BIRCHALL AND DAWSON NEWS, PLUS PREVIEWS
ALEX WILL FIGHT FOR START SPOT
Evening Post, 19 August 2005
Alex John-Baptiste is available after a three-match suspension - but may have to settle for a place on the bench tomorrow.
Jake Buxton made his first start of the season at centre back in Saturday's 3-0 win against Torquay and manager Carlton Palmer says he will start again tomorrow, alongside Rhys Day.
Palmer says he's so pleased with Day that he hopes to be able to offer him a new contract at the end of the year.
"They both played superbly on Saturday and it'd be unfair to leave either out," he said. "Jake will play at Peterborough on merit.
"Alex John-Baptiste is an excellent football player but Jake didn't deserve to be left out of the side before Saturday and I just wouldn't do that to the kid this Saturday.
"What Jake has to do now is find consistency. He can't have three good games and a bad one."
Palmer added: "I put on Rhys a lot last season and during the summer about his fitness. He has worked really hard, coming in almost every day during the summer, and there is no better central defender in our division right now.
"He has got to continue that way now and, if he does, we will sit down at Christmas and I'll offer him a new contract."
Palmer added that John-Baptiste's best hope for a starting place is if he decides to use three centre backs.
Palmer (groin) and Jon-Olav Hjelde (dead leg) missed the win against Torquay while Day (bruised foot) and Adam Rundle (groin) have been receiving treatment.
All four are expected to be available for selection tomorrow, while Palmer will assess the fitness of midfielder Stephen Dawson and Adam Birchall after their midweek international appearances.
Birchall earned his tenth cap for Wales at under-21 level as they beat Malta under-21s 3-1 at Llanelli on Tuesday night and played for 66 minutes.
Dawson came on at half-time to help Republic of Ireland under-21s come back from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw against Northern Ireland under-21s at Mourneview Park.
Dawson let fly with his first touch in the opening minute of the second half, but keeper McGovern beat away his fierce drive.
"A lot of these under-21 squads can be players who are Premiership reserves," said Palmer.
"But when they select players from lower division clubs they need to understand these are very important players for their clubs and, particularly in friendlies, should be used sensibly.
"As someone who played a lot of international football, it is hard when you come back from midweek duty to play on a Saturday.
"It's the same with clubs who play in Europe. They often have a Euro hangover the following Saturday.
"But I would never deny them the chance to play for their countries. They have come here to progress and hopefully we can all achieve what we want to achieve collectively and individually."
Palmer, who expects Peterborough to start with three centre backs tomorrow, is looking forward to locking horns with opposing manager Mark Wright tomorrow.
"Mark Wright is a good friend of mine and a former England colleague who I have known for a long time," he said.
"He took Chester from non-league back into the league, which is one of the hardest things to do.
"There are not many managers in the lower divisions who have had the success he has and I am sure he is on the verge of a better job in a higher division.
"He knows what it takes to win games in these leagues and win a championship. So I know his side will be organised and disciplined."
Palmer has not confirmed if he will start with his favoured 4-3-3 formation.
"I am loathe to disrupt things too much but I am not afraid to switch formations or drop players if I think it will help us win a particular match.
"I have already had a chat with my old boss, Ron Atkinson, about it.
"Just because we won on Saturday, some people will say it was because 4-4-2 worked better than 4-3-3.
"I don't agree. I think the 4-3-3 worked well too but we didn't get the breaks."
Stags wait on Birchall fatigue
CHAD website, 18 August 2005
CARLTON Palmer is concerned fatigue may affect striker-cum-midfielder Adam Birchall ahead of Saturday's mouthwatering trip to Peterborough United (3pm).
Birchall completed a full 90 minutes for the Welsh U21s on Tuesday night which was his fourth game in 11 days and Palmer said: "Even though he is very fit, Adam has got to be tired after that.
"We have five games in 14 days coming up and, with that in mind, I will be having a chat with Adam tomorrow and see how he feels."
However, if Birchall is declared fit and ready to go, Palmer will stick with the same side and 4-4-2 formation that saw off Torquay United 3-0 last weekend.
That would mean no place for hot teenage prospect Alex John-Baptiste who has just completed a three-game ban.
"Alex wants to play but I couldn't leave Rhys Day or Jake Buxton out," said Palmer.
"They've got the shirts now and it's up to them to keep them."
The same goes for Palmer himself and central defender Jon Olav Hjelde who have both shaken off injuries this week to rejoin the squad.
With Day recovering from a bruised foot and Adam Rundle successfully treated for a slight groin strain, Palmer will have a fully fit squad for the Peterborough trip.
"It is a nice headache to have as a manager when your only problem is keeping players happy who want to get in your team," he said.
"Peterborough is going to be a tough game as they are a physical side. We have to stand up to them.
"We will out-play them - that's for sure - but we mustn't let them out-bully us. And we have to be alert on set pieces. If we do that and pass the ball as well as we did last weekend then I can see us winning the game.
"We will go 4-4-2 but have a contingency plan if their formation causes us problems.
"I am looking foward to seeing Mark Wright who has been a big friend of mine since our England days. He is a great lad and a good manager."
Like Stags, Posh finally won at the third attempt last weekend with a superb 3-2 away success at fancied Bristol Rovers.
Meanwhile Stephen Dawson came on as a sub at half-time in Republic of Ireland U21's 2-2 draw with Northern Ireland.
Peterborough United Official Site
Wright Has Selection Poser Ahead Of Stags Clash
Peterborough United boss Mark Wright has a selection dilemma ahead of Saturday's meeting with Mansfield Town at London Road (3pm) as defenders Peter Kennedy and Dean Holden are both suspended following their dismissal's at Carlisle United and Bristol Rovers respectively.
Kennedy is serving the second of a three-match ban while Holden begins his suspension following his red-card at the Memorial Stadium last weekend. Wright, who confirmed the pair will be 'dealt with internally' has a number of options at his disposal for the clash with Carlton Palmer's Mansfield side on Saturday.
'We have got Jamie Day, Sean St. Ledger, Adam Newton is back and we have three strikers who are all desperate to come into the side, so we have a number of options. We are not struggling. It is just disappointing when you have two players out through stupidity. That is not acceptable and they will be dealt with internally. It is the only way to deal with retaliation. I won't discipline anyone for showing commitment, but I will for retaliation.
'When you have Shane Huke and Calum Willock out, it is not good to lose players through retaliation. We need everyone available for selection. We have a few headaches, but we can cope with it for this weekend's game,' Wright told theposh.com.
The Posh boss also admitted that he was still on the lookout for a loan signing, but wouldn't be rushed into making an impulse addition to the squad. 'If we can get someone in today then that would be great, but if nothing happens on Thursday then nothing will happen before the weekend because we need players to train a whole day with us before we even contemplate signing them. They have to fit into our pattern of play,' Wright added.
Defenders Mark Arber and Sagi Burton, who were both doubtful ahead of the trip to Bristol Rovers, are both available this weekend. Northern Ireland international James Quinn returns to London Road on Thursday evening after representing his country in a 1-1 draw against Malta on Wednesday evening.
Posh: Tyler, Harrison, St. Ledger, Arber, Plummer, Burton, Day, Farrell, Newton, Gain, Carden, Boucaud, Fry, Logan, Benjamin, Quinn, Crow, Semple, McShane.
Latest | August 2005