Date:Saturday January 31 2009
Zaki was in jured in a strong tackle in the first half on Wednesday,( one that strangly Mr Benitez omitted to mention).He played on but according to his official website, the injury is serious enough to prevent him playing today.
Steve Bruce must now decide to play want away Henri Camara or go with new signing Hugo Rodellaga, whose cameo on Wednesday promises great things for the future. Bruce though is quoted as saying Hugo will need time to settle and therefore has a dilemma as to whom to start with.
Another selection headache is on both wings.
Neither Taylor or De Ridder covered themselves in glory on Wednesday night and with Taylor seemingly on his way to Tyneside to join Newcastle, it would appear the left wing choice is between the unsettled Kapo and the brilliant but unpredictable Koumas.
With the lack of alternatives on the right wing, it seems that Bruce must bite the bullet and go with De Ridder.
Central midfield is another area of concern, with the willing Brown up against new signing Ben Watson. Brown won the nod on Wednesday night but lacks the creativity and drive forward of his predecessor Palacios and at 31 also lacks the pace needed for such a game.
Watson however has been out injured since early January and this game may be too soon as he strives for match fitness.
In centre of defence the return from suspension of Bramble creates a welcome headache for Steve Bruce. Bramble who has been superb this season, was replaced on Wednesday by Boyce who was absolutely superb against Liverpool and to drop him to the bench for Bramble would be cruel.
With Scharner being a shoe in for the other centre back spot, Bruce has to make a tough decision.
Between the posts Bruce has to assess whether Kirkland's back has recovered sufficiently to replace Pollitt between the sticks. Pollitt, who had a poor first half against Liverpool but a better second is reliable but not as good as Kirkland. Chris' well documented back problems however, means he will always be a risk fitness wise.
Date:Saturday January 31 2009
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