Lefty gets the nod

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:07 AM ET

Tomorrow afternoon at Canad Inns Stadium, Troy Westwood will make his first appearance in a meaningful CFL game for the first time since the 2007 Grey Cup.

"I'm ready to rock," Westwood said yesterday. "I'm just really 100% ready to go."

Head coach Mike Kelly made it official that the 42-year-old will be Winnipeg's punter tomorrow for its critical game against the Montreal Alouettes.

The franchise's leading scorer was brought back to the team earlier this week after 16 months away. His services were required because Mike Renaud tore his ACL on Thanksgiving Monday in Hamilton and Alexis Serna struggled doing both the placekicking and punting in last week's loss to B.C.

Bombers head coach Mike Kelly said Westwood and Serna had similar punting numbers during practice this week, but he decided to split the duties.

"If all things are even, obviously Alexis has kicked the ball very well for us, so we'll go ahead and let him continue to do that and give Troy the opportunity to punt," Kelly said.

"I know he'll play with poise and an understanding of how to play in games of these implications."

Serna's head, meanwhile, is fine, according to the coach.

"He's had such a great disposition this year and will do anything you ask of him," Kelly said. "He'll be a little more relaxed just to get out there and kick the ball."

Westwood's career average as a punter is 42.6 yards. Incorrect information appeared in Wednesday's Sun.

FAN WATCH: The Bombers had sold only 20,012 tickets as of 4 p.m. yesterday, which makes it likely they will have fewer than 25,000 spectators for the fourth straight home game.

Kelly harboured a couple of guesses when asked why the fans are staying away.

"Probably we haven't played very well, probably some people were upset about maybe my honesty," he said. "But the ones that come have been fantastic.

"... (Fans who don't come) can form any opinion that they want, but the bottom line is: Are they a Bomber fan or not?"

Tomorrow's game will be blacked out locally.

ROSTER WATCH: Running back Fred Reid, and slotbacks Terrence Edwards and Brock Ralph all practised yesterday and will play against the Als, according to the coach.

Right guard Ryan Donnelly (knee) didn't practise, however, and Kelly said there's a possibility Luke Fritz could get his third start of the season -- and second against his former team.

"It would be phenomenal," said Fritz, who spent seven seasons in Montreal. "I've been practising against those guys for so long, and I've got a lot of friends over there. Any chance I get to smack 'em in the face, I'm going to do it."

A start would give Fritz another reason to celebrate this week, as his wife, Erin, gave birth to their second child, a son named Lincoln, on Wednesday. He weighed 71/2 pounds.

LATE HITS: The Alouettes have won six in a row ... Linebackers Neil McKinlay and Barrin Simpson, along with Westwood, are all slated to go on the Bomber roster tomorrow, while linebacker Joe Lobendahn (hamstring) and Dante Luciani will come off. Another Canadian will have to come off as well ... The Alouettes have won both meetings against the Bombers this season by a combined score of 72-26.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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