Striking Options

Saturday 22 September 2012 08:00

Martin Jol welcomes two of his most attacking weapons back to the matchday squad for the trip to Wigan Athletic on Saturday (3pm) as both Bryan Ruiz and Mladen Petric return from injury.

“The biggest problem we had last week is now, hopefully, better,” he explained. “Ruiz and Petric are back.

“Against West Bromwich Albion, Dimitar Berbatov showed me that he can play in a different role, behind Hugo Rodallega for example. Necessity is the mother of invention so it was a challenge last week but I think it gave me a few answers. I think we will manage.

“There was a lot of optimism after the game with Chris Baird so hopefully he can maintain that sort of form. He’s capable of playing in that position.

“Up front, of course we’ve got the quality but in midfield we lost five players, plus Mahamadou Diarra now, so we have to work hard and we have to try to do something on the training pitch to prepare well, maybe even better than before.

“We are still looking, maybe there is another Diarra in the market because sometimes you could do something outside of the transfer window.”

The Whites go into the game at the DW Stadium still looking for a first away win of the season, and Jol admitted it is an area he is looking to address.

“We know we have to improve on our away form,” our Manager said. “We won four times away from home last season so if we can get five or six [away wins] – and that is not a big difference – then we will be in the top seven or the top eight.

“But my team is different now – we have to build again. Hopefully we can do that with the likes of Petric and Berbatov. Hopefully Berbatov can come up with something, and even Steve Sidwell, who didn’t score a lot of goals, has scored two goals in the last couple of weeks.

“Hopefully he can do the same as he did when I started to know him at Reading. He was always likely to score six or seven goals – he was a real box-to-box player. So the goals have to come from other areas as you have to score at least 50 goals to do well in this league.”