Tony Mowbray has expressed concerns his Coventry City team could “get battered” by Sheffield United if he selects an inexperienced starting eleven at the Ricoh Arena tomorrow.
With City’s hopes of reaching the play-offs over following a disappointing sequence of results, the former West Bromwich Albion and Celtic manager is facing calls to award several under-21 players an opportunity to impress against Nigel Adkins’ side.
But, fearing a physical mismatch, Mowbray admitted yesterday: “I have had that discussion among the staff and I’d like to but at the same time I am very mindful that our supporters don’t want us to put a team of kids out there and get battered by a big and strong manly team like Sheffield United who are still striving to get to the play-offs.
“We have a responsibility to ourselves but also other clubs striving to achieve things this year. If we think someone is ready we’ll do it and give them an opportunity but if we think they would struggle with the physical demands of one of the biggest clubs in this league, I am not sure it’s the right thing to do.
“They are the same sort of team as Millwall and Bradford, big strong powerful teams. And yet this weekend I think there’s a dilemma.”
Nevertheless, as United attempt to overhaul the four point gap separating them from sixth-place, Mowbray’s hand could be forced by an injury crisis which threatens to rob him of several key performers.
“I think we have to compete to try to win this football match and then if we maybe put some young players on the bench and see how the game is going and maybe give them an opportunity,” he added. “But, first and foremost, we have a responsibility to go and win the football match. We’ll look at it and if some senior players get left out for some younger ones on the bench that’s okay.”