Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Mac Set to Ring the Changes

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Mac Set to Ring the Changes

Article excerpt

Byline: Philip Tallentire

Steve McClaren is threatening to ring the changes at Birmingham tonight in a bid to avoid Carling Cup burnout.

The Boro boss will set sentiment aside as he plots a smash-and-grab raid at St Andrews in the re-arranged Premiership showdown (ko 7.45pm).

A number of key players are expected to be rested as the manager makes full use of his resources.

Those drafted into the 16 will include some, if not all, of the five players who were unable to win a place on the bench for Sunday's historic Carling Cup victory.

The likes of Szilard Nemeth, Jon Greening, Colin Cooper and Stuart Parnaby will be asked to swop their Cardiff cup final suits for more traditional matchday attire as McClaren seeks to avoid a repeat of the last time his players suffered a cup hangover.

Asked if he planned to make changes, he answered: "Definitely. We didn't change the team after we beat Arsenal in the semi-final and we failed to perform in the next game against Blackburn.

"Football is a squad game and we plan to make use of all our players."

McClaren admitted finding it tough to break the news to the unlucky squad men who weren't required at Cardiff.

He said: "The hardest thing about Sunday wasn't deciding the starting 11 or naming the bench, it was telling the five players who'd travelled they were not going to be involved.

"The disappointment on those players' faces was just awful to see. But they all have a part to play this season," he added. "We will freshen up the team tonight.

"In football things move quickly. It was a fantastic day on Sunday and a great occasion and a great game which I thought we thoroughly deserved to win. It was a day for the chairman and the fans - they can celebrate for weeks.

"But for the management and the players, we must set it aside for the time being. …

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