Jermain's The Man

Glenn Roeder says that Jermain Defoe has "crossed the bridge" to becoming a senior squad player.

"With the experience Jermain Defoe has already gained this year, I see him as absolutely one of the senior squad now. I regard it as crossing the bridge from one side to the other side, and he has definitely done it."

But he insists that that does not mean he will waver from his policy of using him selectively, and he adds: "This year the stance I have taken is paying off. He enjoys that extra little bit of time and space when he comes on as a sub in the second half and the game is often stretched a bit.

"When he starts, although it's harder, he gains valuable experience - so he is dipped in and out for his own good.

"He is one that you take a shine to straight away. He is very likeable and really does enjoy training, and from the start when I looked at his body language and the way he carries himself you could tell he looks like one of those who knows exactly where he is going.

"I'm not surprised he has settled in so quickly but he hasn't finished growing yet. He has not filled out and we don't want any problems with overuse.

"Other people might have just bashed away with him - but that is not my way."

Glenn is delighted that the formalities for Vladimir Labant's £900,000 signing from Sparta Prague have been completed - and promises more new faces will follow.

"It always gives the players a lift when a new player comes in," he says, "and there will be more lifts when a couple more players hopefully come in in the next few weeks.

"We have two injuries and we are stretched - it's ridiculous, but there we are, and that's why we wanted to bring in Vlad in and hopefully a couple more soon."

As for the Leicester match, he says: "We know it will be a tough game. We have got recent experience of playing them and they are fighting for their lives.

"People must realise that teams are not going to lie down. It was only the second goal against Derby recently that killed that game off, and this will be another tough encounter, but we know what to expect.

"Dave Bassett has had a very successful managerial career and has been brought in for his qualities, along with Micky Adams.

"There is a battle that will have to be won first, and we will relish that, and hopefully get the breaks - but all of these games take winning."