Doherty gets Grant's vote
Central defender Gary Doherty has been given a huge vote of confidence by Norwich City manager Peter Grant. The 27-year-old has come in for criticism from some sections of the crowd this season, but Grant believes the Republic of Ireland international has been an easy target.
Central defender Gary Doherty has been given a huge vote of confidence by Norwich City manager Peter Grant.
The 27-year-old has come in for criticism from some sections of the crowd this season, but Grant believes the Republic of Ireland international has been an easy target.
Doherty is Grant's biggest injury concern for tomorrow's game against Sheffield Wednesday, having battled through the full 90 minutes against Manchester City in midweek despite picking up a groin problem in the first half.
"It was a normal game with people on the bench available to come on at centre back Gary would have come off at half-time, but he was determined to stay on and that attitude was terrific," said Grant.
"I think he has been terrific for us, I think he has been excellent.
"There have been questions asked of him and he has answered every one. Yes, he has made the odd mistake here and there, but his general performances have been terrific.
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"I thought the other evening he did terrific for the full match and in the second half he showed fantastic character to continue and not come off - to the detriment of himself obviously because it puts him into a position where he might not be available for the weekend.
"He was determined to help out and that is what you need. Sometimes you have to roll your sleeves up.
"People will question other things but the one thing I can't question is his determination to go on that pitch and help the young boys out knowing the situation we were in and come through it with flying colours with his performance."
Grant has been forced to chop and change his central defence several times this season, although this weekend's problems are not helped by suspensions to Jason Shackell and Dion Dublin.
"He (Doherty) has been questioned and people kept telling me he was this and that, but he and Dublin have been excellent together when they have played together," said Grant.
"I think Gary playing along with Shacks (Jason Shackell) - even though Shacks has not played as well as I think he can - they have defended the box ever so well.
"Great credit to him; he is learning as we go along, even with the experience he has, and his fitness levels are up - he played in all pre-season games to get that fitness sup.
"He will make the odd mistake, as they all do - probably the only mistake against Charlton was the penalty.
"The other evening I can't remember him making a mistake, even though I thought Simon (Lappin) stayed a little bit wide for the goal and we got passed through, you could see Gary reading it but he just couldn't get across because of the groin strain more than anything else.
"Where it shows is that determination to be out there, no matter what, and sometimes it is easy when you are not playing as well as a group to say you are feeling an ache here or a pain here - even though he was getting intensive treatment at half time he was determined to get back on that pitch. He said, 'no, I am going to try and get through the 90 minutes'.
"I think he would really have struggled if it had gone to extra time so if you are looking for a positive, when you have lost a goal with the last kick, it's the fact that I think I would probably have had to take Gary off because I just can't afford him out for a longer period of time."