Upon Antolin Alcaraz’s return we were all excited. We knew he would make a massive difference to this defensive team. All season I have said how important he is to us, only to be proven more than right. He has been something of a sensation since his return.
In the six games he played from start to finish, we only lost one away to Manchester City, and we only conceded an incredible three goals. Now we can’t say that is all down to Alcaraz but a massive part of our improved defensive record was down to the Paraguayan. How much he will be missed.
The current report is that it is a complete tear of the hamstring and he will miss three weeks. That will rule him out for the games against Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City; but could he return in time for the FA Cup final? It could be a tight one.
The problem is that we need him now. It’s no good looking at the final and the two games that will follow; we have three massive league games beforehand that we have to win. With Antolin I feel we may struggle defensively.
I hope I am wrong and that Gary Caldwell can recapture his pace and power and lead this team to victory. But I have a nagging feeling that it isn’t going to happen.