Leicester boss Nigel Pearson defends rotation in FA Cup tie at Huddersfield
Last Updated: January 28, 2013 1:14pm
Nigel Pearson: Stands by his decision to rotate his squad
Leicester manager Nigel Pearson has defended his decision to field a much-changed team against Huddersfield in the FA Cup.
Pearson made five changes for the fourth-round tie on Saturday, with in-form striker Chris Wood and leading scorer David Nugent among those taken out of the starting XI.
Substitute Wood rescued a replay for the Foxes with an 82nd-minute equaliser - his seventh goal in five league and cup appearances since joining the club from West Brom at the beginning of this month.
Pearson said some of the changes were enforced because of injury and, while he wants to make progress in the cup, the Leicester boss insists the Championship campaign remains the priority.
"I made a number of changes, some enforced and some not," said Pearson after the 1-1 draw at the John Smith's Stadium. "When you make that number of changes it is not easy to get into a rhythm or into a flow.
"But it was a good opportunity for one or two players who have not had starts recently. Richie Wellens started his first game for a long time and I thought he coped well under the circumstances.
"It is about doing what is right for the squad. I still think if we had played as well as we can we would win. It is not as if when we name a different side it is necessarily a weaker one. We have a good squad with a lot of experience.
"We have picked up a few injuries of late and training has not been easy because of the conditions. Anthony Knockaert has had a scan on his ankle and, hopefully, he will not be out for too long. Matty James needed a rest and Chris Wood had a knock on his knee on Friday.
"It was sensible to make some of the changes, but you are always flirting with people criticising you for doing so. I never want our fans to perceive us making changes as being anything other than being positive for our club. I am sure the fans would have loved to have seen us win, but we are still in the tie."
Pearson, whose side are second in the Championship and will host Wigan in the fifth round of the cup if they prevail in the replay against Huddersfield, added: "The league has always been, and will continue to be, our priority this season. I am always going to make selection decisions with that in mind."