Cocu coy on Rooney's availability for FA Cup tie but local boy Marriott in line to face 'tricky' Cobblers

Phillip CocuPhillip Cocu
Phillip Cocu
Rams boss Phillip Cocu is giving little away over whether or not he plans to start Wayne Rooney in Friday's FA Cup clash against the Cobblers.

Rooney has started the last four matches for Derby but Cocu could be tempted to rest him - as well as one or two other first-team players - against the League Two Cobblers with Tuesday's league fixture at Luton Town in mind.

"He wants to play every game," said Cocu. "I have in my mind what I want to do, but I am not sharing it!

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"There could be some changes because we play a lot of games but we have options to choose from.

"Sometimes you have to choose between two players or players who come back after injury and they need to come back and play games.

"If they show good quality on the training pitch, they give the manager more options and if you are part of the first-team, you have to be ready to start games when needed.

"I don't know how many changes but a few could be possible."

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Brixworth boy Jack Marriott looks set to play some part after returning from a muscle injury.

“Jack is okay," said Cocu. "He has trained and is available.

"(Graeme) Shinnie, we have to see. He did some more work and trained yesterday, so he could be available which would be a positive for the team.”

Cocu, who played over 100 times for both Holland and Barcelona, will not be too familiar with the rough and tumble of League Two football, but he's done his homework in preparation for facing Keith Curle's team.

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"We have no doubt that their motivation will be sky high," he said. "That's normal and we have to prepare for it.

"It'll be a difficult game and their playing style is quite tricky. It's not easy to play against so we have to really step up to show we have the ambition to go on in the FA Cup.

“We need to be aware and solid. You have to try and play football against them, which will be the challenge for us. We have to step up like we did at Crystal Palace if we want to progress.

“The first 10-15 minutes are very important. We have to make sure we are switched on and take the initiative early on..

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"We have to push hard to get a positive result because they're doing well in their league and they'll feel good.

"We'll prepare the players with clips to see how they can play. They played a very good game and got a very good result in the last round but for us, it doesn't matter who we play, we have to be prepared and then it's about the form on the day.

"You have to show the right spirit and mentality because they will have it 100 per cent and we have to match it."