Norwich City boss Alex Neil faces selection poser for Bournemouth visit
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Alex Neil does not share Sam Allardyce’s concerns a congested Premier League spell is putting the health of his Norwich City players at risk.
City’s league trip to Bournemouth this weekend will cap a run of six games in 28 days, a schedule which prompted Allardyce to claim top flight talent is being ‘flogged’ and the injury risk is now reaching dangerous levels.
Neil rested many of his key players for last week’s FA Cup third round exit to Manchester City, but the Scot must make at least one enforced change for the Cherries’ trip following Gary O’Neil’s red card at Stoke.
The likes of Youssouf Mulumbu and Graham Dorrans are potential central midfield options for Neil, who insists he has the squad depth to cope with both injuries and suspensions.
“If you look at the injury situation the only one we have had out for any length of time was Matt Jarvis and that was a contact injury,” he said. “I did see those comments but it is not as if it’s different this year to any other.
“The Christmas period is always jam-packed for football players but that is why you have a squad of 20 to 25 players, not 15. It is down to me as a manager to rotate and put players in.
“The one thing I am comfortable with is I feel I have 22 players I can put into the team at any given time and be competitive. The problem at times, perhaps, is we don’t have competition in a certain part of the squad so players need to play pretty much all the games and, for them, it can be a testing time but that is why we are trying to strengthen certain areas.”
Neil’s FA Cup rotation policy was designed to handle this week’s Premier League workload after a hectic festive spell.
“During the Christmas period we rotated as much as we could and the fact we have three big games now in a week means you have to utilise the squad,” he said.
“Irrespective of whether it was a cup game or not you would have concerns about three matches in a week because for the lads to play at their peak for three in a week, at this level with the intensity, is tough.”