Manchester United's follow-up raid to buying York City prospect Jonathan Greening is a push to entice Holland centre-back Japp Stam for a reputed £12million-plus.

But what about the English central defender, who interested a Dutch super-power. Foxed?

Well, at the tail-end of last season Southend United's kingpin Leo Roget was tracked by crack Dutch outfit Feyenoord.

Though the Ilford-born defender had figured in only 33 games for the Shrimpers, his composure and authoritative presence at the heart of an often over-worked rearguard prompted Feyenoord to offer him a trial.

It was quite a compliment to the player who only made his senior bow just over two years ago in a 3-0 First Division win at Charlton.

That 1995-96 term yielded him a total of four starts and four run-outs from off the substitutes' bench. Roget even had to wait until beyond the mid-point of last term to cement a senior place for the remainder of the resort club's relegation term.

But that did not prevent him attracting the attention of scouts both from home and, of course, Holland. However, the 21-year-old Roget decided against going Dutch soon after Southend appointed former West Ham United lynchpin Alvin Martin to the post of manager.

Shrewdly Roget believed Martin, whose own ball-playing ability at the heart of the Hammers' backline had earned him 17 caps for England, would provide the knowledge and tuition to improve the youngster's all-round game.

But then crack. Just seven games into the current campaign Roget was cruelly sidelined.

The centre-back damaged discs in his spine forcing him out of Southend's battle to avoid a second successive relegation for the next seven months.

Indeed, he only returned to the Shrimpers' defence five days ago when he starred in a gutsy goal-less draw at Roots Hall to dent the play-off tilt of visiting Gillingham.

Now the 6ft 1in Roget, who is comfortable in possession of the ball to add to his stopper's capability, is hoping to see the back of his injury nightmare, even though he is again back in the thick of a relegation scrap.


City v Southend United

Nationwide Leage, Div 2

(at Bootham Crescent, Saturday 3pm)

The Shrimpers have made 13 previous league trips to York winning five times and drawing twice.

City's biggest win in the series was 3-0 in 1970/71 when the scorers were Albert Johanneson, Phil Boyer and Barry Swallow

United have twice won 3-0 at Bootham Crescent (1965/66 and 1987/88).

On their first ever league visit in April 1960 their 3-2 victory condemned City to relegation to division four.

Barry Swallow made his league debut for City in a 1-0 win over Southend at Bootham Crescent in November 1969.

Southend's last visit to York was in January 1990 in a match which marked David Longhurst's debut for City. Ian Helliwell scored twice in a 2-1 win.

Players to have represented both clubs over the years include Jack Everest and Joe Firth. In more recent times midfielders, Joe Ashworth, David Chambers and Mick Laverick have played for both City and United.

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