Grant: Midfield mix hasn't helped strikers

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City strikers have been cleared of blame for the current goal drought.City have scored just five goals in eight Championship games this season - four at home, one away.

CHRIS LAKEY

Norwich City strikers have been cleared of blame for the current goal drought.

City have scored just five goals in eight Championship games this season - four at home, one away.

Last season's Golden Boot winner, Jamie Cureton, has just two, David Strihavka has one, striker-cum-defender Dion Dublin has one and Chris Brown is yet to get of the mark - the tally made up with Simon Lappin's 30-yard strike against Cardiff.

But City boss Peter Grant says his striking problems, which have seen City fail to trouble the opposition keeper in their last three league games plus the Carling Cup defeat at Manchester City last week, emanate from midfield and their failure to create chances.

“I am loath to criticise strikers, especially at this minute because I have not had the selection in the middle of the pitch that I would like to have,” said Grant.

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“I have kept chopping and changing in there to try and get that balance right. From the start of the season I have had five guys not available to me that I thought I was going to be starting the season with in that central area. I look at that and think have I got the balance right this season - some games yes, other games no.

“And that is why I am a little bit less critical of the strikers because I think with the strikers, if we create chances for them they will score goals, they have got that about them.”

Grant pointed to an incident late in the game on Saturday, when a cross from the right was deliberately handled by Cureton - who perhaps didn't realise that Strihavka was in a position behind him to score.

“It's ironic the one Jamie handles and gets booked for - if he misses the ball completely David Strihavka can put it in an empty net - that seems to be the luck we are having, we're stopping each other from scoring,” said Grant.

“Gary Doherty's chance in the first seven minutes from the free kick - we had worked on it and he puts it by the post. It's that sort of thing that gives you the confidence - for the strikers, for the team - to play better, play with that exuberance, people getting forward and creating chances.

“We are not creating enough chances for them. Yes some of their play could be better, their link-up play or being in areas to hurt the opposition, but all in all with the amount of chances we are creating - we are creating some, but not enough.”

While Grant believes the strikers should be cleared of a large portion of the blame he also believes his defenders have done well.

“I look at the back four - Dion, (Jason) Shackell, Ian Murray, Doherty, Jon Otemobor, Adam Drury or Simon (Lappin) at left back and I think they have defended well,” he said. “They have got (David) Marshall behind them, who is as good as anybody in this division, so that is why it is disappointing further up the field. From middle to front I have not got it right - there are things I have got to keep looking at.

“Defensively I have been pleased with a lot of the games,” he said.