Keane will not appeal ban

FORMER Man United and England captain Bryan Robson yesterday emerged as favourite with the punters to succeed Mick McCarthy as Republic of Ireland manager.

The FAI are insisting they have not started seeking a new manager but football fans rushed to endorse Robson yesterday. Support for Robson was

especially strong in Cork, where United skipper Roy Keane was signing copies of his autobiography yesterday.

Cashman's bookmakers reported that the odds on Robson had plummeted in the space of a couple of hours.

The Cork bookmaking firm laid Robson at 20/1, 14/1, 8/1 and he was a best-priced 5/2 at close of business.

The careers of both men were equally successful, with both captaining Man Utd and their international teams.

In another development last night, John Toshack is believed to be speaking to Italian club Catania over their managerial vacancy.

Although he had been linked to the Republic of Ireland, Welshman Toshack is the fans' favourite to win control at the Serie B club. According to reports from Italian news agency ANSA, he was meeting directors of Catania last night in Sicily.

Former Sunderland manager Peter Reid was popular with punters yesterday at 3/1, but support for Toshack and Joe Kinnear had waned, with Kinnear, who was 7/4 favourite immediately after McCarthy's retirement, available at 8/1.

Meanwhile, Keane revealed yesterday he had opted not to contest a five-match ban and £150,000 fine

imposed by the FA, although he insists the charges were "not justified".

The Man Utd captain was charged with two counts of bringing the game into disrepute over his foul on Man City's Alfie Haaland and subsequent claims in his autobiography that the tackle was intended to injure.

Keane said yesterday: ''I believe that the charges brought against me by the FA were not justified and I feel that the evidence and arguments put forward by me and my legal representatives to the disciplinary commission were sufficiently strong.

"Accordingly, I would prefer to have this matter reviewed by way of an

appeal," he said.

''However, I consider that I must put the interests of Man Utd FC and my family before my own, and for that reason, I have decided not to pursue an appeal against the decision of the FA Disciplinary Commission.''

Keane's decision should calm the

atmosphere ahead of tomorrow's final Maine Road Manchester derby the first meeting between the clubs since Keane's infamous tackle.

''Manchester United supports Roy's decision not to appeal against the FA's judgement,'' a club statement said.

''This now allows everyone to draw a line under the matter. We look forward to the club captain regaining full fitness and returning to first team action on completion of his suspension.''

Keane spent more than three and a half hours signing copies of his autobiography in Easons book store, Cork yesterday.

Hundreds of people had queued since dawn, with only 350 of them gaining admittance to the store for the event.

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