Grant: Robinson can do defending role
CHRIS LAKEY The unlikely combination of on-loan keeper David Marshall and makeshift defender Carl Robinson ensured that ball number 13 in today's FA Cup fifth round draw includes the name of Norwich City.
The unlikely combination of on-loan keeper David Marshall and makeshift defender Carl Robinson ensured that ball number 13 in today's FA Cup fifth round draw includes the name of Norwich City.
It was Marshall who pulled off a stunning fingertip save in time added on to deny Blackpool a famous winner, but it was Robinson who had held the defence together in the latter stages as the Tangerines threatened to cause the upset of the round.
Robinson had started the match in centre midfield, but after half an hour manager Peter Grant had made his first major switch, pushing Darren Huckerby down the middle alongside Chris Brown, with Lee Croft on the left and Robinson on the right.
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But when Dion Dublin hobbled off with a foot injury before the hour was up, Robinson was shifted again, this time into the back four.
It's a position that Grant, who also has doubts over Jason Shackell, may ask him to play against Wolves tomorrow night.
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“I would have to if the other boys aren't fit,” he said. “But he can play there - he plays 10 yards further up the pitch anyway, he is intelligent, he understands the game. By and large I thought he read things well and used his intelligence to great effect for the team in a difficult period.
“Carl knows the game and understands the game, that's why I have no problems putting him back there, he knows what to do.”
When Blackpool did breach City's defence, Marshall was there, pulling off a fingertip save from Ben Burgess on 76 minutes which prevented Blackpool taking the lead, and then denying Kaspars Gorkss in injury time with another fine stop.
It was a fine debut from the Celtic stopper, although Grant admitted it hadn't been a perfect one.
“Early in the game his kicking I thought was poor, he wasn't using his intelligence,” he said. “I thought he made some good saves, but he is a good goalkeeper, there is no doubt about that. That's why I have chased him for about three months now, but I am very pleased to get him. He has done exceptionally well, he is a big presence there. He is a confident boy. There were difficult conditions, there were a few pass backs and things coming through to him that weren't easy in these conditions but I thought he controlled that well and I thought there was a calmness and an assurance about his performance.”
Much like the third round trip to Tamworth, it was a professional job by City.
In the circumstances with injuries and movement of players I thought the boys reacted very well,” said Grant. “We lost a poor goal but overall I have to be pleased with their commitment and their effort.
“There were a couple of chances that if the pitch had been a bit better we would probably have taken, but people take that little bit more care with conditions the way they are. Saying that I think Blackpool deserved a draw and I don't think there deserved to be a winner today. Both teams put so much into it, it would have been disappointing for either team to lose, but I would have accepted that as long as we were in the draw for the next round.”