Gordon Strachan was only
half-joking when he talked of putting himself and coach Garry Pendrey
on the Coventry subs bench at Newcastle.
'Strach's' treatment room
count up has revealed he has only 13 fit players for the trip to St
James Park and two of those are goalkeepers.
"It's the worst injury
situation I have ever known here. We
have 18 players under treatment and that situation will not change
before the match at Newcastle.
"Fortunately I can
field a team of good players but we are struggling when it comes to
finding five subs. Because of injuries to players in the next tier
down I am left with 16 and 17 year olds.
"But I refuse to
consider them because they are physically not strong enough to
compete with world class players like Shearer, Speed and Dabizas and
people like that.
"Besides, they are
feeling good at present because they play in the FA Youth Cup Final
“That is a big day for
them and a big day for this club and I would not want to risk
denting their confidence or any of them picking up injuries before
Strachan, fortunately has
enough senior players to cover for every position in the team except
He has three of those on the
injured list in Steve Froggatt, David Burrows and Marcus Hall, which
means that centre-back Richard Shaw is likely to make the switch with
Paul Williams going into the middle of the back four alongside Gary
The Moroccans Youssef Chippo
and Moustapha Hadji are back from international duty and expected to
drop straight into midfield alongside Gary McAllister and John
Striker Cedric Roussel, back
from injury, will go straight in alongside Robbie Keane
It is the subs bench that
Strachan is struggling to fill.
"People might say we
should be able to field a full team, but we cannot.
"It looks as though
myself and Gary Pendrey will be on the bench.
"Our careers are over
so we don't mind making fools of ourselves."
Much though Strachan might
like one last crack at the Premiership, it cannot be however. Neither
he nor Pendrey is registered as a player.