Grant ready to reveal his hand
CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant will reveal a few more clues as to his preferred Championship starting line-up when City complete their pre-season schedule with a visit from Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem.
Peter Grant will reveal a few more clues as to his preferred Championship starting line-up tonight when City complete their pre-season schedule with a visit from Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem (7.45pm).
The City boss is expecting midfielder Julien Brellier to make only his second appearance of the summer since moving south from Scotland, while Dion Dublin and Jason Shackell should have brushed off minor problems to take to the field.
Brellier played the first half at King's Lynn a fortnight ago but suffered a thigh injury which has restricted him since.
Dublin has had back spasms this week, new skipper Shackell got a kick on the calf against West Ham last Tuesday but both are expected to join fit-again Simon Lappin in the squad.
“Jason trained today, Simon trained, so those are both positives,” said Grant, who will definitely be without Darren Huckerby (groin). “Dion has a little bit of a spasm, we'll see how he is but hopefully he will be available. We have to be very careful with him, he is a big man and it's a big body he has got to carry about so we have just got to be careful it him.”
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The minor bumps and knocks are actually secondary concerns, with the lack of playing time for Brellier and Darel Russell concerning Grant as he prepares for August 11 at Preston.
Russell has had only a 25-minute run-out Stoke against Real Madrid just three days before moving to Norwich, plus an hour against West Ham.
“It's stiffness with the likes of Darel, who has only played a couple of games,” he said. “There is more stiffness about than anything else, apart from that it is a clean bill of health.
“I lost Simon Lappin for a little bit, even though Simon has played most of the games and his general fitness and game fitness is no problem.
“It is always important people get game time on the pitch to get a rough idea of where you are going to be when you come into the last game, but unfortunately that has not been the case for us, with the amount of chopping and changing we have had.
“A couple of boys came in late, the likes of Julien and Darel - who played more the other night against West Ham than I wanted him to play.
“I know what Darel can do, the bonus was that although he has not played a lot in match situations his general fitness was never a problem anyway. But you are always concerned with that. I took Jamie Cureton and David Strihavka off because they were chasing shadows for much of the first period and the last thing I needed was them sustaining injuries and strains because of the effort.
“Darel and Julien are the ones I am disappointed that haven't had as much football as I would have liked. But all in all pleased that coming to the Vitesse Arnhem game we have a couple more bodies available than we did the other evening there.
“The aim is the first game on August 11, and in general the way we play is not going to change much, it is just the personnel we have available.”
The loss of Youssef Safri is not likely to change Grant's plans to bring in more players over the next few weeks, with the manager confirming there are still one, possibly two, more new faces to come in.
“I think it is getting to the stage where managers know who they are going to allow out to get that experience because they have looked at the close season and will start manoeuvring people out on loan,” Grant added.
t Admission for tonight's game is £10 City Stand lounges; £9 Jarrold Stand and City Stand centre seats; £8 adults, £4 60+/students, £1 under-16s and under-12s Jarrold Stand and City Stand wing seats; £6 adults, £4 60+/students, £1 under-16s and under-12s standard seats. For further details call 0870 444 1902.