Morsy Set For League Debut and Edwards Expected to Be Available as Blues Host Bottom Club Doncaster
Monday, 27th Sep 2021 11:49
Summer signing Samy Morsy is set to make his league debut for the Blues and Kyle Edwards is expected to be back in the squad as Town face bottom club Doncaster Rovers at Portman Road on Tuesday evening.
Since joining the club on deadline day, Egyptian international Morsy has been serving a three-match suspension picked up when he was sent off in his final game for Middlesbrough with his only involvement for Town up to now in the Papa John’s Trophy tie against West Ham’s U21s.
Morsy seems certain to come into the side and is likely to be wearing the captain’s armband as he did when previously playing for Paul Cook at Chesterfield and Wigan.
Cook is pleased to finally be able to call on the 30-year-old, while other players are also back in the frame after injury.
“A massive addition to the squad,” the Blues manager said, speaking after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday.
“I think Kyle Edwards will be available, I think Toto Nsiala will be available, Samy Morsy will be available, so we are getting stronger now.
“Lads are getting games under their belts and the squad is growing, which is great for everyone.”
Despite being disappointed that his side didn’t win on Saturday, Cook felt the point, secured via Conor Chaplin’s late goal, maintained some momentum after the 1-0 win at Lincoln the previous weekend, Town’s first victory of the season.
“I just think supporters want to see signs that we are going to get better,” Cook continued. “I think when they left the ground after the Bolton game, the signs looked like we were getting worse, let’s have it right. And I don’t mind [them saying] that, I agreed with them.
“I think after Lincoln and Saturday, they’ve seen the solidity of the team is a lot, lot better, we don’t give up many chances and we’ve got a goal threat in the team.
“If we can keep maximising what we’re good at and get better at what we’re not so good at, we’ll be able to put a run together that will see us get where we want to be.”
Despite Rovers being bottom of the table on just four points having lost all five of their games on their travels this season, Cook says he won’t be underestimating the South Yorkshiremen.
“You’ve seen these games, you know the teams,” he added. “Doncaster lost 2-1 at Plymouth today, Plymouth beat Sheff Wed 3-0, Doncaster have lost the majority of their games by the odd goal.
“There’s nothing in the games at these levels and Doncaster have got some very, very good players, they will be a bit threat here.
“Hopefully our crowd can turn up again, get behind us as well as they have been in every game and hopefully we'll get that first win at Portman Road.”
Cook believes a win against Rovers will be a big step towards the Blues putting together the run he is looking for: “One hundred per cent, but no one will be taking any team lightly, there’s no such thing in these leagues as an easy game, that’s for sure.”
The Town boss seems set to stick with Vaclav Hladky in goal with Matt Penney again at left-back with Hayden Coulson appearing unlikely to be ready to return from what looked to be a groin problem suffered at Lincoln.
Janoi Donacien will continue at right-back with Cameron Burgess and George Edmundson the centre-halves.
In midfield, Lee Evans is again set to miss out with the hamstring injury which saw the Welshman miss the Owls match.
Morsy will make his debut, almost certainly in place of Idris El Mizouni, with Tom Carroll appearing likely to get the nod ahead of Rekeem Harper.
Bersant Celina will be in the number 10 role with Scott Fraser on the left and Wes Burns on the right and Macauley Bonne the lone striker.
Alternatively, Cook could start Edwards on the left with Fraser in the middle and Celina, who is still working towards full fitness after a summer hit by illness, on the bench if not considered yet ready for three games in eight days.
Doncaster manager Richie Wellens, who was red-carded during Saturday's 2-1 defeat away to the Pilgrims, empathises with his Town counterpart Cook and believes his own team is moving in the right direction.
“Paul’s been promoted from this league - he’s won promotion at Portsmouth and Wigan - so he doesn’t need me to tell him anything,” Wellens told the Doncaster Free Press.
“All you ask for as a manager is time. I think he’s signed 15 or 16 players. We’ve done the same.
“As long as you start seeing things [progress]. I remember one of his interviews where he said ‘We’re a shell of a team’.
“I totally get that because when I look back at some of my team selections at the start of the season we have been a shell of a team.
“But I honestly think we’ve turned a corner now and we look like we’re getting there.
“When you go to Plymouth who are on a really good run and that’s the most difficult game they’ve had apart from Rotherham away you can take positives from that. But we have to start winning.
“Four or five managers have said to me ‘Richie, you’ve got a really good team, and when you’ve got all your players back...’.
“I don’t want those kind of comments. It’s not patronising because I can see it for myself but we need to start putting wins on the board.
"When we start playing the bottom eight to ten clubs – I think we’ve only played one of the bottom 10 – we can start improving our points tally.”
Historically, Town have had the better of Rovers, winning nine games between the teams (eight in the league), drawing five (five) and losing five (four).
Rovers have beaten Town just once in the last seven meetings between the sides - and two of the last 12 - and most recently won at Portman Road in November 2011 when they claimed a 3-2 victory over Paul Jewell's Blues.
The teams last met at Portman Road in February in what proved to be former manager Paul Lambert's last game in charge of the club.
Alan Judge’s fantastic 25-yard free-kick and a predatory effort from James Norwood saw the Blues to a 2-1 victory and up to eighth in League One.
Judge curled home a brilliant opener on 24, Norwood stabbed in the second in the 54th minute, before sub Jon Taylor pulled one back on 73 for Rovers, who pushed for a leveller in the final minutes but without success.
At the Keepmoat Stadium in October last year, Rovers came from a goal down to beat the Blues 4-1 to comprehensively end their unbeaten start to 2020/21 and drop them to second in the League One table.
A Joe Wright own goal gave Town the lead on the quarter hour but Cameron John and Whiteman on 28 and 37 gave the home side a 2-1 half-time lead before Whiteman netted the third from the spot in the 62nd minute and Fejiri Okenabirhie made it four two minutes later.
Rovers manager Wellens had a spell on loan with the Blues from Leicester in the 2012/13 season making seven starts.
His assistant Noel Hunt moved to Town initially on loan from Leeds in November 2014 with the spell made permanent in the January.
The forward, who played for Blues boss Cook at Portsmouth and Wigan and was under consideration for a role on his Town staff, made three starts and nine sub appearances for the club, scoring three goals, before being released at the end of that campaign.
Doncaster keeper-coach Paul Gerrard also had a spell on loan at Portman Road between November and December 2002, making five starts.
Tuesday’s referee is Carl Brook from Sussex, who has shown 37 yellow and three red cards - one in each of his first three matches this season - during 2021/22 up to now.
Brook will be refereeing his first Town match, while he took charge of Rovers’ 3-1 win at Burton last season in which he awarded both sides a penalty and booked two South Yorkshiremen.
Squad from: Hladky, Walton, Holy, Donacien, Vincent-Young, Penney, Edmundson, Burgess, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Morsy, Harper, Carroll, El Mizouni, Fraser, Burns, Chaplin, Aluko, Celina, Edwards, Bonne, Pigott, Barry, Jackson, Norwood.
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