Could Peter Gulacsi start the FA Cup semi-final?

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The Hungarian goalkeeper’s eligibility for tomorrow’s FA Cup semi-final has now been confirmed, with most assuming he will take up his place on the bench and Brad Jones starting in goal.

However, there is the possibility Gulacsi could actually start the game ahead of Jones.

It would be a little harsh on Jones, who has suffered personal tragedy and starting the match would cap a tremendous story for him and his family.

But there isn’t room for sentiment in such a big game, and Gulacsi – who is highly thought of by staff at the academy – has a number of factors in his favour.

Firstly, Gulacsi was made the substitute keeper to Pepe Reina immediately upon Kenny Dalglish’s appointment last season – ahead of Jones. In total he was on the bench for 27 games last season.

Gulacsi also has more playing experience this season, with 15 appearances for Hull in the Championship until he suffered an injury in late December. Jones last started a League game in April 2011 during a loan spell at Derby.

Of course, Jones has in his favour that he is more experienced overall, with just over 100 first-team appearances across his career and was an unused sub in the League Cup Final 2004 for Middlesbrough.

Mind you, Gulacsi – 9 years Jones’ younger – has almost half that amount following loan spells at Hereford, Tranmere and Hull in recent years, admittedly at a lower level.

Les Parry, who managed Gulacsi at Hull had praise for the youngster this week, telling the Liverpool Echo;

”He was one of the reasons we stayed up. It was not just his saves, it was how comfortable he made the back four feel.

“The back four in front of him felt really confident in knowing he was their goalkeeper.

“He is one of the most level headed young goalkeepers that I have come across. He is a lovely lad but not just that, he wants to get better and wants to improve. Peter is really mature for his years.

“I went through John Achterberg at Liverpool to get Peter and I know John rates him really highly.”

“Peter doesn’t get flustered.”

“He comes for crosses and though he dropped a clanger in his first and final games for us, he was great in between. He doesn’t have the biggest frame but he fills the goal.

“He is a good shot stopper and sweeps up well.”

Gulacsi kept seven clean sheets in 19 appearances for Tranmere.

Either way, it will be a tough decision for Dalglish to make.

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