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Whelan Will Give 100% In Spurs Duel

Transfer listed Noel Whelan will be asked to put aside any differences and give 100 per cent for Coventry at home to Tottenham.

Noel Whelan, Coventry City FCThe striker will be in the main strike force with Robbie Keane for the first time since mid-December, because the Belgian Cedric Roussel is still concussed from a head injury at Middlesbrough last weekend.

Whelan, 25, was transfer-listed earlier in the week when he rejected the club’s offer of an improved contract with 16 months still to run on his existing deal.

Coventry’s manager Gordon Strachan said: 

"Noel has assured me that he will give 100 per cent for the club. He understands that it is not personal, it is business.

"Clubs have to check earlier than ever whether a player is prepared to sign a new contract. They cannot afford to be in the position where he leaves on a free transfer under the Bosman ruling."

Strachan thought he knew on Tuesday the team he would select to play Tottenham.

But then his international players began drifting back into HQ and he quickly realised he had to have a rethink.

"I have eight first team players injured. There were only 15 fit players training today and three of those are not ready to play in the premier league, although they might have to," he grumbled.

"At the start of the season we definitely did not plan for seven or eight injuries. I have not been able to play my strongest team in any match this season because I have never had fewer than five players injured at any one time."

The latest addition to the casualty list was Swedish full back Tomas Gustafsson who returned from international duty in Italy with a knee injury.

Strachan had waited all week to hear whether his big Belgian striker Cedric Roussel would be fit after being carried off with concussion at Middlesbrough last weekend, but he was finally ruled out.

Strachan calls the injured who cannot play, ‘the dead men’. He has plenty of those at present.

The list reads: Steve Ogrizovic (injured shoulder), Marc Edworthy (ankle), Paul Telfer (knee), Carlton Palmer (hamstring), Steve Froggatt (ankle), Marcus Hall (knee), John Aloisi (hamstring), Roussel and possibly Gustafsson.

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'Coventry City - the Elite Era' by Jim Brown

CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 25 Feb 00

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