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Gordon Needs Bodies

Gordon Strachan, manager of struggling Coventry has a game plan for the match against Arsenal at Highbury, but he does not know whether he has the bodies to carry it through.

Coventry could be without five players against the champions, either through injuries or suspensions.

Strachan is definitely without two strikers Noel Whelan and John Aloisi through suspensions, and he is waiting news on Gary McAllister, George Boateng and Paul Williams who are injured.

He says:

"We know what we want to do, but we don’t know whether we will have the bodies to do it."

He is no doubt about the size of the task facing his relegation-threatened side.

"Arsenal are big and powerful, they have got pace and ability and they have still got that defence which gives away nothing. Everything you need in a football team they have got."

Strachan was keeping his battle plan close to his chest, but he could start with the 4-5-1 formation which did so well at Chelsea. That would have Darren Huckerby on his own up front.

"I knew what I wanted to do last Sunday," said Coventry’s boss. "But these things can change depending on who is available. I don’t want to give too much away.

"We have to make Arsenal put the ball in areas where they do not want it to go. We have to try to take the game to them. If you sit back and hope for a draw you are inviting trouble."

For the Coventry players it will be a welcome change to play on a flat football pitch. Boateng said:

"Our pitch is not good. It cuts up and is very heavy. Before our last game against Blackburn Rovers we watched Everton’s match on television and it looked as though they were playing in a another country. On our pitch it takes two or three touches to get the ball under control."

Coventry’s pitch is blamed for Boateng’s muscle strain at the top of his thigh, and McAllister’s badly sprained an ankle. McAllister expects to be fit to join up with the Scotland squad for next week’s match against Bosnia, even if he does not make it against Arsenal.

Paul Williams is said to have no chance of playing at Highbury after missing the match against Blackburn with a hamstring strain.

Coventry have won only once in the premiership at Highbury, when they did the league double in 1993-94.

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 19 Mar 99

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM