Norwich City sweating on Lewis Grabban’s fitness for Middlesbrough clash
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City striker Lewis Grabban is the only injury concern ahead of Friday's epic Championship promotion battle against Middlesbrough.
City boss Alex Neil confirmed at Colney on Thursday afternoon Grabban will get every chance to prove his fitness after a precautionary exit from the substitutes' bench in the midweek 2-0 win at Leeds, after he felt pain in the ankle operated on recently.
Key midfielder Bradley Johnson is available again after serving a two-match ban.
'Most of the squad is fine, they came through the game okay. Lewis obviously pulled up in the warm up,' he said. 'We are hoping he is going to be okay to be involved against Boro. The fact we have eight days after this game means you can take a calculated risk with what is at stake and we have a good recovery period so that will be a factor, but he won't be risked. If he can play and he isn't going to do himself any harm then he will be involved.
'It's important to have Bradley back. He gives us different options, which is vital. We are in good shape right now. They're all desperate to play, whether it's Bradley or anybody else. They're desperate to be in the starting eleven and show their worth to the team. It's about picking the right combinations and making sure I'm putting out the right side to win that particular game. If that includes Bradley, then so be it – if it doesn't, then it doesn't. It's a great situation for me to be in, it's a great situation for the squad to be in as well.'
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Neil made no attempt to play down the significance of a promotion clash against Boro with second-placed Norwich a point clear of the Teessiders.
'It's a huge game for both clubs. Whichever team comes out on top, if there is a winner, will have a huge advantage going into the remaining two games,' he said. 'We're really confident, we're in a good place the moment. We know what our task is, and if we play at our full potential, then we can beat anyone in the league. We've got to make sure we hit those heights in the game tomorrow night.
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'For both teams, a win is what is needed. We'll go into the game with the approach of trying to do that, and I'm sure they will be the same. It should make for an entertaining game hopefully.
'We recognise how hard we've worked to get to this situation. This game will go a long way in deciding the fate of all four of the top teams. We've got to make sure that we keep doing what we've been doing, and hopefully go on and try and get the points.
'Middlesbrough is stubborn and difficult to play against. They're well organised, and I think they're a counter-attacking team.
'We'll need to make sure we move the ball crisply when we've got it, and that we guard against them breaking when they do.'