Dublin’s a delight to have around
CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant has paid tribute to the contribution being made at Carrow Road by veteran striker Dion Dublin.
Peter Grant has paid tribute to the contribution being made at Carrow Road by veteran striker Dion Dublin.
The 37-year-old has started just one match for City since being brought in by former boss Nigel Worthington last month, but Grant is impressed by his off-field input.
"He is a fantastic pro," said Grant. "I like his ability, but I also listen to what he has to say because he has worked under a hell of a lot of experienced managers and coaches.
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"He has played at the highest level, but he is a top pro as well, that is vital here.
"Some people say you judge the quality of the squad you have by the experienced players and if I can judge our squad on our experienced players I want to watch because he is international class when it comes to that - passing on his experience and trying to help youngsters.
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"If I am judging our squad on that I'll be a very, very happy man."
But Dublin isn't all about cajoling and advising - like he did during the penalty shoot-out at Vale on Tuesday. As a player he has been able to add a deft touch with the ball - and put it in the back as he did with aplomb at QPR a fortnight ago.
With Robert Earnshaw a doubt for the trip to Stoke, Dublin finds himself in the reckoning for a start - although he faces competition from Peter Thorne.
At 37 there are questions marks over Dublin's ability to last 90 minutes, but Grant said he would be confident naming the former Coventry, Villa and Celtic striker in his starting line-up.
"Yes - but I always say to the players, 'give us your maximum while you're on the pitch'. If you give us your maximum while you're on the pitch I am sure we have enough quality on the bench to bring on and change it," Grant said.
"If I have to take someone off on a stretcher I will do that, as long as they have given their maximum.
"If Dion starts the game I have no qualms with that. If Peter Thorne starts the game I have no qualms with that either."
The injury situation gives Grant much to ponder and it is his final selection that will determine the formation City play.
Having continued with 4-3-3 last weekend and at Port Vale, Grant may need to change - but says there are plenty of options open.
"I think the players I have got available dictate what the team is going to be," he said. "That's the way I'll pick the system, the best to suit the players available and that's the best way to pick a team every week anyway.
"If I have got players who suit a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3 or a 3-5-2 it doesn't bother me, as long as I have got the players who can play it. I am not going to get into systems just to make it look good on the pitch, I want to put a system on the pitch that is going to win that particular game.
"If it means I have to make changes in personnel to do that I will do that. Obviously the same with the system - 4-4-2 can be used in many, many ways and that's the thing we have to get inside their brains, 4-4-2 can be much more flexible."