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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Ugo wrangle after Southgate break

Ugo Ehiogu's transfer to West Brom from Middlesbrough has collapsed following an injury to Gareth Southgate.

Ehiogu, 33, had passed a medical at The Hawthorns, according to his agent Steve Kutner, and was expected to re-join Albion this week.

However, Boro have been rocked by the loss of captain Southgate for up to three months after he sustained a suspected stress fracture of an ankle.

The 35-year-old picked up the injury during the FA Cup third-round draw at Nuneaton on Saturday.

Kutner had claimed Ehiogu was still determined to join West Brom but it is understood Boro have pulled the plug on the deal.

'Ugo has passed his medical and agreed everything,' Kutner told skysports earlier today.

'He does not want to go back to Middlesbrough, despite what might have happened.

'In his head, he is a West Brom player and was gearing up to play for them this weekend.'

When Southgate's injury failed to clear up after the 1-1 draw at Manor Park, Boro's medical team became concerned.

The injury comes on the back of lengthy lay-offs for George Boateng and Franck Queudrue who have been told they are out for up to eight weeks with ankle and knee problems respectively.

It means the experienced former England defender will miss next Tuesday's replay at the Riverside Stadium, as well as a possible fourth-round tie at Coventry at the end of the month.

It is also a hammer blow for Steve McClaren's hopes of progressing in Europe with Boro facing VfB Stuttgart in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup on February 16 and 23, while their domestic form has also been causing concern.

McClaren's men had been expected to challenge for a European place again but are just two places off the relegation zone after a run of seven Premiership matches without victory and a trip to Arsenal up next on Saturday.

Boro did receive some better news last night after both Stewart Downing and Ray Parlour completed 65 minutes of a 4-1 reserves win over Sunderland. It was the first action since August for Downing and September for Parlour.