Dion the 'warrior' refreshed and ready
Chris Lakey Glenn Roeder had admitted taking liberties with veteran striker Dion Dublin this season - but refuses to rule out an instant return to the City starting line-up this afternoon.
Glenn Roeder had admitted taking liberties with veteran striker Dion Dublin this season - but refuses to rule out an instant return to the City starting line-up this afternoon.
Dublin comes back refreshed after missing last week's win over Barnsley because of suspension - as well as four days in the sunny climes of southern Spain.
It was the first break for the 38-year-old after a run of six games in the space of four weeks. Now Roeder has to decide whether to call upon his “warrior” again today for the battle against Blackpool at Carrow Road or stick with last week's pairing of match-winner Jamie Cureton and the precocious young talent that is Ched Evans.
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“Dion won't agree with this, Dion being Dion, but I believe we have asked too much of him already this year,” admitted Roeder.
“And he keeps coming up with answers - everything I ask him to do he keeps coming up with answers.
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“But I think overall for someone closer to 40 than 30, I have taken him to the well sometimes I think too often, playing him three times in one week a number of times.
“One of my favourite words is warrior, that's what he is. He never complains. There have been times in the third game in the week in the last five minutes that he's still on I see him sprinting from one side of the pitch to the other and running past a lot younger players than him.
“But I think the break won't have done him any harm at all - hopefully it's done him some good. The fact that we won, got the three points, when he was suspended, is the double whammy.”
Roeder has left his final selection until the end of the week, with next Tuesday's trip to Watford also on his mind.
“Ched is 19, there is no reason he can't keep playing week in, week out and midweek games as well,” he added. “With Dion it's just getting the balance right, that we don't give him too long a break so that he struggles to get going again.
“I do think you get to an age where you need to tick over and not make the break too long. What Dion has had is just perfect, and with a midweek game at Watford on Tuesday I would like to think we will get a lot out of Dion in the next two games - and Ched as well, and Cureton.
“Cureton has looked sharper than at any time since I've been here. Again, the sunny climes certainly he seemed to like - he has looked exceptionally sharp in training this week.”
Cureton wore the captain's armband last weekend, but Roeder has skipper Mark Fotheringham back from his own one-game ban - although there are no guarantees he will go straight back into the team after the performances of Matty Pattison and Kieran Gibbs in the middle of the park.
“I would say it's harder for Fozzy because he never played,” said Roeder. “I am not sure yet whether I am going to name the team today or name it tomorrow, but Fozzy should be worrying. The two boys in the centre of midfield did well. It was a very young midfield - the longer the game went the better Kieran Gibbs got I thought. His training this week has been fantastic, he is really settling in now and you mustn't forget he is 18 years old, he is a real youngster.
“They have all impressed enough in training this week to all start, but only 11 can. But I don't see it as a problem.”