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Football: Thorne backing the third way for Cardiff.

Byline: Terry Phillips Chief Sports Writer

PETER Thorne is backing strike partners Andy Campbell and Robert Earnshaw to score the goals Cardiff City need to launch their Second Division promotion drive.

The Bluebirds look certain to go into the new season using the 4-3-3 formation which means a loss of natural width, but does allow City to include Thorne, Campbell and Earnshaw.

Thorne scored the equaliser and set up the winner for Danny Gabbidon in Cardiff's 21 win against Premiership Bolton Wanderers, saying later: ``There are no major worries playing 4-3-3. That's what we used last season when we had a good run to the end of the season and it can be the basis of our promotion charge.

``In the first half Robert and Andy were on either side. They have good pace, they are tricky and I don't see a problem.

``We've played a few different systems now and it's taken time to develop a playing style, but it is still pre-season.

``We will be going to Oldham in a positive frame of mind.''

City manager Lennie Lawrence will be at Bath City tonight watching the players who were not in the starting line-up against Bolton and he insists: ``I am not ruling anybody out for the match at Oldham this Saturday - everybody in our first team squad of 22 who is fit has a chance.''

Lawrence admits, though, he is `completely clear' on his plans for the trip to Oldham and will finalise them after watching tonight's final pre-season match at Bath's Twerton Park ground.

My feeling is that Lawrence has already pencilled in 10 players for the match at Oldham and the one area where he still has to finally decide is at left-back where Chris Barker, 22, and the experienced Gary Croft are leading contenders.

Croft started against Bolton, while Barker produced a quality display during the midweek friendly against Wolves.

Certainly, Lawrence is happy with the quality of his squad and delighted that the likes of Layton Maxwell and Leo Fortune-West went on from the substitutes bench against Bolton and made major contributions to the win.

And with Willie Boland suspended for three games after the trip to Oldham, Maxwell and Des Hamilton will be battling to ensure they are called up for the run of games against Port Vale (home), Northampton Town (home) and Swindon Town (away).

Lawrence is still without injured players Mark Bonner (ankle) and Jason Bowen (ankle), while Spencer Prior is suspended for the opening games at Oldham Athletic and at home to Port Vale. Gavin Gordon is behind the other players in terms of pre-season preparation and is unlikely to be considered at Oldham.

That leaves the City team manager with 18 players for the trip to Oldham and they are: Neil Alexander (gk), Martyn Margetson (gk), Rhys Weston, Scott Young, Danny Gabbidon, Gary Croft, Chris Barker, Andy Legg, Gareth Whalley, Graham Kavanagh (capt), Willie Boland, Andy Campbell, Robert Earnshaw, Peter Thorne, Layton Maxwell, Leo Fortune-West, Des Hamilton, James Collins.

CAPTION(S):

GROUNDED Andy Campbell, one of Cardiff City's three-pronged strike force, is felled during Saturday's encounter with Bolton.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 5, 2002
Words:520
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