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City Youngsters Pushing For First Team

Coventry City’s ‘young guns’ are gathering to try to force their way into the first team with the enforced absence of the club’s two Moroccan midfielders.

John Eustace, Coventry City FC


John Eustace, Runar Normann, Laurent Delorge and Gavin Strachan were in the reserve side playing at Wimbledon tonight, each with his own agenda – a place in the first team.

Eustace appears to be the favourite to come in while the Moroccans are playing for their country in the African Nations Cup, but the Norwegian Normann has been on the fringe of first team duty in recent weeks and Strachan has been blooded at senior level.

The least likely to get a place is the Belgian Delorge, who has been dogged by ill luck and injuries since he was signed for £1.25 million from Ghent in Belgium.

He broke his leg within minutes of his first match for the reserves fifteen months ago and he has rarely put in an appearance since then. He was on the point of his comeback when he tore a hamstring muscle and then after fighting his way through that, it was found that a tendon in his knee has shortened.

Now after surgery to remedy the problem he has once again built up his fitness on the training ground to the point where he can turn his thoughts to competitive football.

But he acknowledges that the departure of Moustapha Hadji and Youssef Chipppo had come too soon for his own first team ambitions. He said: 

"I must content myself with playing one match at a time to build up my fitness and touch.

"I am very anxious to do well. Coventry have bought me but have seen nothing of me yet and I want to show what I can do."

There will be three first team places up for grabs against Derby County on Saturday week when, in addition to the Moroccans, Carlton Palmer will also be missing through suspension.

The Hare and Hounds, Coventry

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'Coventry City - the Elite Era' by Jim Brown

CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 12 Jan 00

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