Grant wary of asking too much
CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant admits he is wary of “flogging a dead horse” as he contemplates two games in the space of three days for veteran striker Dion Dublin.
Peter Grant admits he is wary of “flogging a dead horse” as he contemplates two games in the space of three days for veteran striker Dion Dublin.
The 37-year-old has finally switched to his preferred striker's role after a stint covering in defence, but Grant's plans to use him sparingly over the busy holiday period look to have been shattered by an neck injury to Peter Thorne.
While Dublin is the obvious choice to partner top scorer Robert Earnshaw in attack against Queen's Park Rangers this afternoon , Grant also has Monday's trip to Crystal Palace to consider.
“It is a difficult one,” he said. “To be fair to the big man, he wants to play games of football, but sometimes you don't want to end up flogging a dead horse.
“It is a lot to ask people to play constantly - I know, through being at that age at one stage in my career, when you are just playing games.
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“You always want to train as well, because I always felt if I didn't train I felt a little bit leggy the next day. It is trying to balance that and having him as fresh as we possibly can come kick-off time.
“So it is definitely a situation I have got to watch very closely because I don't want to end up him getting injured either. Thorney with his neck injury hasn't given me many options there so it is something I will have to watch over this week as well, yet again.
“I have to make sure I utilise that position properly.”
It's the spell of four games in the space of 10 days straddling Christmas and the New Year which has forced Grant, and other managers, to ensure their players are wrapped in cotton wool.
“For every club all you are really doing is having head counts every day,” he said. “There is not much coaching going on in that you get them on the training field, keep them fresh, make a few points about games past, games coming up - more of that than actually leg work with them.”
Grant doesn't have too many options, with Thorne touch and go, left back Adam Drury almost certainly out and midfielder Carl Robinson suspended.
There is also a concern that Lee Croft is not yet running on all cylinders after a long absence with ankle ligament damage.
“It's a case of getting his fitness back, that's the biggest thing with Lee,” said Grant. “He has had more games and more game time than I would like to have given him because I think it's very unfair for the period of time he has been out, but I have had to do it.”