Gary times his return to perfection

CHRIS LAKEY Gary Doherty's return to action could have come just at the right time for Canaries boss Glenn Roeder.Doherty came through 65 minutes of Monday's reserve team game against Northampton at Carrow Road unscathed after missing the last seven first team games because of injury.

CHRIS LAKEY

Gary Doherty's return to action could have come just at the right time for Canaries boss Glenn Roeder.

Doherty came through 65 minutes of Monday's reserve team game against Northampton at Carrow Road unscathed after missing the last seven first team games because of injury.

In that time the Republic of Ireland international has seen Roeder bring in Martin Taylor from Birmingham on loan, but the new arrival is a doubt for Saturday's visit of Coventry City with a groin problem.


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With Dion Dublin expected to have recovered from a hamstring problem, it leaves Roeder with the possibility of competition for the berth alongside skiper Jason Shackell.

Dublin is arguably more likely to get the nod, although Doherty says he is prepared to be patient.

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"The gaffer has brought someone in and they have been doing okay so I just want to be in contention for selection and hopefully get a game," said Doherty.

"It's good competition. We have a few here now, probably four or five who can play at centre half, and that is what you need really, especially when you are bottom of the league.

"You need the lads fighting for that place and hopefully that is what is going to take this team up the league."

Doherty's last game was the home draw against Scunthorpe on October 10, although the damage was done a couple of games before that, in the Carling Cup tie at Manchester City. The 27-year-old was clearly in discomfort during the second half of that game but lack of options meant he played again just four days later, in the 1-0 home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday.

"At that that time we were really struggling for centre-halves," he said. "Not like now. If it happened now I would have come off because we have plenty of centre halves, but at the time Dion was suspended, Jason Shackell was suspended so it was only me and Ian (Murray) really so I had to soldier on against Scunthorpe and Sheffield Wednesday. They were two difficult games for me really, because I was struggling a little bit.

"Now I have got it all sorted hopefully it is onwards and upwards for me."

Doherty has been back in training for a couple of weeks, and says Monday's reserve team appearance ended a frustrating period.

"It has been a while," he said. "It is disappointing, especially having to watch games. Every footballer will tell you they are not a great watcher of a game so that has been disappointing, but now I have 60 minutes under my belt I am looking forward to getting back.

"You always want to get back and get your first game in."

n Chester chairman Stephen Vaughan has revealed the Coca-Cola League Two club have made an offer to sign out-of-favour West Brom striker John Hartson.

The 32-year-old has yet to feature for Albion this season and recently spent time out on loan at Norwich.

Vaughan said: "We have approached West Brom, with a view to taking the player on a loan arrangement, and then making the move permanent in the January transfer window. So far we have not had a response."

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