Roeder hopes break will do some good

Chris Lakey Glenn Roeder will use a timely break from Championship action to instil new life into his squad - and keep his fingers crossed that the injury rehabilitation of key players goes to plan.

Chris Lakey

Glenn Roeder will use a timely break from Championship action to instil new life into his squad - and keep his fingers crossed that the injury rehabilitation of key players goes to plan.

City were forced to field four full-backs across their back line - and then lost right-back Jon Otsemobor to ankle ligament damage.

But Sammy Clingan was able to return after a month out, David Bell finally made his debut, and Roeder expects John Kennedy and Gary Doherty to be there or thereabouts when City resume their programme at Bristol City on October 18.

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If he gets his wish it will be a welcome relief for Roeder, who desperately needs to get the frailties of his squad ironed out before City get sucked into yet another relegation battle after Saturday's defeat by Derby.

"We have to work on playing quickly again, making sure we use our wide players as often as we can and we have got to make sure the quality of our crossing is better and we have to get players going in on those crosses because although we have scored today we have scored from a penalty - we haven't scored again from open play," said Roeder.

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City came back into the game after Clingan's equaliser from the spot early in the second half.

"We had them on the rack at that stage, but we were playing quickly then, we were sliding the ball to each other quickly, we were getting the ball wide, crosses were coming in and we had them right on the back foot - and then we started slowing the game down," said Roeder.

"We were trying to get the message on to the players and one particular player who was coming to get the ball off the back four, and he was bouncing the ball back to where the ball came from and he just slowed the whole game down for us.

"And of course, even though they are down to 10 men it then becomes easy for them to play against us because they get bodies back behind the ball and then when we do eventually try to go forward we are trying to thread the ball through the eye of a needle and that was very disappointing, but for 10 minutes or so we had them right on the hook and we have let them off."

Loan signing Leroy Lita had an opportunity to level it after Derby's late goal put them 2-1 up, but poked a shot wide of the far post.

"By his standards that was a good chance," said Roeder. "I think had he played a little bit more first team football this year I think he would have been a bit sharper on to that and slid that one in, but unfortunately for us he missed it.

"But I thought I saw enough of him to know there is a lot to work with over the next few weeks and I am sure he will move on in a forward direction when we play Bristol City in a couple of weeks because we only had him in on Friday - it was the first time we saw him."

Adam Drury was drafted in at centre-back alongside Elliott Omozusi, with Ryan Bertrand back to his left back slot, and although Rob Hulse was left unmarked to head Derby's opener, Roeder was full of praise for his middle men.

"I thought he (Drury) was fantastic, I thought both centre-backs were terrific," he said.

"The goalkeeper last week at Barnsley had to make a lot of good saves for us to dig a point out, but it is another game this year where the goalkeeper has had basically nothing to do other than pick the ball out of the back of the net twice and a lot of that was down to how well both Adam and Elliott played."

The appearance of Bell for the first time since his move from Luton in the summer was a positive, as was Clingan's performance - although the least surprising news of the afternoon was when Roeder said the midfielder would not be joining Northern Ireland for their internationals in Slovenia and then at home to San Marino.

"Unfortunately for him the shoulder he has tweaked again," said Roeder.

It was skipper Mark Fotheringham who was axed to make way for Clingan.

"I didn't think he had been at his best lately and I have to say that him being the professional that he is - and he is a terrific professional - when he was told he wasn't starting he accepted the decision and admitted he hadn't been at his best and it was up to him to fight his way back into the team," Roeder said.

"I think Sammy Clingan came in and did particularly well."

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