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Couñago Set for Return at Peterborough
Couñago Set for Return at Peterborough
Tuesday, 25th Aug 2009 08:08

Striker Pablo Couñago could make his first appearance of the season when the Blues take on Peterborough at London Road in the Carling Cup second round this evening (KO 7.45pm). The Spanish frontman has been out of action since the first day of pre-season training when he injured his groin.

Earlier in the summer, Couñago turned down a move to Swansea after the Blues and the Swans agreed a fee, but manager Roy Keane appears to be warming to the 30-year-old fans' favourite: "Pablo will be involved. I didn't want to take a risk with him the other day when we were chasing the game. He's got a good chance of getting involved on Tuesday night. He'll certainly be in the squad, whether I give him a run out we'll see.

"We look at it on a day-to-day basis with the lads who are coming back from injury. He's looked half-decent in training in the last few days and that sharpness is coming back. We know Pablo is a goal threat and we aren't scoring many goals at the moment and it's pretty obvious he's going to come back into my plans."

Couñago will probably be amongst the subs with Keane not planning on making 10 changes as he did at Shrewsbury in the first round: "There certainly won't be as many changes as that as then we had two games in three days, which was one of the reasons I decided to give a lot of the young players a run-out.

"It will certainly be a much tougher game and I think one or two of our senior players need another 90 minutes under their belts. We'll see what kind of shape they're in after Monday training."

Keane says that in addition to Couñago, Gareth McAuley, Colin Healy and Damien Delaney will come back into the reckoning, while there are still likely to be a smattering of youngsters in the side.

The Blues boss says midfielder Ed Upson has impressed him in recent weeks and is likely to play some role: "Ed's a good player. I brought him back into the squad the other day and he has a good chance of being involved at Peterborough.

"He's a goal threat, there's loads of areas he needs to improve his game - his tackling, his positioning - but he's a young player, he's learning his trade, however, the boy has a goal in his locker, which isn't a bad thing to have."

The Town manager has a side in mind for Tuesday's game, although he is as yet undecided whether to give Arran Lee-Barrett his debut in place of Richard Wright. Keane is still without Jaime Peters (ankle), David Norris, Ben Thatcher and Luciano Civelli (all knee).

Alex Bruce is likely to continue as captain and at centre-half with David Wright at right-back. Keane says Gareth McAuley could play some part, but Tommy Smith and Damien Delaney will also be looking for some involvement.

Jack Colback may start in midfield, while Alan Quinn is also pressing for a start. Lee Martin and Jon Walters are yet to hit top form and could also be included.

Up front, Connor Wickham has been withdrawn from the England U17s and will look to add to his two goals at Shrewsbury with Tamás Priskin appearing likely to start alongside him.

Who Keane includes in this evening's 18 is likely to be a guide to which players the Town manager was referring to yesterday when he said he had told one or two that they were unlikely to play for the club again.

The Town boss, who is looking to add to his squad before the transfer window closes on Tuesday, wants to see the start of an improvement in the next few days, making defeats like last weekend's at West Brom a thing of the past: "Saturday, I think, can be a watershed in terms of the club. You draw the line somewhere and say 'We need reinforcements'.

"But they've got to be good reinforcements. As much I've said I've been wheeling and dealing, we need two or three to come in and say 'This is how you do it'.

"I wouldn't say the current players have let me down or that they aren't good enough, but it a takes certain amount of time when you have new players coming into your club for the team to gel.

"I wouldn't say that people have let me down. I'm the manager, I'll take responsibility. It's just not quite clicked into gear.

"It's not a criticism of any individual players, but as a group we're just a bit short at this moment in time and we'll try and address that over the next few days."

Keane says he shouldn't have too much of a problem persuading his targeted players to join the club, as long as he gets to talk to them: "It's easier said than done, but I feel that Ipswich will sell itself. It's a fantastic club. If I get the chance to speak to the players over the next few days and show them around, I'll be happy.

"If they come, they come, if they don't, they don't. We're hoping to get permission to speak to these lads and it's up to me to sell them the dream. It may look like a nightmare at the moment, but that's the challenge we face and we look forward to it."

But before making his signings, Keane is looking for that elusive first victory of the season without requiring a penalty shoot-out: "I think a win would be a boost, not necessarily a cup run. I think it's set up for a good game. It's amazing what a win can do and we'll be travelling up there again going all out to win the game.

"You might say it's a distraction but winning games is not a distraction, winning games is brilliant, that's why we're in football."

Like Town, Peterborough are yet to win in the league this season, although they won their Carling Cup first round tie 4-0 at Wycombe Wanderers.

Manager Darren Ferguson, who briefly played alongside Keane at Manchester United in the mid-nineties, says he is concerned that his side is conceding goals: "Everyone talks about the forward power we have and the goals we have scored over the last two years, but the catalyst for our success has been the number of clean sheets we have kept. "And that's something we need to start accomplishing again. I have no worries about the chances we will create ourselves, but defensively we have had problems.

"In the dressing room before [Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Preston] we spoke about the need to concentrate in the early stages and keep things tight, but we let in a silly goal from our point of view pretty much straight away and you can't afford to do that against this standard of opposition. It's something I must sort out quickly or we will continue to struggle."

Winger Chris Whelpdale is out with a hernia injury, striker Ben Wright with an ankle problem, midfielder Tom Williams due to a groin injury and striker Jamie Day with an ankle knock.

Town and the Posh have only met four times before, all in cup competitions. Peterborough won an FA Cup clash at London Road 3-1 in 1955/56, then defeated the Blues 3-2 at Portman Road, also in the FA Cup, in 1959/60.

