Irvine: Fight to win your places back

MANAGERS are paid to make tough choices - a fact that is not lost on Alan Irvine.

The Sheffield Wednesday boss opted to leave out three of his senior players in the superb 3-0 FA Cup third round triumph at Bristol City.

Irvine handed new boys Reda Johnson and Michael Morrison their debuts at Ashton Gate. Benin international Johnson was preferred to Mark Beevers at centre-half while Morrison replaced the injured Jon Otsemobor at right-back.

Jermaine Johnson, out of contract in the summer, dropped to the substitutes' bench at the expense of Chris Sedgwick and Daniel Jones stepped in for Tommy Spurr at left-back.

Now Irvine is challenging Beevers, Johnson and Spurr to react in a positive fashion on the training ground following their omissions from the starting line-up.

He told The Star: "It is never easy selecting a team. I can only pick 11 players so you have to leave players out.

"Some are left disappointed but it is how they repond that is the most important thing.

"There are two ways to respond as a player; to sulk or to roll up their sleeves and try to do better. That has got to be the response from everybody.

"I would expect all three of them to realise competition is good for the squad and the club. As a footballer, you have to be prepared to compete for your place.

"When you get your chance, you have to play well and make sure there is no reason why you should be out of the team.

"Competition has increased with the two lads coming in but the stronger squad we have got, the better chance we have of achieving our long term goals."

The Scot added: "It will be a squad game. There will be many opportunities for everyone in our squad to play."

Although Irvine was thrilled by the team's performance in the oldest knockout competition in the world, he has not ruled out rotating his squad for the home encounter with promotion rivals Charlton on Saturday.

"I will look at the Charlton game and I will pick a team who I think are capable of winning that one," he said. "There is nothing set in stone.

"It is not a case of we win at Bristol City and that will be the team for the rest of the season. We will need everybody to play a part."

Irvine, whose side are one point and one place below the Addicks in the League One table, says he does not expect Otsemobor, Lewis Buxton or midfielder Giles Coke to be fit and available for selection this weekend.

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