GOALKEEPER Russ Howarth's proposed move to Wolverhampton Wanderers took a new twist today with the player refusing to play for York City in their pre-season friendly with Sunderland.

With an initial bid from Wolves for player rejected by the Minstermen, Howarth was recalled back to Bootham Crescent yesterday.

Manger Terry Dolan was looking for Howarth to fill the void left by the injured Alan Fettis in tomorrow's clash with the Black Cats while negotiations with Wolves over a fee continued.

The City chief has been left astonished by Howarth's refusal to play in the match, which will serve as a benefit game for City's head of youth development coach Paul Stancliffe.

"We called Russell Howarth back yesterday and Wolves agreed to send him back because they haven't made a decision on him yet," explained an angry Dolan.

"I have had Russell come into my office this morning saying he doesn't want to play for York City and he is refusing to play tomorrow."

He added: "Russell wants to play for Wolves, so people can read into that what they will, but I just think maybe he is getting advice from the wrong people."

Dolan was already looking to bring in an experienced shot-stopper following the broken finger suffered by Alan Fettis.

However, he admits he will be unable to sign anyone in time for tomorrow's game, meaning first-year professional John Collinson will play.

Dolan confessed in all his time as a football manager he had never come across a player refusing to play.

To add insult to injury, the City manager said the club would have to continue paying Howarth's wages.

Although the 20-year-old is out of contract City, who still hold his registration, must continue to pay the player in order to qualify for compensation should his move to Wolves go through.

City cannot even stop the player from continuing to train with Wolves, although they can stop Howarth from playing for the First Division outfit in games.

Dolan confirmed: "We will not let him play another game for Wolves until the situation is sorted out.

"And it will only be sorted out when they come up with a deal that is acceptable.

"We have let Russell play in a number of games for Wolves to try and help the player and Wolves as well.

"But Wolves have had long enough now to make a decision on him."

Howarth's refusal to play marks a massive gamble for the young keeper with the two clubs believed to be massively wide apart in their valuation of the England Under-20 international.

Wolves' boss Dave Jones has made clear his desire to sign the player but chief executive Jez Moxey has called on City to "radically" rethink their valuation or threatened to shelve any deal.

Updated: 11:50 Friday, July 26, 2002