

A win would have seen the Jambos leapfrog Rangers, who face St Johnstone today. "We were playing a side that are very well organised," said Jefferies.

Hearts remain a point behind the Ibrox side, who have three games in hand.

Celtic wary of

Jeffers threat

Neil Lennon is wary of former Old Firm adversary Francis Jeffers when he takes his Celtic side to Motherwell today.

The former Everton and Arsenal striker, 30, returned to Scotland this month and scored his first goal for Stuart McCall's side in the recent 2-1 victory at Aberdeen. And Lennon knows not to underestimate him. "He knows where the goal is," Lennon said. "He's crafty, he flits in and out of games and can suddenly pop up with a goal," he said.

Messi stars in Barca victory

Lionel Messi conjured a magical headed goal to set a depleted Barcelona on their way to a 3-0 win at Real Mallorca in La Liga.

He opened the scoring in the 38th minute when Seydou Keita scooped the ball over the top and Messi controlled it once with his head and nodded it home.

Sergio Busquets split the defence to sent David Villa clear to round the keeper for Barca's second goal in the 57th minute and Pedro cut in and scored with a dipping shot to make it three in the 66th minute.

Sunday Indo Sport