City's spearhead is blunted for derby

Norwich boss Peter Grant faces a major attacking injury crisis ahead of Sunday's Championship derby against Ipswich at Carrow Road. Raw teenage frontmen Kris Renton and Chris Martin are Grant's only fully fit strikers for Town's midday visit.

Norwich boss Peter Grant faces a major attacking injury crisis ahead of Sunday's Championship derby against Ipswich at Carrow Road.

Raw teenage frontmen Kris Renton and Chris Martin are Grant's only fully fit strikers for Town's midday visit. Welsh hitman Robert Earnshaw continued his comeback from a lengthy groin injury lay off with another late cameo in the midweek defeat at Burnley.

Strike pair Chris Brown and Peter Thorne remain long term absentees. Experienced campaigner Dion Dublin (ankle) limped out of the Turf Moor defeat while 13-goal Darren Huckerby (back) pulled up lame during the pre-match warm up.

Grant delivered a gloomy fitness bulletin on the quality duo and midfielder Lee Croft (hip) ahead of a Colney roll call of his depleted troops.

“Hucks' is going to be a big problem for us at the weekend,” said the City chief. “He's struggling. Unfortunately we've got two others who look as if they'll miss the game. Dion wanted to stay on. He knows it's a young group but once the second goal goes in, you just get him off to see if you can limit the damage. That's what we tried to. We had seven and a half hours on the bus and that did not help because one of the roads was closed, so there were a few of the boys complaining about their backs.”

Central defender Jason Shackell came through unscathed after picking up a knock in the weekend win at Leicester. Defensive sidekick Gary Doherty (hernia) is responding well to treatment, but Grant is loathe to recall the Republic international ahead of an expected close season operation.

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Grant has also been hit by the loss of a complete midfield quartet in recent matches with Simon Lappin (hand), Mark Fotheringham (back), Youssef Safri (hamstring) and Luke Chadwick (thigh) sidelined for the Championship finish.

The Canaries' chief looks poised to give youth another chance against the Tractor Boys with baby-faced attackers Renton and Martin joined in the Burnley line up by Michael Spillane and debutant Bally Smart. Former King's Lynn loanee Andrew Cave-Brown and Patrick Bexfield were unused substitutes.

Grant's options are further diminished with six Carrow Road squad players currently out on loan.