Sir Bobby Robson's Town beat the Cambridgeshire side 2-0 at London Road in 1971/72, again in the FA Cup.

In the only previous Carling Cup tie between the sides came in August 2006, at the first round stage, the game ending 2-2 with Jason De Vos and Billy Clarke scoring for Town and Trevor Benjamin and Guy Branston for the Posh, who won the penalty shoot-out 4-2.

No current Town player has spent time with Peterborough and no Posh player has played a first team game for the Blues, although Chris Whelpdale was an academy schoolboy with Town and keeper-coach James Hollman worked with Posh glovesman Joe Lewis during their time at Norwich.

Tuesday's referee is Rob Shoebridge form Derbyshire, who is best known for being the official who failed to spot Crystal Palace's goal crossing the line in their game against Bristol City recently.

Shoebridge has noticed the ball cross the line on 11 other occasions this season, including all eight goals in Colchester's 7-1 win at Carrow Road, but hasn't taken charge of a game since his gaffe at Ashton Gate.

Card-wise, Shoebridge has shown seven yellows and no reds this season. His last Town game was the 1-1 draw at home to Burnley in March. Prior to that he took charge of the 2-1 defeat at Birmingham.

Squad from: R Wright, Lee-Barrett, D Wright, Delaney, Smith, O'Connor, Bruce, Balkestein, McAuley, Trotter, Healy, Quinn, Garvan, Colback, Upson, Walters, Lambe, Martin, Wickham, Priskin, Counago, Stead.

Photo: Action Images

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

Johnny_Boy added 08:17 - Aug 25
"Rob Shoebridge has noticed the ball cross the line on 11 other occasions this season, including all eight goals in Colchester’s 7-1 win at Carrow Road..."

You couldn't help yourself could you Phil...? :)

haynes_is_a_ledgend added 08:24 - Aug 25
come on pabs your amazin g bang in 2

MaySixth added 08:27 - Aug 25
Really looking forward to this. Pleased in some ways that we are not trying out all the youngsters again as a win at London Road could give us a much needed kick up the arse.

wark_on_water added 08:38 - Aug 25
ole ole ole! Go on P-Co show roy the boy what we've been missing'

John_Warks_Willy added 08:46 - Aug 25
Roy also said that those being sold may still be included tonight so there will be no clue from his squad.

BYRNE_16 added 08:53 - Aug 25
Missed you Pablo we need you back!

gatesy added 09:01 - Aug 25
so when he said you will never play for this club again, that didnt include cup games??

keanostackle added 09:09 - Aug 25
Get Pablo back in the mix, as on his day can be the link up between our midfield and forwards. A win tonight and Saturday and we are off and running !

MAVERICK added 09:42 - Aug 25
Must start with Pablo, and Keano start with best team, not favourites (Magilton's way)

Back_The_Boss added 09:47 - Aug 25
Good news, we having been missing you!

tractor_lady added 09:59 - Aug 25
favourites, i dont think Kean likes anyone!!! he said he didnt come here to make friends so his 'favourites' will be those that gives 100%. Come on Pablo lets see your true potential shinging through again, bit lost last year with all the changes. Pablo, Prisken great combination, with Wickham and Prisken up front and Pablo just behind for a great home formation!!!

motch2009 added 10:05 - Aug 25

FenboyBlue added 10:06 - Aug 25
...two or three to come in and say ‘This is how you do it’.

Roy's getting to the heart of the problem. And Pablo could be a rejuvenated talisman for us. Would really like to see a midfield of Quinner, Coleback & Healy. Not much flair but that seems the combination most likely to protect the defence and break up opponents attacks. Keep a clean sheet for the first 45, then worry about countering in the second half.

BlueMagic added 10:15 - Aug 25
Can we just make sure that we leave the ball in the net when we score and not have it bounce out?

Redmond added 10:16 - Aug 25
Pabs is back great we need him back :) and I am looking forward for 2nights game :)

WeWereZombies added 10:55 - Aug 25
Interesting that both McAuley and Balkenstein are in the squad

Luke8644 added 11:19 - Aug 25
Ole Ole Ole OLe, Pablo, Pablo, what a legend he will bang them in when hes on form, he will sort out our attacking jynxs this season, good luck pabs!

TractorBoy added 11:24 - Aug 25
Can't wait for tonights game, hopefully we'll have a good support coming to Peterborough. Great news about Pablo - we need him! UTT

gtd added 11:29 - Aug 25
Good luck Pablo! From the sounds of things he must have been working his tits off in training to impress Keane which is exactly the right attitude.

Now show Roy what you can do on the pitch and give him a massive selection issue for saturday!

OakingtonBlue added 12:22 - Aug 25
looking forward to tonight immensely, hopefully can shut up all the posh fans I work with on outskirts of pboro!

byebyesheepshanks added 12:25 - Aug 25
Paddy Counago spotted drinking a pint of Guiness in O'neils dancing to a Boyzone song on the Juke Box, following a Ryan Air flight from Spain. RK delighted & assured him of his future.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 13:39 - Aug 25
C'mon Pablo! It will be good to have you back! Olé!

EatonBlue added 14:36 - Aug 25
welcome back pablo

Hinesy_itfc1 added 14:44 - Aug 25
i predict pablo to get onto the scoresheet 2nite and to really shine and show RK what he can do for the team. pablo you are an ipswich legend and deserve to have yourself on that teemsheet. COYB!

MonterreyBlue added 14:47 - Aug 25
I can see Pablo being the perfect link man playing just behind the front two. I think the problem will be his "week in, week out" attitude. No idea how he trains but he has been known to go missing a little in games and thats not going to suit Keano. However, the boy is talented and a great player on his day, if we see this more often he can be our missing man....

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