Woody plays

Last updated : 28 February 2003 By Martyn Elliott

When asked directly at the pre-match press conference whether or not Woodgate will face Chelsea Sir Bobby replied: "I'm going to play him.

"I've just got to do what I've got to do. But it's going to be difficult for me to leave the guy out and I am just trying to keep the players fresh, especially as we have another important game against Middlesbrough on Wednesday."

He refused to confirm the make up of the rest of the back line, but added: "Andy O'Brien and Aaron Hughes got a shock on Wednesday afternoon when they saw the team for the match with Bayer Leverkusen.

"But Stevie Caldwell did not let us down and I knew he wouldn't. Griffin was terrific and I thought Titus Bramble was a titan.

"I know Alan Shearer got all the headlines, and rightly so, but Titus was as good a player as there was on the field on Wednesday night.

"He defended well, he jumped well, he tackled well, he got rid of the ball well and he was great on the ball.

"Now O'Brien is due to come back in because I rested him on Wednesday night to keep him fresh."

So the only question would appear to be whether or not Hughes will return in place of Andy Griffin or whether he will play on the left, possibly with Olivier Bernard moved into midfield.