Dalmat and King mysteries revealed

Last updated : 19 January 2004 By Jonathan Blain
David Pleat has revealed the reasons behind Stephane Dalmat's half time substitution and Ledley King's withdrawal from the squad. French star Dalmat had apparently been feeling under the weather in training on Friday and had not improved by Saturday but started the game, only having to admit defeat at the interval. Dalmat had not seemed his usual self from the very start and it took him ten minutes to get his first touch on the ball, and was still able to drift past Djimi Traore as if he wasn't there.

Pleat added that Ledley King, who failed a fitness test ahead of the game, is suffering with an ankle injury that will be assessed this week. "Obviously we'll have to have a look at him. He was very sore around the tendon of his ankle and we hope there is no real problem." King's absence paved the way for Michael Brown to make his debut and he did not disappoint. Brown was strong and did the simple things, just winning the ball and passing to the nearest white shirt. He seemed to be ample cover for King and competition for places can only be a healthy factor.