The Wolverhampton Wanderers manager, Mick McCarthy, is refusing to confirm whether his out of sorts striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake will retain his place for Saturday's home FA Cup tie with Crystal Palace.
Ebanks-Blake scored 25 goals last season and played a major role in Wolves gaining promotion from the Coca-Cola Championship. But he has found it difficult to adjust to the Barclays Premier League and his only top flight goal came against Aston Villa from the penalty spot.
McCarthy has retained his belief in the former Plymouth player but is declining to say publicly whether Ebanks-Blake will hold on to his spot against Palace or make way for fit again Chris Iwelumo.
"Sylvan has been playing in the team and he just has to keep going. It's tough – but he did it last season and he'll score his goals," McCarthy said. "But, if you're asking whether I'm going to play him on Saturday and beyond, then I'm not going to say because it's not for public consumption. I pick the team that I see fit. It's not about 'repaying me' or anyone else, but he's been at it and playing well for the last few games."
McCarthy concedes Ebanks-Blake is struggling to come to terms with his goal drought and on Saturday he squandered a gilt-edged chance against Wigan from close range. "It's really difficult for him. He desperately wants to score," McCarthy said. "I'm sure the disappointment rests heavily on him. I don't talk to him much but I can tell it does. You can see the disappointment etched in his face. Scoring goals has been his lifeblood. I'm sure he's at a loss to understand it because he'd have scored that chance on Saturday in the Championship. You wonder the longer it goes on, is it coming? Does it come? I know it will come back but it does take time."