Tired Safri adds to City's woes

CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant may have to resort to a dressing room head count tonight as Norwich City resume Championship duties at Preston with a whole load of selection questions marks.


Peter Grant may have to resort to a dressing room head count tonight as Norwich City resume Championship duties at Preston with a whole load of selection questions marks.

Darren Huckerby is suspended, along with midfielder Dickson Etuhu, while goalkeeper David Marshall could be out for at least six weeks after suffering ankle ligament damage at Chelsea on Saturday.

The City boss now has major worries over influential midfielder Youssef Safri, who may be feeling the exertions of two FA Cup games in the space of less than a week.

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The Moroccan is rated "very doubtful" by Grant, who also has concerns over central defender Jason Shackell (heel), while Lee Croft and Chris Brown were yesterday feeling "tightness" after the energy-sapping defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Grant has recalled teenager Andrew Cave-Brown from King's Lynn as a precautionary measure.

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"I would say Shacks will be fine, but I would say Safri will be struggling," said Grant. "I think that is more through tiredness - when he plays Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday that is a bit much for him.

"Croft is struggling with tightness, Chris Brown as well. Crofty is on the way back from injuries and although he has been playing games since he came back we have had to monitor him closely because we don't want to be setting him back.

"Chris Brown has had a lot of football in the last couple of weeks because he was out inured prior to coming here."

On-loan Celtic keeper Marshall's return depends on the results of scans, although X-rays have revealed no break.

"He had a X-ray and the X-ray was clear, but that doesn't make it any better," said Grant. "He will go for scans, we think there is ligament damage there. It doesn't look that great.

"I would say the best we can hope for is maybe six weeks, that's the best we can hope for. Hopefully we will be able to look after David here.

"We have got him to the end of the season and hopefully we can look after him. We will make sure he gets the best treatment that is available to him because we'd like him to be part of the future."

Grant can make a move in the loan market - but is expecting problems.

"It keeps changing every time," he said. "Every time you say we will try and put this part of the jigsaw together it seems to be change. We have a few other boys injured as well, it is not just the goalkeeper.

"We will make a few phone calls today but unfortunately there are a lot of people with a lot of games over the next few weeks, that's the biggest problem. I understand that because we are in the same position ourselves."

Marshall's absence opens the door for Paul Gallacher - and Grant is confident he won't be let down by a keeper he has now dropped three times since taking over.

"I have never been disappointed with Paul's performances," he said. "I have said that from the start. I just think certain things had to change, and I changed Paul when he was having clean sheets.

"His attitude has been first class. I just hope he goes in and gets his just rewards, for his work ethic and his banter around the group when he's been left out.

"I think David would be the first to say that he has been terrific around about the training, so good luck to him and I hope he does well."

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