Dublin back in action

CHRIS LAKEY Dion Dublin is back at centre-half for City this afternoon knowing that he is being trusted with making his own judgment on his fitness.


Dion Dublin is back at centre-half for City this afternoon knowing that he is being trusted with making his own judgment on his fitness.

The 37-year-old striker put in a man of the match performance in the heart of City's defence against Sunderland a week ago and, with Gary Doherty and Craig Fleming still out injured, will be asked to do the same again at The Hawthorns.

The perfect scenario is to have Dublin on the bench as a striker - or at least avoiding playing a full 90 minutes. But needs must - and City boss Peter Grant says the player will get as much time as he needs to recover.

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“I learned myself as a player that the older I got, people used to say I needed to calm down because I loved training, and I was the opposite,” Grant said. “I wanted to train every day because I felt that was the way I had to be, I wanted to be ahead of the young boys.

“Dion is the exactly the same, but I gave him time after the weekend because it is important he looks after himself, he knows that, he has done that - that's why he's in such great shape.

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“You can trust people like that to do that. There are probably days when I say, 'do you want a day off?' and he'll say, 'no', because you know your body and you maybe know you need something out of your system or whatever. But I will definitely play that with him because it is so important he is ready for the Saturday. With the intensity I train at anyway he has to make sure he is ready for it.

“If I trained with that intensity with him for four or five days a week I am sure he would blow up, there is no doubt about that.

“The boys expect a high tempo every day we train, but I'm very, very careful not to burn them out either, especially the senior ones like Dion. If I give him a rest and he says, 'no, I don't want one', I have no problem with that.”

This afternoon could be Dublin's last stint alongside Jason Shackell, with Gary Doherty (back) expected to return to full training next week ready for the Ipswich match next Sunday. Fleming (hamstring) won't make that one, although both have reported significant improvements in recent days.

“With Doc, we thought it was going to be a disc problem, he just couldn't move his back at all,” said Grant. “We thought it was a major problem with his disc which maybe even needed an operation, it was as bad as that. But after the weekend he felt a million times better on Tuesday and has continued that progress, he can't believe the difference in it. That's a massive plus.”

Grant watched fringe players like Andy Hughes, Peter Thorne and Ryan Jarvis get run-outs for the reserves in their 3-0 defeat at Ipswich on Monday, but stressed that he didn't want senior players in his second string.

“We had the reserve game moved to the afternoon because Ipswich asked permission for that,” he said. “That made me play the more senior pros, just to get 90 minutes under their belt for most of them. I will try not to do that very often unless somebody desperately needs the 90 minutes because I think it is important that we get the training days in.

“We need all the players fully fit and I don't need players travelling to reserve games, travelling to first team games and not being bright in their mind. We have to have them bright and alert and ready to play for the first team.

“But it was good to see the likes of Matthieu Louis-Jean getting 90 minutes, Peter Thorne getting another period of the game. Ryan Jarvis came in and had six or seven shots at goal - things like that are positive. He made the keeper work but needs to be a wee bit more aggressive - he still has to get in the box more because most of his shots were from distance, but at least he's getting shots on target.”

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