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Rofe: No to £80,000

By Norman Giller

Dave Sexton yesterday dangled an £80,000 bait for Orient full-back Dennis Rofe but failed to hook his man. The cash tempted hard up Orient but they rate 20-year-old Rofe in the £100,000 class.

George Petchey, Orient manager, confirmed last night “Chelsea’s Dave Sexton has made a very firm offer for Rofe, but it did not meet our high but realistic valuation of the player. I have been enormously impressed with Rofe and in our last few games he has been in great form. The boy has tremendous potential. I rate him as future international material and consider him a fine prospect for the 1974 World Cup.”

Orient don’t want to lose Rofe but I think they will have to give in and let him go if Sexton comes back with an increased offer. Rofe has for a long time been under the microscope of West Ham who meet Chelsea at Upton Park this afternoon. He’s also on the wanted list of three clubs in the Midlands.

Injury hit Chelsea will be without goalkeeper Peter Bonetti, who is suffering from the after-effects of concussion. John Phillips takes his place. West Ham are unchanged for the fifth successive game. Manchester United will almost certainly have Denis Law back in the attack against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Palace manager Bert Head makes a late selection. He awaits fitness tests of forwards Gerry Queen, Tony Taylor and Alan Birchinall.

Teenager Ross Jenkins stands by to make his debut in the Palace attack Queen fails his test.

Watch Smethurst!

There could be a new start this season among the galaxy which already inhabits Stamford Bridge, young South African newcomer Derek’s Smethurst.

Smethurst sat on the substitutes bench during the Charity Shield match against Everton and didn’t get on the field. Obviously he will find it even harder to get a game when all Chelsea’s men are fit.

But manager Dave Sexton has been impressed by this young man’s shooting power. He expects the football public to hear a lot about him in time. And there is a body of opinion within the club that Smethurst has the hardest shot in football.

That could be quite a claim to live up to, especially when your clubmates include Peter Osgood, Ian Hutchinson and John Hollins. Chelsea have another young South African on their books, Richard Gomes, Anne Sexton expects him to go far. Another interesting addition is Peter Feeley, a strong fast centre forward signed from Enfield.

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