Smith likely to fill in for injured Otsemobor
Paul Lambert will have to shuffle his pack tonight after one of the gaping holes in his squad was exposed. Jon Otsemobor is out after picking up a hamstring injury at Gillingham on Saturday - and with no other dedicated right-back available, Lambert has to rob Peter to pay Paul.
Paul Lambert will have to shuffle his pack tonight after one of the gaping holes in his squad was exposed.
Jon Otsemobor is out after picking up a hamstring injury at Gillingham on Saturday - and with no other dedicated right-back available, Lambert has to rob Peter to pay Paul.
Korey Smith slotted in on Saturday, having already been shifted from his central midfield role to do a job on the right flank.
Another midfielder, weekend goal hero Darel Russell, has played right back before, but once again it simply leaves another hole to fill.
“That's what happened on Saturday,” said Lambert. “Young Korey, when we had to go to the four he went wide and then we had to put him back to full-back.
“You're asking someone who's 18 years of age to go and do it, but fair play to him, he was excellent. He has done brilliant - all you do is you give him a chance and the rest he does himself. He has been excellent.”
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Assuming Smith goes into defence again it leaves in midfield Russell and Stephen Hughes, whose return as a sub on Saturday was a welcome boost, although Lambert clearly has concerns over his fitness.
“All you can do is get the best out of him at the minute because he hadn't trained much and hasn't had that much of a pre-season, let alone anything else, so even him coming in on Saturday was great,” he said.
With Owain Tudur Jones and Matt Gill still in the treatment room - “they're slowly but surely getting there,” said Lambert - perhaps the only remaining centre midfield option is Tom Adeyemi, who is waiting in the wings for a start.
Lambert admits it's now a case of wait and see with Otsemobor.
“He's a strong lad so we just have to hope his hamstring's going to be okay,” he said.
“There's not many (right backs). People think the squad is big - it's not. It's nowhere near big enough to what it should be.”
Without Otsemobor the only player in the side with genuine pace is young Luke Daley, who was the sacrificial lamb on Saturday after goalkeeper Fraser Forster was sent off.
“He was unfortunate, but somebody has to sacrificed and we thought that was the right choice,” said Lambert.
“I know we have to get pace in the team, and that's not changed. Luke's in it because he has got pace, young legs about him as well.
“Jon has got pace at the back as well.
“When you don't have pace in the team you have got to get it, you have got to get young legs to get you about the pitch.”