Injuries dictate Grant's squad selection
CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant is hoping to get his timing spot on as he picks from the remains of his injury - and suspension-hit squad for Saturday's visit of Sheffield Wednesday.
Peter Grant is hoping to get his timing spot on as he picks from the remains of his injury - and suspension-hit squad for Saturday's visit of Sheffield Wednesday.
The City manager has left selection until the last minute on several occasions this season, but believes preparations have suffered as a result - which is why he is expected to settle on a line-up on Friday morning, up to 30 hours ahead of the evening kick-off.
Grant has to piece together a defence that is definitely without the suspended Jason Shackell and Dion Dublin, with Gary Doherty struggling with a groin strain suffered in the midweek Carling Cup defeat at Manchester City.
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Ian Murray did well alongside Doherty - but Grant could be short of someone to play alongside him. Michael Spillane, who did so well in midfield, is an option, as is right back Jon Otsemobor, who has played in the middle before.
Left back Adam Drury has missed the last two games because of a back problem while Darren Huckerby sat out the City game with an ankle injury - and their state of recovery will help Grant decide on who to play in midfield, where he has Julien Brellier available after his one-match suspension.
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Huckerby, Doherty, Drury and Luke Chadwick all missed training on Thursday, but Grant is concerned that preparations will suffer if he waits until late on Saturday for a verdict on their fitness levels.
“The blessing is I have two extra hours before the game,” said Grant. “Obviously I will give them as much time as I possibly can because we know the squad is thin as it is with suspensions and whatever.
“I am not going to rule any of them out and I don't think any of them would want me to rule them out at this moment in time. But I have to do preparations and I just feel in the games where we have not prepared as well as we can do we have struggled a little bit, when I have left it to the last moment.
“It is something maybe I have to look at and maybe tomorrow morning I will have to make a decision instead of leaving it to Saturday morning, which I have done on certain occasions.
“So, we will see how far they are - I know some of them have improved. Darren feels better, Adam feels a little bit better as well. Obviously Darren hasn't done any twisting and turning on his ankle yet, so that is a problem you have, and Adam is a back and anybody who has had a back injury knows they are either there or can go away in five minutes.
“Up to yesterday it improved a little bit and that was the first time it started to improve, so I am hopeful it will be the same today and it gives him a chance tomorrow to be involved, and if that is the case we will be delighted.
“But I will maybe make that decision quicker - I don't want to be leaving it as long so the players know exactly what they are doing.
“So far this season I have probably left it to the last minute too often. Circumstances have dictated that, but this time I will maybe do it right away and make the decision early.”