Malky's Battle

Malky Mackay is battling to be fit for Chelsea on Wednesday after an injury forced him to see out the Gillingham game up front on Saturday.

With all three substitutes on the field, Malky went up front towards the end and Malky explains:

"I just felt a bit of a strain in the calf there with 10 minutes to go but as we had put the three subs on the manager just decided to shuffle it and make sure I didn't have to do too much running.

"Obviously at the back we have to do that so I went up front just as a precaution and we will have to see how things are."

It brought back memories in recent years of defenders Colin Foster and Ian Pearce going up front in games - and even the late, great Les Sealey briefly playing as a striker at Highbury.

There were no thoughts of Malky coming off, though, despite Gillingham being reduced to 10 men when Darren Byfield was stretchered off after Gillingham, too, had used three substitutes.

"It was a competitive game," says Malky, "and you have to show the other team a bit of respect because they certainly came at us - which they had to, because they are fighting for every point.

"We had to make sure we saw the game out professionally, which we did, after they were fired up at half time by their goal.

"Every team is going to have a period where they are on top and they really had a go at us in the first 20 minutes of the second half.

"That is the time to batten down the hatches, weather the storm, and make sure you don't lose another goal - which we managed.

"We defended well as a team from that point though there were three or four times when we had to re-jig things around a bit - but we got there in the end.

"They did very well against Millwall midweek and were unfortunate to be beaten; there are no easy games in this league so it was a professional performance to get the three points."

So did he secretly enjoy his stint as a glory-seeking forward?

"No - I would be quite happy to stay at the back in my own position," he says, emphatically.

"I will let the boys do their job up front and I will stay at the back."

Malky is hoping to recuperate in time for the trip to Chelsea and he adds:

"It is a big, big game for the club and one you go and enjoy; league performances are what really count but it will be a big occasion for everyone on Wednesday - fans included."