McGreal still doubtful for Derby game

DOUBTS still remain over whether John McGreal will fill the centre-half role vacated by suspended Richard Naylor for Town's trip to Derby tomorrow.

DOUBTS still remain over whether John McGreal will fill the centre-half role vacated by suspended Richard Naylor for Town's trip to Derby tomorrow, writes Derek Davis.

Although McGreal completed a comfortable 90 minutes in the Blues reserves 5-1 win over Forest on Wednesday the defender is naturally reluctant to rush back to first-team action after being out for nearly 10 months.

Although Blues boss Joe Royle would like to have the 31-year-old in the line-up he last night promised not to push McGreal if the player did not feel ready.

He said: "John is tired and stiff after Wednesday and I will have to have a chat with him, Friday and Saturday. He is probably not quite ready and if he is not happy about playing he won't play, I won't press-gang him into it.


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"Hopefully he will at least travel with us and give us 20 minutes as a sub if required but we will see."

With Scott Mitchell jarring an ankle in the same game Royle's options have been further limited.

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He could still push Fabian Wilnis into the middle and use Jermaine Wright as right-back with either Antonio Murray or Matt Bloomfield going into midfield.

Centre-half Drissa Diallo was due to see a specialist yesterday while Gerard Nash is recovering from a twisted knee. Royle could even pull off a complete surprise, for example switching Alun Armstrong to a makeshift centre-back.

Tommy Miller, Ian Westlake and skipper Jim Magilton will complete the midfield with Chris Bart-Williams suspended.

Royle would not expand on his earlier comments to the EADT about the Charlton midfielder's future with the second month of his loan due to expire next week.

Town have an option for a third month but with the midfield not a problem just at the moment he could be sent back to the Valley although Town can still borrow him again later in the season for a month if they wanted.

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