manager Gordon Strachan has to decide whether to axe star striker Darren Huckerby for the
vital home game against Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Huckerby, valued at £7 million after a string of electric performances earlier this
season, has now gone 13 games without a goal and has struggled to find his best form as
the side have pulled themselves out of the bottom three.
Strachan kept faith with him against Everton but described the teams first half
performance in the 2-0 Sunday defeat as a "waste of time" and could be tempted
to bring John Aloisi in from the start.
The Highfield Road boss is confident his players have heeded the lessons of their trip
"They have been excellent in training and have responded well. They may have been
too positive, if anything, and have been trying a bit too hard so we will have to relax
them before the game and just have them focussed.
"They would have liked to have played a game on Monday after the performance at
Everton but I am sure they will put on a good show.
"We have proved we can win five games on the trot but it will be a very hard game
on Saturday because they are a strong, physical side with plenty of ability and that is a
"They did very well in beating Charlton at the weekend and again in midweek
against Chelsea, who never managed to make any chances. If you want to pass the ball
around in front of them they will accept that all day, you have to do more than
Strachan is hoping midfielder Paul Telfer, who limped off with a dead leg at Goodison
Park, has shaken off the injury in time to play but has already ruled out winger Steve
Froggatt who is suffering from a hamstring strain which has seen him miss the last two
Italian trialist Stefano Gioacchini, on loan from Venezia until the end of the season,
will be added to the squad after rattling in two goals for the reserves in midweek, the
latest good performance from the former under-21 international.