Date: 20th January 2006 at 6:57pm
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Blues squad for the most important game since Darren Carter?s penalty hit the back of the Millennium stadium net will not include Nicky Butt, Jamie Clapham, Mehti Nafti or any debutants. Chris Sutton will be the lone newcomer having taken his bow last week in the defeat at Charlton Athletic.

Butt, omitted from the last two games, has now developed some kind of injury which will keep him out at least until the transfer window shuts. This is probably making Bruce?s foray into the transfer market more difficult than it already is. Butt cannot be used as a player or moved off the wage bill. Any player worth having will want at least as much as Butt is getting. This is the dilemma. Wouldn?t a player who saves us from relegation be worth as much as one who is out of action, and missed 50% of the season already.

Heskey?s knee was just a bit of a smoke screen in the Euell saga. He would push Butt further own the pecking order and as Tuesday showed there is cover for Heskey even if it is not quite firing on all cylinders.

Brucie is talking to two players this week and a win against Portsmouth will surely ease transfer negotiations. Assuming the incomers are Cup tied then he has another 11 days before the visit to Liverpool and the transfer window ends.

With the Bolton game brought into February the squad will have to be complete and firing as Arsenal are sandwiched between the two Lancashire European hopefuls.