WANDERERS will face Liverpool this afternoon with just 15 fit first team players after Stuart Holden pulled out of the squad yesterday.
Owen Coyle is down to the bare bones for the trip to Anfield, with nine regulars missing through suspension, injury or unavailability.
US international Holden became the latest absentee, suffering the after effects of a knock on his thigh sustained in the 1-0 defeat at Chelsea in midweek.
“I would be very surprised if he was available to play,” Coyle said. “He took a bang against Chelsea and we took him off late in the game, and at this moment there is very little, if any, movement. If Stuart misses out, he misses out. I don’t want to give out headlines but at this moment in time I expect to name 15 players for the game against Liverpool.
“Gretar Steinsson’s knee has improved but will struggle to make it, Paul Robinson picked up his fifth yellow card against Chelsea, I have given Tamir Cohen as much time as he needs in a difficult time for him and his family, and Chung-Yong Lee is at the Asian Games.”
Coyle was putting on a brave face yesterday, insisting his side were still more than capable of earning a result that would ensure they started 2011 in the top six of the Premier League.
“I think we’ll have 15 but we only need 11 on the pitch anyway,” he quipped. “I’m not worried. We’re in the same situation as any other football club.
“We’re short on numbers but we have got players hungry to do well for this club and I know that come the game they will give me everything they’ve got and I can’t ask for any more than that.
“Where it brings us at the end of 90 minutes I can’t say. Time will tell, but we’ll be going there on the front foot and looking to win a very difficult game.”
But while times are tough, Coyle was at least able to joke about the idea of lacing up his own boots one last time.
“We’re a million miles from that,” he added.
“But as much as we’re short on numbers, we have got the quality if we play to our absolute maximum to go there and get a result.”