Big Sam defends team selection

Last updated : 04 January 2003 By BoltonMAD

Allardyce made 9 changes for the match and hinted that he would probably do the same again for the replay at the Stadium of Light in 10 days' time.

"The players I left out today were not physically or mentally capable of playing again," said the Wanderer's boss.

"I've probably got the oldest squad in the Premiership and guys like Per Frandsen, Gudni Bergsson, Simon Charlton and Mike Whitlow who I left out had all played four on the trot.

"The alternative was to play young, fresh boys who wanted to be in the side and who could run about all day.

"At the start of the game I would have said I didn't want a replay but I was grateful for it in the end because if we'd have lost this match it would have been a crime.

"We had our chances to bury it and we didn't and we paid the ultimate price. It was disappointing from that point of view because it should have been all over.

"But now we go up to Sunderland and we might have long-term injured players like Bruno N'Gotty, Paul Warhurst and Bernard Mendy almost fit.

"If they are ready the replay will be a great match to bring them back in."