|Full-Backs Set to Return for Coventry Clash|
Friday, 15th Jan 2010 14:07
Town boss Roy Keane looks set to recall full-backs David Wright and Liam Rosenior for the home game against Coventry City on Saturday afternoon. The Blues will be without the suspended Jon Stead and new goalkeeper Brian Murphy, who picked up an ankle injury in the warm-up at Leicester a week ago.
Keane switched his regular full-back pairing for Pim Balkestein and Alex Bruce at the Walkers Stadium to counter the Foxes’ largely aerial threat, but the more attacking Wright and Rosenior are likely to return against the Sky Blues. Alex Bruce picked up a heel injury against Leicester, but has trained all week and will probably be OK to be named amongst the subs.
Gareth McAuley and Damien Delaney are set to continue at the heart of the defence, having helped Town to a run of only one defeat in their last 14 games, with Arran Lee-Barrett continuing in goal.
In midfield, Grant Leadbitter and David Norris appear to be Keane’s favoured central duo with Jack Colback having done well on the left in recent weeks. Skipper Jon Walters will probably be used up front, which should mean Jaime Peters will keep his place on the right.
Keane says Stern John, Tamás Priskin and Connor Wickham – who will also play for the U18s in the FA Youth Cup at Arsenal on Tuesday - are all in contention to start up front, probably alongside Walters. Jon Stead serves the third game of his four-match ban.
The Blues boss, whose squad were due to return to training outside rather than indoors today, says scoring the goals to turn draws into wins is still Town’s main problem: “You look at the goals for column and it will certainly need improving in the second half of the season. The one consolation is that we are creating chances.
“We’re looking more solid at the back and that gives you a chance. Earlier in the season we weren’t giving ourselves a chance and that’s why we had such a bad start.
“We were giving unbelievably bad goals away and we weren’t creating much, but we’re getting it about right now and we need to for the second half of the season or we’ll be down the bottom for the rest of the season.”
Keane says he is concentrating on individual games rather than on league position: “If we focus on getting results, the table will take care of itself. It’s pointless me talking about it and hoping that we achieve something, we need to go and do the business on Saturday.
“It wasn’t a bad result last weekend, although I don’t think we played particularly well in the second half, but I think there’s a lot more to come from the squad. There’s great belief amongst the players. As long as the spirit’s there, we’ve got a chance.”
Keeper Brian Murphy is out for around another week with his ankle injury, while Luciano Civelli has now been ruled out for the season due to the knee ligament damage he suffered last March. Richard Wright is also a long-term absentee with a knee ligament injury but is expected to be ready to make his return before the end of season.
Coventry boss Chris Coleman says midfielder Sammy Clingan and striker Leon Best are both injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s game: “Sammy had blurred vision in one eye after being cleaned out by big Papa Bouba Diop in the 20th minute [of the midweek cup defeat to Portsmouth].
“We thought he might be suffering from mild concussion so we couldn’t take the risk of letting him play on.
“It will be a big blow if he’s not fit for the weekend because he sits in the middle of the park and dictates for us – it’s no coincidence that we’ve been playing well since he returned.
“Leon looks as if he could have pulled a muscle at the top of his thigh so we’ll have to keep our eye on him as well.”
Defenders Ben Turner (ankle) and Jordan Clarke (knee) and midfielder Isaac Osbourne (knee) are all longer term absentees.
The Sky Blues currently sit in 14th place in the table, six places and six points ahead of Town. Coventry have an away record of won three, drawn two and lost seven.
Town have a good record against Coventry over the years, winning 35 games (33 in the league), losing 21 times (19) and with 22 matches (21) ending in draws.
On the final day of last season, Town won 2-1 at Portman Road, Giovani Dos Santos and Pablo Couñago scoring for the Blues and Clinton Morrison on target for Chris Coleman’s men.
Morrison scored both Coventry goals as the Sky Blues beat Town 2-1 on the opening day of this season, Jon Walters netting for Town.
No current Coventry player has appeared for Town, although new midfield signing Gary Deegan, until recently a team-mate of Blues keeper Brian Murphy at Bohemians, was linked with Town in the summer and central defender Richard Wood was also a target before leaving Sheffield Wednesday for Coventry in November.
