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Whelan's Return

Noel Whelan, Coventry City FCNoel Whelan is on the way back. The striker, who has been fretting on the sidelines with injury for five weeks, hopes to be back in Coventry’s team on Saturday.

Ironically his return might not be so urgent now.

Moustapha Hadji has deputised so skilfully that manager Gordon Strachan might be tempted to leave well alone for the trip to play Everton.

Two weeks ago the club was desperately willing Whelan or John Aloisi’s return from their injuries. Against Tranmere, when Robbie Keane was cup tied, Strachan was forced to play 17 year old Gary McSheffrey and 19 year old John Eustace as his main strike force.

But against West Ham United, Moroccan midfielder Hadji teamed up with Keane and crowned a gritty display with his first goal in English football. It proved to be the winner and might convince Strachan to leave him up front.

It would also mean that the manager would not have to disturb his midfield to make room for Hadji’s return to that department.

Carlton Palmer, on loan from Nottingham Forest, has performed heroically in his first two games, both of which ended in victories. His solid defensive work has allowed Gary McAllister more freedom to press forward and the side bears a more balanced look.

At the back, David Burrows might find his two indiscretions will keep him out of the team for some time. He has started a four match ban for his second sending off at Tranmere which has enabled Strachan to give an extended run to Marcus Hall.

The manager says now is the time for the local youngster to show what he can do after two years of injuries. He says left back is Hall’s best position and he will give him an extended run. As that is the only position Burrows can play, a good run of games from Hall, would condemn the senior man to a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

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Staying Up by Rick Gekoski

CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 27 Sep 99

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