Hoolahan struggling to make City starting line
Chris Lakey Wes Hoolahan is a major doubt for City today, with manager Glenn Roeder admitting his summer signing may not be able to cope with three games in a week.
Wes Hoolahan is a major doubt for City today, with manager Glenn Roeder admitting his summer signing may not be able to cope with three games in a week.
The City boss believes it's a case of size does matter for the 5ft 7in midfielder, who will have to prove he has shaken off a midweek bug before he is considered for the trip to the Madejski Stadium.
Hoolahan's absence for the Watford game actually gives him an advantage, with Roeder concerned at his recovery time.
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"I have noticed he is a lot better in his performance when he's had a break, when he's had a rest," said Roeder. "I don't think he's a player that stands playing three times in a week. It is not his fault, it's just the way he's made.
"I have found with experience - because I have had this type of player before who is physically small - they tend to run their batteries down a lot quicker. Supporters don't have to worry about things like that, they are my problems, but I have noticed with physically small players if you are not careful you can give them too much training and they don't stand up to training as well as the physically bigger player.
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"It is not a case of treating everyone the same. Some players you have to man-manage more carefully. I'm getting to know Wes more and more all the time and I think he comes into that category."
Roeder has selection concerns in attack and Hoolahan could be a vital part of his line-up today, having hit form in recent games with a role just off main striker Leroy Lita. But Lita is ineligible against his parent club, Antoine Sibierski is injured and Jamie Cureton out on loan - which leaves out-of-favour Arturo Lupoli, makeshift striker, midfield man Darel Russell and new arrival Carl Cort, who lacks match fitness.
"Hoolahan was absolutely terrific on Sunday," said Roeder. "But I would not have been as confident, if sticking him out there on Wednesday, that you would have got anywhere near the same performance.
"With small players their batteries run down quicker and they take longer to recover.
"We'll see what shape he's in on the training ground, but I wouldn't say he's a certain starter on Saturday because of the virus that takes a lot out of you.
"He will have to prove to me he is fully recovered for him to be included in the starting line-up."