PAUL Linwood’s one-match ban has opened up a window of opportunity for one Chester City player at Bury tomorrow.
Blues boss Bobby Williamson has named the same starting XI for the last four matches, but he must shuffle his pack at Gigg Lane to compensate for the loss of Linwood, who was sent off against Morecambe last Friday.
Phil Bolland, Kevin Roberts and Kevin Sandwith are the leading contenders to partner Paul Butler at the heart of City’s defence and Williamson is challenging whoever gets the nod to make the most of their chance to impress.
He said: ‘Somebody’s got an opportunity to fill the breach and it’s up to that person to stake a claim and show me he’s capable of keeping Paul out of the team. If he does that, I’ll be delighted. Disappointed for Paul, but delighted.
‘Kevin Roberts is one we could call upon, Phil Bolland’s another. Sandwith’s another so we’ve got options and I’ll decide soon who merits it.’
Bolland has so far failed to even make the bench for a first-team game this season, while Sandwith’s only appearance was as an 83rd-minute substitute at Rochdale last month. Roberts has featured more regularly, but Williamson prefers to play him in midfield as he is not convinced the 18-year-old is tall enough to play in the centre of defence.
‘Kevin feels that centre-half is his best position but I’m not sure,’ said the City manager. ‘I’m not sure Kevin’s got the stature. He competes well, he’s got a great leap but I’m talking about the physique you need to play centre-back in this division.
‘There’s a lot of big strikers and it doesn’t matter how strong you are, if you’ve not got that stature it could be difficult.’
Williamson expects to see a positive response from his players at Bury following last Friday’s setback against Morecambe – City’s first league defeat of the season.
The Scotsman said: ‘It’s about bouncing back and hopefully we can do that because it will tell me a lot about the players.
‘You’re learning every day. We’ve not been together very long and every game’s a learning process.
‘I’ll learn more about them on Saturday and I’m hoping we get a favourable result.’
Bury are low on confidence having picked up just one point from their last four league matches.
Boss Chris Casper could be ready to reinstate striker Glynn Hurst, who missed last Saturday’s defeat at Chesterfield through illness, and may be willing to bring in former Aston Villa full-back Alan Wright, who has been training with the club this week.