One Day Til Liftoff

Last updated : 17 December 2002 By Andy Beill
Dean Keates
Dean Keates - sits out
Gates open for the first time at 4:30pm, and it looks like being a 25,000 sellout for the showpiece match against Sunderland.

One certain omission from the side that took on Darlington will be Dean Keates. The midfielder limped off with an ankle injury, and he's targetting a return against Bournemouth on Saturday.

Stuart Elliott, Andy Holt and Nathan Peat are all available to take the left wing place. Ryan Williams won't return until the new year, but Lawrie Dudfield is fit.

However, Damien Delaney is back in the fold after serving a one match ban. He may steal his place back from Shaun Smith.

Justin Whittle will also be hoping for a recall after having to start the last ever game at Boothferry Park on the bench. Marc Joseph looks the likelier of the two centre backs to drop out.

Manager Peter Taylor sees the match as a chance to get the side back on track after Saturday's disappointment, and is hoping for a good game of football to get the stadium off on the right footing.

He said: "It is only a friendly tomorrow but we've got to look to make a positive start at the new stadium. It would do the lads the world of good if we put in a decent performance against Sunderland.
"We've got a difficult match at Bournemouth this Saturday. First, though, it's Sunderland and that's what we need to concentrate on. A good performance would really give us a lift."

Expected line-up (4-4-2): Musselwhite; Regan, Whittle, Anderson, Delaney; Green, Ashbee, Melton, Holt; Alexander, Webb.
Subs: Deeney, Smith, Burton, Strong, Joseph, Bloomer, Peat, Philpott, Kerr, Dudfield, Jevons, Bradshaw.