Paul Jewell must decide whether to shuffle his limited pack for Capital One Cup clash
HIS options might be limited but Paul Jewell could still shuffle his pack for tonight’s cup tie at Carlisle.
The Blues travelled with only 19 players for their six-day trip to the north, Byron Lawrence the only person not to get kitted out against Blackpool.
Jewell will weigh up how his side is feeling, both physically and mentally, following the weekend before deciding on the best course of action.
He might be minded to return to a 4-4-2 formation, like he did in the previous round against Bristol Rovers, with Jason Scotland returning to partner Michael Chopra.
That would likely see Lee Martin go out wide and either Josh Carson or Jay Emmanuel-Thomas on the other flank.
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Jewell might also consider throwing Andy Drury in the heart of his midfield if he feels one of his young duo, Massimo Luongo or Luke Hyam, are in need of a rest. Luongo has been substituted in two of the three league matches thus far and it might be that Jewell turns to Drury, who started on the right-hand-side against Blackpool. Ryan Stevenson is another option.
There is also a dilemma in the heart of the defence with Tommy Smith making two high-profile mistakes in recent games. Damien Delaney will be itching to show Jewell he still has a big role to play this season.
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Jewell has vowed to play his strongest side, but it might be that he views giving one or two of his fringe players a chance as the best way of progressing in the competition.
Jewell said: “We will give Carlisle the utmost respect. We have scouted them twice – once since the draw and then on Saturday (when they won 4-2 against Portsmouth).
“We can’t do anything about Blackpool. We can learn about it, you learn about certain individuals, but we’ve got to move on.”
The right result tonight would book Town’s place in the third round of the competition with the hope of a glamour clash against a Premier League big-boy in the offing.
But more importantly, it would act as a massive morale-booster, following the disaster at Bloomfield Road and ahead of Jordan Rhodes’ much-anticipated return to Portman Road with Huddersfield on Saturday.
Yet another heavy defeat – the 21st time Town have conceded three or more goals in Jewell’s 19 months in charge – has led some supporters to once again question the direction the club is going.
But Michael Chopra, who should lead the line tonight in what will be Jewell’s strongest side, insisted: “It doesn’t matter if people tip you or not, it’s down to the players.
“Outsiders will have their own opinion, but we’ve got our own opinion as players. We know what we want to achieve and we’ll try our best to do that.”