Grant's options limited

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City go into the fifth round draw for the FA Cup today - but manager Peter Grant can be forgiven for having other things on his mind.


Norwich City go into the fifth round draw for the FA Cup today - but manager Peter Grant can be forgiven for having other things on his mind.

The price of Saturday's 1-1 fourth round draw at Blackpool is a massive selection headache ahead of two vital Championship fixtures this week.

City face Wolves at home tomorrow and then Leeds at Carrow Road on Saturday - games which they must win to keep their heads above the relegation zone.

But Grant will be without striker Chris Brown - after his sending off at Blackpool - and more than likely Dion Dublin as well for tomorrow's game - with defender Jason Shackell still touch and go.

And come next Saturday he has Adam Drury serving a one-match ban after collecting a fifth booking at the weekend - and there is no telling whether Dublin will be fit by then either.

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Where ever you look - defence, midfield and attack - Grant has problems with a dearth of players limiting his options. With Craig Fleming on loan at Wolves, midfielder Carl Robinson could be called on to partner Gary Doherty in central defence. That leaves midfield bare - and with Robert Earnshaw alreday out for the season it could be Peter Thorne and Paul McVeigh up front tomorrow.

The transfer window closes on Wednesday and Grant needs reinforcements, although the latest name - Mark Fotheringham - to be linked with a move to Carrow Road might just prefer Rangers to Norwich.

Grant has reportedly offered the 23-year-old a two-year deal at City, but the midfielder is training with Rangers - and Aberdeen and Hibs are also interested.

Fotheringham - who quit Swiss side Aarau last week in the hope of rekindling his international career - began his career at Celtic beforer moving to Dundee and then Freiburg in Germany.

His agent, Charlie Duddy, said: “Mark has the offer of a two-year contract at Norwich and a host of other clubs are interested.

“There's strong interest from Scotland and England and we'll assess all our options before making any decision.”

Grant didn't attempt to hide his interest in the free agent.

“He is a terrific player, a great skilful player with wonderful ability, there is no doubt about that,” Grant said. “He went to Germany and did very well there and then went to Switzerland for a while and played exceptionally well and wants to come back to Britain.

“Unfortunately, Rangers are in there first, but I have obviously spoken to the boy, he is very, very keen to come to Norwich. But Rangers are a massive club and if he gets the chance to go there maybe that's the chance he will take. But he knows I am interested so we will see how things go on from here.”

Grant needs to hope that pieces of the transfer jigsaw puzzle fall his way or he could find City even closer to League One than they were at Blackpool on Saturday.

“I am desperate to add to the squad, but every time you think you are close to it the ball seems to move again,” he said. “Managers might let players out but only on loan - but they are asking for a massive loan fee, which is incredible, so I am finding it very, very difficult.

“We have to do something, but there are only so many players out there who would make this team better and when you try and get them they have got to be available.”

A goal in first-half injury time by Darren Huckerby put City ahead, only for Ian Evatt to equalise seven minutes later, although the incidents involving Brown, Drury and Dublin were arguably as significant as the result.

Dublin will be assessed again today, but as he hobbled out of Bloomfield Road the signs didn't look good.

“He will be a massive doubt for Tuesday so we have to play it by ear and see how he is,” said Grant. “But that's life. We have lost Earnie and Shacks and Andy Hughes for the day and Dion today. We have to learn to live with that. It has been happening since I came in so we have to deal with it - and it gives another opportunity for other guys.”