United rivals hit by striker blow

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BRENTFORD’s preparations for today’s meeting with Sheffield United have been overshadowed by the departure of their leading goalscorer Gary Alexander.

The 32-year-old, who hit the target 26 times in 77 appearances for Uwe Rosler’s side, stunned Griffin Park by joining big-spending Crawley Town on loan after failing to agree a new contract with the west London club.

Alexander’s switch, which is expected to be made permanent in the summer, has prompted Rosler to examine his options in the transfer market.

“We unexpectedly lost Gary which was never our intention,” he said. “So our priority now is to bring in another striker.

“We received a substantial fee for a player who was out of contract in 10 weeks and have assurances from the board that the money can be reinvested in the squad.

“We are working intensively to bring someone in.”

Rosler’s selection woes were last night eased by Everton’s decision to allow Jake Bidwell and Adam Forshaw to remain in the capital until the end of the season.

“Unless we are in a situation where we need them back then they can stay where they are,” Everton manager David Moyes said. “They’re getting first-team experience.”