Whilst it’s nice to know that Van der Vaart is ready to take on all-comers in Thessalonika, Kazan and Tallaght, it’s also good from an onlooker’s point of view to know that any hatchet men from the esteemed clubs representing those bits of geography won’t get the chance to ply their trade against one of our more delicate pieces of property. If you include Brighton then the Dutchman has already had to leave the pitch early through injury twice this season and we’re only halfway through September.
It seems he wasn’t consulted about the decision to leave him out, I’m sure he went through the right club protocols before he uploaded his version of events on to his website.
Redknapp will be looking for a winning side when he does pick his team to play on Thursday evening in Greece but it sounds like he’s going to employ a minimum risk policy. Given the random nature of Ledley’s appearances and Dawson’s Achilles problem, Kaboul and perhaps even Bassong have added themselves to the list of players we need to wrap in cotton wool before Sunday.
I’d be lying if I said I knew much about PAOK. A quick read of the UEFA website gleans that they have quite a cosmopolitan squad with a number of Brazilians, Croatians and Portuguese as well as shed loads of Greeks of course. Theo Zagorakis, who played against us for Leicester in the 1999 League Cup Final is a big cheese at the club. A few of their players will apparently be familiar to Harry from his Pompey days. The PAOK website doesn’t have much to say.
We can be reasonably certain of seeing Corluka, Livermore, Pav, Townsend, Cudicini and Giovani as well as big Tom and Rose (if fit in both cases) but apart from that it’s anyone’s guess. Limited alternatives mean that Bassong and Assou-Ekotto may also play. It’d be nice to think that Parrett and Bostock are capable of stepping up given the length of time they’ve been at the club and it’d be good to see Falque and Ceballos too.
If you play a weakened team by definition you get a weakened performance. If the Greeks take the competition more seriously than we appear to be doing then we can expect a rough and tough evening I suspect with a draw being a good result.
Have something to tell us about this article?