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By ESPN Staff

Marlon King to stand trial over club charges

Wigan striker Marlon King was ordered to stand trial for allegedly groping and punching a woman in a nightclub.

The 29-year-old, who is on loan at Middlesbrough at the moment, allegedly attacked the 20-year-old at the Soho Revue bar in London last December.

Wearing a designer charcoal suit, white shirt and black tie, he spoke only to confirm his name and deny two charges when he appeared at a short plea and directions hearing at London's Southwark Crown Court.

The first count accused him of sexual assault ''by touching''. The second claimed he assaulted the woman - who cannot be named for legal reasons - ''occasioning her actual bodily harm''.

Much of the 15-minute hearing was devoted to fixing a trial date.

Lisa Wilding, defending, said although there were dates available this August, her client's wife was expecting to give birth on August 13.

With that in mind she suggested that rather than adjourn the case to the next available slot in March 2010, it should be put back even longer.

Referring to the end of the football season, she continued: ''Your Honour knows his profession and his commitments until May.''

But Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith retorted: ''Everybody has commitments. Whatever business they are in they have commitments.''

Further checks with the court list office then discovered a new date this autumn had just become available.

He told the Jamaica international - already a father-of-two - that his five-day trial would therefore start on October 26.

He added the shaven-headed player, from Briarswood Goffs, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, who was bought by Wigan from Championship side Watford for £5million in January 2008, could remain on unconditional bail.

''But, of course, and I say this to all defendants, if you fail to attend the trial will proceed in your absence.''

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