On the comeback trail again: Kone will line up against Krasnodar on Thursday.
The 31 year-old had to undergo surgery to repair the meniscus in his knee in November last year and has been out of the first-team picture ever since during what has been an unexpectedly long recovery.
Following months of patient work in the gym at Finch Farm and a facility in Belgium, he was due to play a part in the League Cup tie at Swansea in September but that comeback was aborted when he felt pain in the knee.
Now, having come through his latest test in the U21s' 3-2 win over Sunderland last Monday, he will make his first appearance for the senior team in the Group H dead rubber against the Russian side according to manager Roberto Martinez.
With the Blues and Wolfsburg having already sealed qualification to the knockout phase, Thursday's match is meaningless and, in addition to the Ivorian, Martinez is expected to take the opportunity to field some of his lesser-used players.
Bryan Oviedo is another candidate to feature after playing and scoring alongside Kone for the U21s, while the likes of Joel Robles, Luke Garbutt and Tyias Browning will also be hoping for game time.
Reader Comments (15)
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1 Posted 05/12/2014 at 23:07:47
2 Posted 06/12/2014 at 12:14:52
4 Posted 07/12/2014 at 15:07:51
Kenny Browning Alcaraz Garbutt
Atsu Barkley Oviedo
Perhaps Kenny may not be the best right-back; I think Gethin Jones has been playing there for U21s.
An interesting team I think. With some pace and power spread around.
5 Posted 07/12/2014 at 15:16:52
6 Posted 07/12/2014 at 15:22:46
I would also like McAleny to be given a run-about at some point. At the same time, Martinez will be conscious of giving the competition and the opposition some respect, so I doubt that we will see Kenny and Ledson as starters.
Hibbert Browning Alcaraz Garbutt
McGeady Barkley Oviedo
Subs: Howard, Osman, Jagielka, McAleney, Ledson, Atsu, Eto'o.
7 Posted 07/12/2014 at 15:13:43
At the moment, I think Browning looks more like a right-back than a centre-back; he looked very shaky recently against Sunderland's U21s Â– not anywhere near the same player we saw playing against the Redshite. I think he might mature into a centre-back eventually... but doesn't look ready, currently.
I would like to see Galloway start alongside Alcaraz; it will be good fitness rehabilitation for Alcaraz and he can use his experience to guide Galloway through the game, like he did with Stones last season.
This would also be the perfect opportunity for McAleny to get some game time; I would play him alongside Kone:
Browning Galloway Alcaraz Garbutt
Astu Ledson Barry Oviedo
8 Posted 07/12/2014 at 17:27:41
9 Posted 07/12/2014 at 21:33:31
I would like to see Robles, Hibbert, Garbutt, Alcaraz and Jagielka as the back four; Besic and Oviedo forming the defensive midfield; McGeady, Barkley, Kone, and Atsu up front; with Howard, Coleman, Galloway, Osman, Pienaar, Lukaku and McAleny on the bench.
10 Posted 08/12/2014 at 00:20:30
11 Posted 08/12/2014 at 00:40:00
12 Posted 08/12/2014 at 01:19:05
The red/blue-birds fella would be a lovely New Year gift.
ThursdayÂs team (assuming a few are fit):
Robies - Jones - Jagielka - Browning - Garbutt - Besic - Oveido - Atsu - Barkley - Kone - Long
Bobby seemingly does not do flexibility and I have a hunch that we might see more ÂseniorÂ players than we might think. He has shown a somewhat surprising cautious streak this season that I for one did not expect.
Mark Frere picks Barry! I wouldnÂt be sad if he never played for us again. Luckily he is banned for the QPR game but if Bobby had true balls he would drop Barry and Baines for the RÂs game and, if Robies does well v the Ruskkis, he should start against HarryÂs boys.
None of these three things will happen, I suspect!
13 Posted 08/12/2014 at 03:40:15
Anyway, I think that we should be giving our fringe players a go without upsetting team structure too much. If we throw in too many new players (aka the "Moyes League Cup selection option") then the team is disjointed and it is not a fair reflection on the new players.
So, my preference would be:-
Browning Hibbert Alcaraz Garbutt
Astu Barkley McGeady
Subs: Howard, Osman, Pienaar, Jagielka, McAleny, Ledson, Eto'o.
14 Posted 08/12/2014 at 04:44:56
15 Posted 08/12/2014 at 16:54:55
16 Posted 09/12/2014 at 12:04:03
If we donÂt see Robles on Thursday, then weÂd better loan him out in January and begin the process of scouting our new Âkeeper in earnest. John Ruddy? Michel Vorm? Both were hot shit for awhile.
Hibbert Browning Alcaraz Garbutt
Atsu Pienaar Barry Oviedo
And PLEASE let Kone get through unscathed.
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