Keeper Arran Lee-Barrett spent six months at the Ricoh Arena from January 2007, initially on loan from Weymouth, but failed to make a senior appearance. Loanee striker Stern John was with the Sky Blues between 2004 and 2007, while midfielder Colin Healy, who moved on loan to Falkirk earlier in the week, was on loan with the Sky Blues in 2002 when a Celtic player.
Saturday’s referee is Michael Oliver from Northumberland, who at 24 was due to become the youngest ever Premier League referee last week until the Fulham-Portsmouth match was postponed. Oliver, whose father Clive was also a Football League referee, has shown 54 yellow and three red cards in 19 games so far this season.
His last Town game was the 1-0 win at Reading in March when he showed yellow cards to Ben Thatcher and Owen Garvan and no members of the Royals side.
Squad from: Lee-Barrett, McLoughlin, Rosenior, D Wright, Delaney, McAuley, Balkestein, Bruce, Leadbitter, Norris, Colback, Peters, Garvan, Quinn, Martin, Edwards, Walters, Priskin, Wickham, John, Couñago.
Photo: Action Images
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|timmy2guns added 14:10 - Jan 15|
What was the reasoning for dropping the two fb's in the first place? Glad to see they are back in the side. Rosenior pushing forward is an attacking advantage and we need as much of that as we can get at the moment!
|PSGBlue added 14:16 - Jan 15|
Defence and midfield pick themselves when everyone is fit. A far cry from who should play up front with Waters, just pick a name out of a hat is the policy at present. For me Pablo should get a chance, must be his turn by now! Come on Roy get us a striker!
|jdf987 added 14:18 - Jan 15|
timmy2guns it clearly states why they were dropped "Keane switched his regular full-back pairing for Pim Balkestein and Alex Bruce at the Walkers Stadium to counter the Foxes’ largely aerial threat".
|superblueflude added 14:19 - Jan 15|
Timmy read the report, they were replaced by Pim and Bruce to foil the air threat from Leicester!.
|brockleyblueboy added 14:20 - Jan 15|
Good luck boys. 3-1 to the town with Chuck scoring 2.
|Bergholtblue added 14:32 - Jan 15|
Of the 3 names being mentioned as contenders to start alongside Walters. Counago was not one of them. Have we seen the last of Pablo?
My pick would be riskin Priskin. He couldn't possibily have as a shockingly bad a game as he did against Peterboro. He owes us one good performance!
|goperryrevs added 14:33 - Jan 15|
I've no idea how we didn't win at Coventry on the first game of the season - really outplayed them. So hoping we'll get the revenge on Saturday.
|mickeyjb added 14:43 - Jan 15|
I also would like to see Priskin given a chance, I really can't believe he is as bad as we think!! I think the only time we see pabs again is if we get a fox in the box that can be there when pabs holds the ball up and looks for the pass!
|Jesney_Havoc added 14:47 - Jan 15|
Jolly good. I always feel full-backs are a useful addition to a defence
|pottyblue added 14:53 - Jan 15|
please give priskin 90 mins he will come good he just needs a glass of wine and a slice of pizza
|unstableblue added 15:24 - Jan 15|
Play feckin garvan... jeeze is everyone blind.
|MaySixth added 15:45 - Jan 15|
I would stick with Wickham and Walters up front.
|Surco72 added 15:59 - Jan 15|
Unstableblue totally agree
i think Leadbitter,Norris and Colbaek are all too similar to play across the midfield together ,we tend to hoof balls from the back when Garvan is not on the field
|AJblue added 16:11 - Jan 15|
Surco, like your team, although perhaps i would switch Norris and Garvan around.
Start with your 2 strikers too, but after spending 1.7m on Priskin, he has got to get on for a game surely?
For me its the only way he is gonna get any type of form
|StowTractorBoy added 16:22 - Jan 15|
I would not have Garvan in my strongest team and neither will Mr. Keane in most cases. We now thrive on energy players and Garvan can't run, can't shoot and can't head a ball - say no more. His one asset is his left foot so he could come on as sub on the left of midfield or left centre of midfield. We can't possibly leave Colback out, the bloke is excellent and gives more in 30 minutes than Garvan gives in 90. All about opinions I know - just hope we get revenge for that unjust opening day defeat. At least we have a decent Referee tomorrow.
|AJblue added 16:27 - Jan 15|
See what you are saying Stow.. Colback is excellent, shame we cant have 12 on the pitch!
