McAvennie torn on return to HK

SCOTLAND international Frank McAvennie has been given two days to decide his future - either Celtic or South China.

The 32-year-old Glasgow-born striker played one senior game for South China last November before returning for a second spell at Celtic, who gave him a contract to the end of February.

South China now want him back to lead their challenge for honours in next month's Viceroy Cup and are prepared to offer him a contract to the end of the season.

But last night Celtic moved in with a new deal, taking in the rest of the current campaign with an option of a further year - and gave McAvennie two days to make up his mind.

Speaking from Glasgow last night, McAvennie said: ''Celtic have offered me a contract but I am not happy with it and have not signed anything yet.

''They want me to go in and sign today but I'm still waiting for South China to contact me. They are interested in signing me, I'm interested in going back to Hongkong but we still haven't spoken - and I have 48 hours to make up my mind.'' South China officials have been trying to contact McAvennie at his Glasgow hotel but Celtic were playing a league game away to Dundee on Tuesday evening.

South China, who lost the Camelpaint Challenge Shield final to Eastern and look like relinquishing their league title to the same side, are increasing their pre-season budget by around $2 million to $10.5 million in a desperate attempt to end the season with a trophy.

Although McAvennie is top of the list, team boss Steven Lo has also contacted an agent over the possibility of signing two Brazilians from Sao Paulo. The club have also sounded out Czech striker Michael Vana, who has been playing in Singapore.

Kitchee, meanwhile, have completed the signings of two forwards - former England international Mark Barham and non-league striker Damian Webber.

Folkstone-born Barham, 30, won two full England caps, both against Australia, in 1983 when he was a Norwich City player. He then moved on to Huddersfield Town, Middlesbrough, West Bromwich Albion and Brighton, where he spent the past three seasons.

He is a non-contract player with Shrewsbury Town and will arrive in the territory next week. His Kitchee contract ends on April 5.

Webber, 24, is playing non-league with Crawley, who asked Wimbledon for a GBP50,000 transfer fee when the Dons showed an interest this season. He has also been watched by Kevin Keegan, the manager of First Division leaders Newcastle United, and by Crystal Palace.

The 6ft 4ins Webber, who can play at centre half or centre forward, was seeking international clearance yesterday and will spend just one month with Kitchee, returning to England at the end of March.

Meanwhile, Eastern will be looking to stretch their lead at the top of the Hongkong First Division tonight when they take on Kui Tan at Mongkok Stadium.

Eastern lead the standings with 31 points from 11 matches, nine ahead of Michelotti, who have played a game more.

Kui Tan will put central defenders Jason Loryman and Darren Bloodworth on Dale Tempest and Paul Nixon respectively, with Tristram Morgan earmarked to cut out the threat from deep-lying midfield positions of Tim O'Shea.