Fabricio Coloccini is rated as ‘doubtful’ by manager Alan Pardew as he prepares his side for an FA Cup 4th Round encounter against Brighton.
Our Argentinian Captain is carrying a groin strain and will undergo tests before it’s decided whether he’ll play at the Amex Stadium tomorrow evening, although personally if there is any doubt I’d prefer him to be left out.
Which is a problem as we have nobody to replace him with which, in turn, could put our FA Cup participation in jeopardy. To counter that, if we play and he aggravates the injury further we could be without him for a run of league games, which would pose a serious risk to our decent season and our chance of chasing a European place.
Put simply we need a defender and we need one before the end of the window. According to the local hacks we’ve tabled a take it or leave it offer to Watford for Adrian Mariappa which would offer us cover, but it would be cover that is untested at Premier League level, or indeed at any top level.
Of course it’s going to be hard to balance. We need defenders, but we also need to consider what is going to happen when Steven Taylor returns. It’s all well and good getting an international centre-back through the doors, but once everyone is fit again I very much doubt any of them will be happy sitting on the bench.
The counter-argument is of course squad depth, but I don’t think we are in a position to be able to keep international players on the bench for too long. We don’t have European competition to offer like other clubs do for example, and will an international player like Jan Vertonghen for example, be happy to fill in for injuries? Or will our current centre-backs be happy to take a back seat for a new player?
As I said, it’s a balancing act, but it’s one that needs to be balanced pretty damn soon. We have just four days of the transfer window remaining or else we’re going to have to cross our fingers for the rest of the season and hope we don’t pick up any injuries in defence.
It would be a shame to see our bright first half of the season fade away because of a lack of defensive options but I can see it happening if we fail to bring in a defender. Bringing in Papiss Demba Cisse is all well and good, but it won’t matter if we have nothing at the other end to stop the goals being conceded.
As ever, time will tell…