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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 January, 2004, 13:02 GMT
Bolton make Okocha plea
Jay-Jay Okocha
Bolton have asked Nigeria to allow Jay-Jay Okocha to travel to the African Nations Cup later than planned.

Nigeria have already agreed that Okocha can play in Tuesday's FA Cup replay against Tranmere Rovers.

However, Bolton now want their midfielder for the Premiership match against Portsmouth four days later.

"A lot of clubs are in the same boat. If we can keep Jay-Jay for the Portsmouth game that would be great," said assistant manager Phil Brown.

Nigeria originally asked their players to meet up on 19 December for the tournament in Tunisia, which kicks off on 24 January.

But Nigeria coach Christian Chukwu agreed that Okocha could remain in England until January 16, when the Super Eagles leave their Portuguese training camp for Tunisia.

  • Bolton midfielder Ricardo Gardner will be assessed by the club's medical staff after suffering suspected knee ligament damage in the defeat to Manchester United on Wednesday.

    The full-back was carried off in the first half after falling awkwardly - and he arrived at the Euxton training complex this morning on crutches.

    Responding to fears he could be ruled out for the rest of the season, assistant manager Phil Brown said: "It is far too early to say."

    Brown added: "Ricardo has been one of the shining lights in our season. He has slotted into the left-back role like a fish to water.

    "He is the type of guy who can play anywhere, and we all wish him a speedy recovery from his injury."

    Okocha to join late
    27 Dec 03  |  African Cup of Nations
    Okocha gives Nigeria promise
    18 Dec 03  |  Football
    Okocha urged to quit Nigeria
    17 Dec 03  |  Football

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