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Strachan Faces An Empty Bench

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.

He said:

"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 next Thursday.

“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 the final."

Strachan, fortunately has enough senior players to cover for every position in the team except at left-back.

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 Breen.

The Moroccans Youssef Chippo and Moustapha Hadji are back from international duty and expected to drop straight into midfield alongside Gary McAllister and John Eustace.

Striker Cedric Roussel, back from injury, will go straight in alongside Robbie Keane

It is the subs bench that Strachan is struggling to fill.

He said:

"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.

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'Coventry City - the Elite Era' by Jim Brown

CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 28 Apr 00

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