Midfield must deliver

Peter Grant will demand his under-performing players begin to hit the back of the net during Robert Earnshaw's absence. Earnshaw has scored 17 of City's 35 goals this season, but it's a long way down to the next names on the scorer's chart - Darren Huckerby, Dickson Etuhu and Dion Dublin, who all have three each.

Peter Grant will demand his under-performing players begin to hit the back of the net during Robert Earnshaw's absence.

Earnshaw has scored 17 of City's 35 goals this season, but it's a long way down to the next names on the scorer's chart - Darren Huckerby, Dickson Etuhu and Dion Dublin, who all have three each.

Youssef Safri netted his first of the season last weekend while none of the current first choice back four has troubled the scorers this season.

Midfielder Carl Robinson has two goals, as has right winger Lee Croft.


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Grant insists those records must change now that Earnshaw has been ruled out, possibly until the end of the season.

“We have boys here who have to get goals,” he said. “I have said in the last few weeks we have to get goals from around the field. I think you have seen that last week (against Plymouth) - even though we didn't play well, the amount of opportunities we had in the box and passed the buck and didn't hit the target and didn't score in a game where we could have been comfortable without playing well. But we could have scored more goals and created more chances.

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“We have to be braver in the areas and the boys know there is no hiding place now because we have to score the goals.

“We have got good players here, there is no doubt of that - but losing 17 goals…”

Grant brought in striker Chris Brown from Sunderland last week to complement Earnshaw while he was close to wrapping up a deal for a goal-scoring midfielder - who he refused to name - only to see it fall through. However, the Earnshaw injury won't change his priorities in the January transfer window.

“No, because I still think there is an imbalance throughout the team,” he said. “We thought we had already got a player signed, we had agreed everything with him Saturday evening, met him late on Saturday evening, into the early hours of Sunday morning.

“Everything was agreed, personal terms, the lot, and then we got a phone call on the Monday morning saying his wife was a bit concerned because she was pregnant and didn't want to move away from where she was.

“I always think you should probably think about that before you came to meet us - don't waste my time, don't waste the club's time. I think it would have been a player who would have been a big player for us. It wasn't to be, but this time it wasn't the club, it was the player, our club had agreed everything - I understand that because personal situations change all the time, but surely he knew the personal situation before he came and spoke.”

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