Gallacher ready to reclaim keeper spot

Norwich stand in keeper Paul Gallacher is ready to answer Peter Grant's injury SOS after being thrust into the FA Cup spotlight in the Canaries' valiant Chelsea defeat.

Norwich stand in keeper Paul Gallacher is ready to answer Peter Grant's injury SOS after being thrust into the FA Cup spotlight in the Canaries' valiant Chelsea defeat.

Celtic loan recruit David Marshall could be set for an extended spell on the sidelines after suffering suspected ankle ligament damage attempting to pluck Arjen Robben's early cross out of the West London sky.

Gallacher was pitched into the Stamford Bridge cauldron for his first competitive action in over a month.

The Glaswegian is now in pole position to retain the gloves for tomorrow's Championship trip to Preston, but the Scot's post-match thoughts were with his international colleague.


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"I don't know exactly how bad it is - it didn't look good," said Gallacher, as his compatriot limped away from the capital on crutches with his left ankle in a protective cast. "I wish him a speedy recovery. He's come in, look assured and done very well. It was a bit strange for me to go on that early but I was fine. When it happens you don't really think about it. If you get on at any stage you have to try and perform.

"Of course there was a few nerves when you come off the bench against a side like Chelsea. They have so many quality players who can keep the ball for fun and when they attack they do it with so much pace.

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"I thought our boys were absolutely fantastic on the day. Our passing was sharp on a pitch that for me was terrible and we were a bit unfortunate not to get a goal."

The experienced stopper denied both Robben and Frank Lampard with two stunning first half reaction saves before Shaun Wright-Phillips' arcing strike took a wicked deflection off Andy Hughes to puncture the Canaries' stubborn resistance.

Chelsea's foreign legion exposed Gallacher three more times after the break to ease Jose Mourinho's multinational squad into the quarter finals.

"Four goals was harsh," said Gallacher. "Anyone looking at the result in the paper will think it was easy. People watching the game and the Norwich supporters who travelled down would know different. The support was fantastic. They came in big numbers as they always do - without a doubt they are one of the best in the league.

"No one outside of the club might have given us a chance but we came with a belief that we could sneak something. That showed in our performance. We played at the home of the Premiership champions, didn't sit back and gave it a right go."

Petr Cech's brilliance quashed any hopes of a grandstand finish. The agile Czech defied Norwich to chalk up his sixth consecutive clean sheet since returning from a horrific head injury at Reading.

Mourinho's '£50-million man' acrobatically tipped Lee Croft's close range volley onto his bar in a concerted second half flurry from the visitors.

"He didn't just make good saves but world class saves," said Gallacher, offering his verdict on one of the class acts of the goalkeepers' union. "It kept them ahead at a key time in the game. We've come to Chelsea and hit the post and bar when we needed every bit of luck going.

"The scoreline flatters them, but that is the difference - they took their chances and we didn't. At 1-0 you are always in the game. To concede right after half time was not good. We've let a few in from set pieces of late so that is something we have to try and work on."

Gallacher insisted Norwich must extract the positives from their high profile FA Cup date when they return to the Championship grind at Deepdale.

"Preston are flying so we know how tough it will be," he said. "The boys are determined to keep looking up rather than over our shoulders. We've managed one or two results of late in the league and we need to build on that.

"I think we can take a lot of confidence from the fact we've come to Chelsea and matched top, top players for long periods."

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