Man Utd's cup exit provides loan option

Peter Grant may have found some light at the end of his loan tunnel - thanks to Manchester United supremo Sir Alex Ferguson. The Canaries boss has been struggling to tempt a Premiership club to loan him a young player - preferably a central defender - and was waiting on the first round of Carling Cup results to see how the top flight clubs fared.

Peter Grant may have found some light at the end of his loan tunnel - thanks to Manchester United supremo Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Canaries boss has been struggling to tempt a Premiership club to loan him a young player - preferably a central defender - and was waiting on the first round of Carling Cup results to see how the top flight clubs fared.

It was United who were the biggest casualties, going out to City's Championship rivals Coventry - and now Fergie is ready to let more players go out on loan to avoid a repeat upset.

And that will be music to the ears of Grant, who tried to tempt young defender Ryan Shawcross to leave Old Trafford for a stint at Norwich - failing only when the youngster opted for a loan move to Stoke, which was closer to his family home.

Ferguson has retained most of his young stars this season in an effort to avoid the problems he encountered last term when he ran out of bodies in the quest for honours. But part of his thinking was based on a decent Carling Cup run offering the fringe men in his first-team squad some valuable experience and minutes on the pitch at a competitive level.

Malta forward Michael Mifsud derailed those hopes with his double strike for the Sky Blues as Coventry sent United spinning to defeat.

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So, the likes of Phil Bardsley, Jonny Evans, Chris Eagles and Dong Fangzhou could find themselves playing their football elsewhere for a little while as Ferguson begins to plot another way forward.

"We looked upon the League Cup as an avenue for these players to play," reflected Ferguson. "Now it has gone and with Gary Neville and Owen Hargreaves coming back we will have a good strong squad, so some of them need to go."