Still stick with Garvan though,at least to start with,and as you say Colbacks work rate in just 30 minutes is so good, he is an ideal impact player coming on as a sub.
Still makes him unlucky though doesnt it?
Of course you are right Keane will stick with Colback, so whatever i/we think is irrelevant isnt it?
|im_marcacus added 16:29 - Jan 15|
Surco, you'd drop Jaime?
Garvan & Colback both looked good out left lately, if Priskin plays I'd prefer Garvan, if John plays I'd prefer Colback.
Nice having chats about which midfielder you'd leave out rather than which ones you could stomach putting in
|ITFC1985 added 16:32 - Jan 15|
Wickham wasnt great aginst Leicester looked off the pace and doesnt ever look like he's going to score, but he's young and still learning i think Pablo needs to come as he offers good hold up play which we lack at times
|SurreyITFC added 17:06 - Jan 15|
Let's give Priskin a chance upfront along with Walters. Priskin need's games and can be a threat for sure, But he need's to work hard for the team like Walters does every match!
|jas0999 added 17:07 - Jan 15|
Good decision by Roy to add some height last week, but at home, attacking wing backs will be more important.
|muhrensleftfoot added 17:13 - Jan 15|
Our midfield is difficult to choose now with Garvan, Colback, Norris, Leadbitter, Peters, Walters, Edwards all worthy of a place in any Championship team. My opinion is that with Stead out, Walters should continue up front, although normally I prefer him midfield wide right. Norris & Leadbitter central midfield. On left midfield, I think it's difficult to choose between Garvan & Colback. Garvan has a cultured left foot & a great football brain, whereas Colback is a battling little terrier. Peters on the right in preference to Edwards. Up front, time to give Priskin another chance alongside Walters.
|jesus added 17:29 - Jan 15|
Wright Delaney McCauley Rosenoir
Colback Garvan Ledbitter Walters
Norris isn't match fit 100% yet, Garvan's got something to prove and has been excellent since impressing enough to be back in the team. Colback is a star, great at crossing and is on killer form. Priskin has been great in training this week apparently and like Wickham has height and needs to score goals and they both have something to prove. Walters is a top right winger. We've then got Norris, Stern, Bruce, and Peters as sub choices. IMHO.
|cbower added 18:37 - Jan 15|
What is obvious from the contributions on here is that we have a number of alternatives. Now, whilst this can be viewed a very positive in that we are developing a pretty competent and squad, it crystalises the problem we have had had all season - no settled side. Thought it was a brave decision by RK last week to try to combat the direct Leister style but Rosenior must return to the team, he has been a great accquisition since coming in at Boro. D Wright has done well since his period in the cold and doesn't really deserve to be "dropped" but for a home game against a team like Coventry, I would prefer to see Peters at left back to give us that extra attacking prowess and this would allow us to accommodate a midfield 4 (or 5 if you like) that includes Norris, Leadbitter, Garvan, Colback (and Walters). That leaves your frontman - John, Wickham or Priskin. Priskin would get the nod for me. Blueblood suggested a similar line up this in response to a different news item earlier:
Rosenior McCauley Delaney Peters
Walters Norris Garvan
Would ask Norris and Walters to support Priskin as much as possible and let Peters bomb on from left back. What do people think?
Interesting also to see that almost nobody mentions Lee Martin any more. £1.5 million - ooooh that hurts!
|jamie22 added 18:39 - Jan 15|
Garvan has got the vision and passing but we have two centre midfields who defend and have decent creative play. Norris proved while he is picked ahead of Garvan within the first 30 seconds on Saturday! Wickham has showed flashes of why is hot news but he plays like a typical teenager, therefore I would like to see Priskin out there with Walters upfront. But someone did state that Colback was a good impact player so what about this:
Rosenior McAuley Delaney Wright
Walters Leadbitter Norris Peters
|stinkiusminkius added 18:52 - Jan 15|
As many on here have already mentioned, we have more than enough good options in midfield, which begs the question why has Keane ended up with this unbalanced squad? When he took over I felt our midfield was by far the strongest area of the squad, but yet he seemed to go all out to buy yet more and more midfielders (just as well Healy and Martin are cack or it would be an even bigger dilemma). Now we have a surplus in that area, but still struggling up front, and without much cover at the back.
And has Counago gone the way of D Wright and Garvan from earlier in the season? i.e. no chance of a look in, even though hes probably one of the better options.
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