Last updated : 19 January 2003 By Editor

He adds:

"The scenario that could happen soon is that opponents who've not had the injuries we've had, and who have called upon a smaller squad week in, week out, will get to a stage of the season where it catches up on them.

"That won't hamper us. You look at Nicky Butt and Roy Keane and they've not played too much football. There is no point now where they'll be needing a rest. They'll be fresh until the end of the season to drive us on.

"To have that freshness in a key midfield area, where most of the running is done, will be vital for us.

"It is a great thing to have up our sleeve. I look at the programme we have from now until mid-May and, assuming we progress in various competitions, there is only one spare week between now and the end of the season.

"There are a lot of games on the calendar but that shouldn't take its toll on us."

"We've gone through the period where we've been down to the bare bones and the manager could only pick the same team because there was nobody else to play.

"He would have rested players if it had been possible - but he didn't have the choice. I think it is fair to say that, before Christmas, the team that had played the previous ten matches were looking a bit jaded.

"But with so many players coming back, and with much less football behind them, there is definitely a freshness to the team. You saw that at the Hawthorns last Saturday. It was that freshness that helped blow away West Brom.

"There will be times from now on when the players who didn't play in that period before Christmas will pull us through. That is what having a big squad is all about."