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Smith Misses Training and Remains Doubt Ahead of World Cup Play-Off Second Leg
Tuesday, 14th Nov 2017 23:49

Blues defender Tommy Smith missed training on Tuesday and remains a doubt ahead of the second leg of New Zealand's World Cup qualification play-off against Peru in Lima in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Smith was forced off by a calf injury in the 67th minute of Saturday’s first match in Wellington which ended 0-0.

Ahead of the All Whites' flight to South America on Sunday - which ended up taking three hours longer than the anticipated 16 hours - Smith and manager Anthony Hudson were both bullish about the 27-year-old's chances of being fit enough to play in the second leg.

However, the centre-half hasn’t trained since arriving in Peru and again wasn’t involved in today’s session at the Estadio Nacional, where the match is being played. He will be rested on Wednesday and given a fitness test ahead of kick-off before a decision is made.

Macclesfield-born Smith, who has won 36 full caps, scoring two international goals, played in all three of New Zealand’s games the last time they reached the finals, in South Africa in 2010, and also represented the nation where he lived between the ages of eight and 16 at the 2012 Olympics.

Joining Smith in the All Whites squad in Peru is Blues youngster Monty Patterson who has won 15 full caps, scoring one international goal. The 20-year-old striker or midfielder is likely to be on the bench.

New Zealand are big outsiders to win the tie and a place at next summer's finals in Russia with Peru, who last qualified for a World Cup back in 1982, currently 10th in FIFA’s rankings, while the All Whites are 122nd.

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Currie10 added 00:15 - Nov 15
Probably going to get a lot of down arrows, however based on how he loves to let the ball bounce ala Cardiff away he wouldn't be in my 18. He's never sorted out some of the utter basics.

Don't get me wrong, get well soon and I don't want any of our players injured I just feel we're at the point where we have better in that position.

Tough game in Peru that...

RoyalAscotBlue added 07:40 - Nov 15
Explain yourself Currie10. Tommy is the ONLY left sided centre half we have so who are you talking about that's better in that position?

Daleyitfc added 09:37 - Nov 15
Peru 10th in the FIFA list, despite not finishing high enough up to qualify in their own region??? This shows just how rubbish the FIFA ranking system is : realistically they probably should be around 50th.

ronnyd added 15:20 - Nov 15
Daleyitfc, if you have a lot of games coupled with good results against mediocre teams you can really shoot up the rankings. Agreed, it,s a joke.

Seasider added 18:34 - Nov 15
RoyalAscotBlue.As Currie10 hasn't replied,I shall on his/her behalf say that Knudsen is better than Tommy presently in the left Centre Back position.He can of course also play left back;but I think his best position now is on the left of a three man defence,although Jonas can even play as a left wing back as well.

Danishtractor added 18:57 - Nov 15
Actually Tommy Smith and New Zealand could help Denmark. If New Zealand progress against Peru, Denmark will be seeded in the second layer. If not they will be seeded in third. Come on Tommy!!!!

carlo88 added 19:55 - Nov 15
What's the point of having a two week international break and playing the game a day before it ends?

Currie10 added 21:41 - Nov 15
Okay Royle, here goes -

With you saying Smith is the best in that position, you're saying you'd start him a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 - he'd simply HAVE to play as, as you put it, he's the best......

Granted I'd rather have a left footed LCB and a right footed RCB. For the record, I'd go 4-4-2. Also, for the record I'd prefer Chambers and Webster to Tommy in a 4-4-2.

I agree with Seasider, Knudsen is better at LCB than Tommy, and I'd happily play him in a 3-5-2 there.

Tommy was a lot better alongside Berra - an organiser.

Brentford 15/16 always made me irk with Tommy. 2-0 up, stoppage time, WIPE THE MAN OUT don't let them make it 2-1.

Cardiff this season reminded me when Cardiff should have gone 3-0 up with him letting the ball bounce like a pinball, then having the audacity to blame Chambers after.

Obviously not 100% fit, however in my mind he wouldn't be in my 11 in either system.

A bit like Bramble for me - good for 89 minutes, then a moments lapse. You cannot afford them.

matty81 added 23:21 - Nov 15
A fully fit and match fit Tommy is our best defender at the club but unfortunately it's been a long time since he was injury free. Granted he is not technically gifted but he is the best headerer of ball we have and in the Championship that is vital.
I'm sure if you look back at our best period for clean sheets since Mick took over Smith and Chambers were the central partnership, admittedly they may have been four years ago but people soon forget. Also a goal threat from set pieces.
I do agree though he is not currently playing well enough to start but don't give up on him.

bobble added 01:13 - Nov 16
go NZ !! join with OZ in the world cup so we have another team to shout for..

Currie10 added 01:19 - Nov 16
Smith desperately needs a leader alongside him to organise his limitations.

Problem he has, is Webster is lightyears ahead of him.

We're going to stick with 4 at the back, meaning I would say he'll have to be satisfied with a place on the bench this term.

He isn't going to dislodge Chambers, or Webster.


Sam added 07:33 - Nov 16
Is he fit for Hull?

RoyalAscotBlue added 10:03 - Nov 16
As Matty81 says, the best central pairing the current manager has had in his time here was Smith/Chambers. The second best he had was Berra/Smith, although the team was unbalanced as a result.

If we are going to play a flat back four then we should be aiming to get Smith back to full fitness and partner him with Webster. Smith is capable of an error yes but Chambers makes them all the time now. If you are comparing their defensive capabilities then Smith would be head and shoulders above Chambers. Add the fact that playing Smith gives the team balance and it's a no brainer. Smith also scores more goals. We can do without the fist pumps.

I am not a fool though. I know that Chambers is the first name on the team sheet (swiftly followed by Skuse) under the current manager. So unless he gets a serious injury we will not get to see whether or not I'm right (until next season perhaps). The current manager talks about how important it is to have balance in the team, and then he puts his favourite square pegs in round holes. Always has, always will.

If we are going to play three at the back then I would still prefer Smith, over Knudsen. Knudsen has only had a couple of games there so we don't really know if it suits him or not? He isn't great in the air so on that basis alone I don't think so. Smith has played in a back 3 before, for New Zealand in particular. I don't think that either of them have the greatest distribution though so I'm not sure the system would really be best.

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