Lambert Hoping Quaner is Fit for Championship Finale
Friday, 3rd May 2019 15:21
Town boss Paul Lambert hopes Collin Quaner will be fit enough to start against Leeds in the final game of the season - and the last of the Blues' 17 years in the Championship - on Sunday with his squad short of fit strikers.
Will Keane suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury at Sheffield United last week and Kayden Jackson was also forced off, while Ellis Harrison has been out with a back problem. Jack Lankester (back) and Freddie Sears (ACL) have both been out for some weeks, while young duo Ben Morris (ACL) and Ben Folami (achilles) are also long-term absentees.
“Obviously Will’s out, Ellis has just started back training, so it’s too early for him, Collin we hope will be OK, so we’ll see how they are tomorrow,” Lambert said.
“Kayden Jackson hurt his hamstring a little bit, but we’ll see how he is. I’ll decide tomorrow, I’ll see how he is, but we can’t push him too much.”
Lambert says other players have been given a go in striking roles in training just in case: “We tried Judgey, we tried Teddy Bishop and Kayden is obviously there, so we’ll see how Collin is.”
Midfielder Jon Nolan is likely to be back, while centre-half James Collins remains a big doubt: “[Nolan] looks OK. Again, I think Nolan has been great this season and done ever so well for us.
“I don’t know [about James Collins], I’ll have to wait and see tomorrow, but I’m not so sure.”
Central defender Toto Nsiala also appeared to be hobbling as he met the press at lunchtime and Lambert says one or two others are suffering from problems going into the match.
“There are one or two knocks which I think is normal this time of the season,” he reflected.
“We’ll try everything when we can, and if we don’t match Leeds United’s desire then it’s going to be a difficult game.
“It’ll be a difficult game anyway, but if you don’t match their work rate and their work ethic, then it’s going to be a difficult game.
“Equally, if the shoe was on the other foot and we do it to Leeds then they’ll have a hard game. You have to earn the right to win a game.”
Lambert says he’s still ruminating on whether to hand 19-year-old Corrie Ndaba his senior debut on Sunday having been unimpressed by the U23s skipper’s display in Tuesday’s 3-0 play-off semi-final defeat to Birmingham City.
“I was going to and then I saw him playing the other night and I thought he wasn’t at it,” he said. “I’ll hold judgement on that.
“I’ve had a word with him about it. It wasn’t good enough, not the level I expect and not the level I demand.
“We had him in about it and it tailed off for me, it wasn’t good enough. We’ve spoken about it and I’m pretty sure he won’t let it happen again.
Simon Dawkins, 31, is has yet to make a start since joining the Blues on a short-term deal in January - the former Derby County man has made two sub appearances - and Lambert played down the prospect of the winger being in his XI on Sunday.
“I don’t know at the minute,” he said. “There are one or two who are probably in front of him. He’s done OK, but I don’t know if he’s done enough to force my hand, so we’ll wait and see.”
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