Hoolahan set to keep central role to support Lupoli
David Cuffley Manager Glenn Roeder has a key decision to make on who plays up front as the Canaries bid to reach the FA Cup fourth round at the expense of Charlton. And he admitted he may stick to the formation used in the final 30 minutes of Saturday's defeat at Sheffield United after the loss of Antoine Sibierski with a twisted ankle.
Manager Glenn Roeder has a key decision to make on who plays up front as the Canaries bid to reach the FA Cup fourth round at the expense of Charlton.
And he admitted he may stick to the formation used in the final 30 minutes of Saturday's defeat at Sheffield United after the loss of Antoine Sibierski with a twisted ankle.
With David Bell introduced in a wide left role for the final half-hour at Bramall Lane, Wes Hoolahan was pushed into a more central role as back-up to Arturo Lupoli - similar to the way he supported Leroy Lita during his loan spell.
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Asked if he would that system in tonight's third round replay, Roeder said: “Possibly, yes. All we did there was that we had Lupoli on instead of Leroy Lita in terms of the formation we then adopted.”
Darel Russell, who started the game at The Valley alongside Sibierski, is available tonight after suspension, but is not guaranteed to start.
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“He can do a job up there, but he certainly prefers playing in the centre of midfield,” said Roeder. “I'm of the opinion that he's done equally as well playing up through the middle as he has in the centre of midfield.
“The only thing he hasn't added to his game that you need to when you play up front is scoring goals - but he's had chances, he's had some marvellous chances to score. He had a great opportunity at Reading, a couple at Watford - the first one he had at Reading he got his feet tangled. He was six yards out, it could have put us one up early in the game.
“The funny thing with Darel is, on the training fields here at Colney when you don't have to score goals, he always seems to knock the chances in. But what he does give you is physical presence.”
Elsewhere, midfielder Matty Pattison is fit after missing Saturday's game.
“I was over-cautious with him because he could have been on the bench but I didn't want to take a chance because, of the three dead legs we got last week, he was the worst,” said Roeder.
Bell could also be in line to start while Adam Drury looks set to return in the centre of defence with on-loan Jonathan Grounds ineligible.
But though youngsters such as Korey Smith, Tom Adeyemi and Damon Lathrope could feature on the bench, Roeder ruled out throwing any of his Academy prospects into an FA Cup tie from the start.
“We haven't got a youngster ready yet. Though I think they are fine young prospects, they aren't anywhere near ready to play in the first team,” he said.
“Declan Rudd, I suppose, of all the young players, I wouldn't have a problem if I had to sit him on the bench as number two.”
The City boss said there was every reason to go all out to progress to round four, but the potential embarrassment of losing to a Charlton team without a win in 18 games was not one of them.
He said: “It's got nothing to do with Charlton. It could be anybody. We need to get through for everything. There wouldn't be a negative factor for going through - whatever reason would be a positive factor, going into the next round, financial gain, winning a game of football for confidence.”
Tonight's game must be settled on the night, which means extra time and penalties if necessary.
“No one wants to play more time than you have to because you're always thinking about the game at the weekend. I'm sure Barnsley will be hoping it goes to extra time,” said Roeder.