Doherty most busy in friendlies

CHRIS LAKEY Canaries central defender Gary Doherty has been the busiest player of the summer - playing every minute of the six pre-season games he has featured in.


Canaries central defender Gary Doherty has been the busiest player of the summer - playing every minute of the six pre-season games he has featured in.

Doherty was left out of the trip to Lowestoft - but played the full 90 in the following night's 4-0 win at King's Lynn. Canaries boss Peter Grant has worked his defenders hard during the build-up to Saturday's trip to Preston, with left-back Adam Drury the next busiest with 459 minutes in six matches.

City played seven pre-season fixtures, using 34 players - with injured striker Darren Huckerby the clear absentee - although the proximity of the Lowestoft and King's Lynn matches meant there was effectively a maximum of six matches or 540 minutes for each player.

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New club skipper Jason Shackell was third on the list, having missed the game against FC Zwolle on the Dutch tour as a precaution because of a hamstring injury - although he returned to play a full part in the home friendlies against West Ham and Vitesse Arnhem.

Doherty and Drury plus Andy Hughes, Jamie Cureton, David Strihavka, Chris Martin and Lee Croft were the only players to have featured in six matches.

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Goalkeeper David Marshall played 333 minutes in four matches and is clearly the number one choice, while of the usual suspects expected to be in the first team squad, only Luke Chadwick, Lee Croft, Chris Brown and Darel Russell failed to play a full 90 minutes - although Russell didn't arrive until the day before the penultimate game.

Grant has chopped and changed his front three of Jamie Cureton, Brown and David Strihavka, who have only two 90-minute appearances between them.

The summer programme has given some of the younger players a chance to step up a little, with outings for the speedy Bally Smart, a half for Kris Renton at Lowestoft when he scored two goals in a 12-0 rout, as well as brief roles for Tom Miller, Ross Kelly, goalkeeper Stephen Arnold and defender Matthew Halliday.



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