Doc's season on a knife edge

Gary Doherty could be the latest long-term casualty at Carrow Road after City boss Peter Grant revealed that his centre-half would require surgery on a stomach injury.


Gary Doherty could be the latest long-term casualty at Carrow Road after City boss Peter Grant revealed that his centre-half would require surgery on a stomach injury.

Doherty missed the trip to Leicester on Saturday after straining his stomach during training on Thursday morning.

“He will need an operation, it's just when he needs it done,” said Grant. “It's just a matter of seeing how things go. We will let it settle down for a couple of days but he will definitely need an operation. Whether it is now or whether he can get through to the summer, time will tell.”

Grant had to make another repair to City's defence just a couple of minutes in, with Adam Drury feeling unwell because of an infection following the loss of a tooth during Monday's home defeat by West Brom.

“I knew Adam was struggling going into the game,” said Grant. “He had an infection in his mouth. He felt dizzy before the warm-up, but I just felt it was too late with 10 minutes to go to change it. They scored straight away and I felt I had to change it and he was struggling in himself.”

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Doherty added to mounting problems for Grant - who had Mark Fotheringham (back), Youssef Safri (hamstring) and Simon Lappin (broken thumb) unavailable - but there was ample compensation in the return of Robert Earnshaw, who marked his fiurts game for three months with a penalty.

“He was only on the bench because of the lack of players we have,” said Grant. “We have lost four players since Monday, then we lose Adam Drury, so we have now lost five players from the team that started the game on Monday.

“I have managed to get him to join in training now and again without any contact and he's looked bright and I just felt in my heart of hearts that he had something in him for a 15-minute period.

“I had to put him on maybe a couple of minutes earlier than I wanted because I just felt we were starting to get a wee bit of a run in the game and I always feel that when you have somebody like Earnshaw and Huckerby, defenders worry about them, and it was proved - Huckerby gets a pen and Earnie sticks it away.

“So we are very, very pleased to see him back, but he is still short of that fitness that I would like him to be, but it's great to have him round and about the squad again.”

Ex-Canaries defender Darren Kenton had given Leicester the perfect start with a goal after less than a minute - but Grant admitted he was delighted the hosts had been unable to add to their tally before half-time.

“I was very pleased to get to 1-0 at half-time because I thought Leicester were either brilliant or we were awful - I think it was the second one,” he said. “But in the second half they have shown great guts, great determination, great quality at times and I think we could have ended up winning more goals.

“But in saying that, you end up with Tony Warner producing two world class saves - not just good saves, but world class saves - and that is what won us the game.

“I have been critical of them many times, but today for their spirit and their attitude and knowing we have the match winners that we have, that's what got us though in the end.”

Darren Huckerby and Leicester defender Gareth McAuley were at the centre of the Norwich fightback: Huckerby beat McAuley all ends up down the left before his cross shot was handled, allowing Earnshaw to bag the equaliser, and five minutes later, Huckerby's corner was headed in by the Leicester man, under pressure from Jason Shackell.

It was a first professional meeting for Grant and his predecessor Nigel Worthington - and Grant believes Leicester showed qualities that will keep them in the Championship.

“I think with the front two they have there is no doubt,” he said. “They have good quality and showed that in the first half. There is no doubt when you have players like that with that little bit of spark you have always got that opportunity and I thought they did very well in the first half.”