New setback in Robins’ ground plans

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BRISTOL City’s plans to develop a new stadium at Ashton Vale could be dealt a fresh blow by the local authority.

Planning officers have recommended that a proposal for a new supermarket on the site of the club’s current Ashton Gate ground be refused by councillors.

A relocation of Sainsbury’s is required to help fund the new stadium but concerns have been raised over the impact on local traders.

In a statement, City chief executive Colin Sexstone said: “[The recommendation] fails to recognise the many benefits this development will bring to the wider area.

“It will bring over £100million of private sector investment and thousands of jobs to the area. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that cannot be overlooked in today`s economic climate.”

Bristol City Council’s development control committee is due to consider the plans at its meeting on March 2. If the plans are rejected, it will be the second time that councillors have halted the supermarket scheme. The proposals were initially rejected in July last year.

On the field, Championship rivals Millwall’s play-off hopes have been dealt a major blow after Jimmy Abdou was ruled out for up to two months through injury.

The midfielder suffered knee ligament damage when he made a goal-saving challenge on Reading’s Shane Long during the second half of Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat at the Madejski Stadium, and could be sidelined until mid-April.

Leeds currently occupy the final play-off berth and have allowed striker Mike Grella to join Swindon on loan for the rest of the season.

The 24-year-old arrives at the County Ground having struggled for first-team opportunities at Leeds this term, spending three months on loan at Carlisle where he scored three times in 11 appearances before his return to Elland Road in mid-January.

Speaking on the move, Leeds manager Simon Grayson said: “Mike got some games in at Carlisle which did him good and we see this as another opportunity for him to play regular football.”