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Moroccans Out Of Wimbledon Clash

Coventry City boss Gordon Strachan has learned that he will be without Moroccan midfielders Moustapha Hadji and Youssef Chippo for tomorrow’s clash with Wimbledon.

The duo were planning to take time out of their country’s African Nations Cup campaign to fly back for the match, but that idea has been vetoed by the Morocco coach.

Strachan must now plug those gaps and has urged his in-form Sky Blues not to be intimidated by Wimbledon's physical approach.

The fiery Scot believes that the Dons are back to there most direct style of play but believes his players must show that they have steel to go with their flair.

He said:

"Wimbledon have been playing very well of late with three strikers and two big wide men.

"They will get the ball forward very quickly and we have to try and stop them from doing what they are good at.

"When we get the ball back we must be brave, not get intimidated and play our own game."

And Strachan refused to condemn Egil Olsen's decision to revert the Wimbledon playing style back to its route one days.

He said:

"They do play what I would describe as conservative football, but that is fine - we all have options about the way that we play.

"You play the system that is best suited to the players you've got and obviously that style would not suit my players, so we try and do something else."

Wimbledon visit Highfield Road at a time when Coventry are enjoying one of their best spells of home form for some time, and Strachan believes his side are moving rapidly in the right direction.

"I expected to be higher in the league than we are at the moment but because of our bad start we have had to play catch up.

"I think our football has been good and varied this season and we have been quite unlucky. I think we could have been five or six points better off than we are."

The Coventry boss is in the enviable position of having to choose two from three in-form strikers, with Robbie Keane and Cedric Roussel being pushed by Noel Whelan - who netted after being introduced as a second half substitute against Burnley last weekend.

Whelan was sidelined for three months with an ankle injury earlier this season but Strachan believes he is now closing in on his best form.

He said:

"He has been working very hard in training and I like that, I like his spirit.

"I was pleased to get him on against Burnley last week because I knew we had no worries about him, he is back in good form."

The Hare and Hounds, Coventry

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'Coventry City - the Elite Era' by Jim Brown

CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 14 Jan 00

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