Duffy could risk Smith in midfield

Jim Duffy admits he is taking a risk in including young midfielder Jimmy Smith in his squad for Burnley tonight. The 20-year-old has played less than two hours of reserve team football since damaging ankle ligaments on City's pre-season tour of Holland.

By CHRIS LAKEY

Jim Duffy admits he is taking a risk in including young midfielder Jimmy Smith in his squad for Burnley tonight.

The 20-year-old has played less than two hours of reserve team football since damaging ankle ligaments on City's pre-season tour of Holland.

But he could be thrown into the fray tonight as caretaker boss Duffy seeks to end City's horrendous run of six games without a Championship win.

Smith played 70 minutes for City reserves last Monday, but Duffy shied away from risking him for the weekend visit of Bristol City.

However, the City midfield struggled to hold their own and Duffy clearly has one eye on Smith's undoubted natural talents - even though his match fitness is a concern.

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“He's not quite ready yet to maybe be at his very best, but we are short of numbers in that respect,” said Duffy.

The alternative plan for Smith was an outing for the reserves at Carrow Road last night, but Duffy is hoping that extra training at Colney will be better than a run-out against Grays Athletic's second string.

“He is a young lad, he has good natural fitness, but with the tempo of the game you have to make sure you are ready for it,” he said.

“There is always going to be an element of risk when you bring players back from long term injuries and we want to give him the best opportunity possible. Suffice to say he is in the squad.”

It's a squad that will not include left-back Adam Drury, who suffered a leg injury on Saturday.

“We thought it was a knee injury, he got a block on the knee, but it was the second incident when he went to head the ball and his momentum carried him off the pitch, when he landed he jarred the back of the knee and the calf, so it is more the top end of the calf that has been damaged,” explained Duffy. “It is going to be a problem for him. We don't know how long he is going to be out but he will certainly not be available for tomorrow.”

Duffy will reveal his team selection to the players this morning, with the left back spot his biggest question, even though the choice is fairly straightforward: either Simon Lappin or Ian Murray. The case for Lappin is that he is a natural left-footer - and Murray admits he dislikes the position.

“We will work again today and do a light training session tomorrow morning up there and will assess everyone,” said Duffy. “Invariably when you have something in your head something else comes around the corner and bites you on the backside. We will make sure everyone is ready - especially when you are travelling a bit of distance, sometimes something pops up. In my mind of course I have the team I want to play.”

Dion Dublin (back) is definitely out, while Julien Brellier won't travel - he was due to play for the reserves last night.