City travel to Milton Keynes for their Carling Cup 1st Round tie this evening knowing that, like themselves, the Dons will desperate to bounce back after an opening day defeat.
Roberto Di Matteo's men went down 2-0 at Leicester in their League One opener but despite the Walkers Stadium reverse, the Italian was pleased with the application shown by his players.
The Canaries will certainly be a different proposition but as far as the former Chelsea star is concerned, Saturday's contest showed that they can cope with being in with the big boys, even if they still have a little fine tuning to do yet.
“Leicester away on the opening day was always going to be tough for my players, but the overall performance was pleasing,” Di Matteo told the Dons' official website.
“I truly believed we had a good chance to draw the game in the second half but another small mistake cost us and once they got the second goal it was always going to be difficult. But we tried and I'm happy with the players.”
“At half-time I said we had to believe we could get a result here because it seemed we were waiting for things to happen. We were reacting rather than acting and I thought we needed to change that.”
It took a Matty Fryatt brace to kill off a spirited Dons side and with his second only coming in the 83rd minute, Di Matteo's League One newcomers were always in with a shout.
But Leicester (a) is about as tricky as it gets in the third tier and the rookie boss is confident that they can compete at this level, especially when he has added a few more faces to his squad by the time the transfer window slams shut on August 31.
“We still have a small squad so I am looking to make more signings,” continued the Swiss-born Italian.
“But this squad won League Two last season, and I'm sure they can be up there challenging again. We were a bit unfortunate and gave away two cheap goals on Saturday.
“But we were playing against one of the promotion favourites so it was a tough game for my players but they did well.”
In team news, Drissa Diallo and Danny Swailes are still sidelined with shoulder and achilles injuries respectively. In attack, Canadian international Ali Gerba is waiting for his move to be rubber-stamped before he can make his debut.
For the visitors, City boss Glenn Roeder has admitted there will be changes after Saturday's 2-0 defeat at the Ricoh Arena.
The squad is carrying a few bumps and bruises and with a crucial Carrow Road clash against Blackpool on the horizon, the Canary chief is not prepared to take any risks.
“From our supporters' point of view, there has to be changes because this group picked up knocks on Saturday,” Roeder said yesterday. “When they see the team, it will be the best we can get out.
“We want to have a long run in the competition. It is a very good competition to be involved in for as long as possible so it's not a case of resting players, it is a case that they are injured and they are not going to be available, although I think they will all be okay on Saturday.
“It will be an opportunity for a few players tomorrow to stake a claim for keeping their place in the team on Saturday and there will be a few players who didn't start last Saturday who could get a start tonight.”
One of those could be Adam Drury, who looks set for his first appearance in a City shirt since October 2007. Messrs Otsemobor, Pattison and Chadwick are also thought to be in the City boss' thoughts.
There was no chance that Roeder would be taking the competition lightly though, far from it. As far as he is concerned, there is a trophy there to be won…
“I think there is no doubt we are all allowed to do what we want, but there is definitely a group of managers that show a lot of disrespect – and by the way I don't mean Arsenal.
“There are other managers outside the top four that admit they don't play their best team and some come a cropper and some get away with it.
“I personally think you put out your best team every time, which we will do, but I am just warning our fans we have picked up injuries from Saturday and we are going to have three or four changes.”
Leave a Reply