City chief backs hard line on Safri

CHRIS LAKEY Canaries chief Neil Doncaster has backed manager Peter Grant's tough stance over unsettled midfielder Youssef Safri. Canaries chief Neil Doncaster has backed manager Peter Grant's tough stance over unsettled midfielder Youssef Safri. “Unfortunately, Youssef failing to appear on time for training and the team photo on Monday was not an isolated incident,” said Doncaster in response to questions during an EDP24 web chat.

CHRIS LAKEY

Canaries chief Neil Doncaster has backed manager Peter Grant's tough stance over unsettled midfielder Youssef Safri.

Safri was fined a week's wages and pulled out of the squad for the midweek friendly against West Ham after Grant claimed he had disrespected the club by missing training and turning up late for the pre-season team photo-shoot.

Grant launched a scathing attack on the Moroccan, accusing him of trying to engineer a move from Carrow Road, and admitting he would be happy if the 30-year-old never pulled on a Canaries shirt again.


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Doncaster, the club's chief executive and a member of the board of directors, yesterday said Grant was right to come down hard on the fans' favourite.

"Unfortunately, Youssef failing to appear on time for training and the team photo on Monday was not an isolated incident," said Doncaster in response to questions during a special EDP24 live web chat yesterday.

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"Peter's comments reflect on the whole period that he has been managing Youssef and not just the events of the last few days. I am entirely happy with Peter's comments and was, in fact, in the press conference when they were made."

Safri was unavailable for comment yesterday, but it seems almost certain he has played his final game for the club. Grant is expected to leave him out for the final pre-season friendly, against Vitesse Arnhem at Carrow Road tomorrow - although he has said that the player's departure will be on the club's terms, not Safri's.

Southampton are reportedly interested, although Safri's salary demands may put them off. A move to West Brom last month was said to have fallen through for that very reason.

Safri could be following Robert Earnshaw and Dickson Etuhu out of Carrow Road. But Doncaster denied that City were not reinvesting the transfer cash and lacked ambition.

"The aquisition of Julien Brellier, David Marshall, Jon Otesemobor, Darel Russell, Matthew Gilks, Jimmy Smith, David Strihavka and Jamie Cureton, the re-signing of players such as Mark Fotheringham and Dion Dublin and the signing of a number of promising Academy youngsters have all cost money - a combination of transfer fees, agents fees and wages," he said.

"The club is entirely committed to its ambition to return to the Premier League, but we will simply not risk ending up where Leeds and others are now through spending what we cannot afford."

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