Youngsters could solve injury crisis

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City's younger players could be in line for an appearance this afternoon should the Canaries' injury crisis be too close for comfort.


Norwich City's younger players could be in line for an appearance this afternoon should the Canaries' injury crisis be too close for comfort.

Peter Grant is wrestling with a number of concerns that could mean he won't be able to name a team until lunchtime, and with major doubts over Jason Shackell, Dion Dublin, Ian Murray, David Strihavka and Adam Drury, there is scope for a first start of the season for some of the fringe players.

The City boss has Chris Martin, Rossi Jarvis, Michael Spillane, Andrew Cave-Brown and Robert Eagle waiting in the wings - and says he won't be scared to name them in his squad.

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“They will maybe have to,” he said. “With that amount of bodies we haven't got that amount of cover so it may be an opportunity for some of them.

“We will assess it, but if it means naming a team Saturday lunchtime I will do. Sometimes needs must and if that means some of the young boys coming in - it proved last year that they have to come in and that is sometimes how careers start.”

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Striker Martin, who has just two Carling Cup appearances to his name this season, is champing at the bit for a start, while defender Spillane was an unused sub in midweek for the cup trip to Rochdale. Aggressive midfielder Jarvis has also yet to play for the first team but could be on the bench to cover for a midfield which is likely to feature Darel Russell and Julien Brellier.

When Grant assesses of his walking wounded he might consider taking a risk or two, bearing in mind there is a two-week break coming up, with City's next fixture not until September 15, at home to Charlton.

“It depends on how bad they are,” he admitted. “If I felt there was a progression I will look at that because of the two-week break because I will maybe have no option.

“But if I thought if I played them it was going to hinder me when we come back again, then no. I just can't. Even a simple thing like an illness - and I'm not saying illness sis simple - I took a chance (on Ian Murrray at Rochdale) and it backfired on us, not just on me but the boys. That is unfair on the rest of them and unfair on the player. I am loath to take chances.

“If I felt it wasn't going to hinder them I would take a chance, yes.”

Shackell appears to be the worst because of an ankle injury sustained at Rochdale, where Dublin was knocked around in a bruising encounter that lasted through 120 minutes and a penalty shoot-out before City went home victorious, if not battle-scarred.

“You are used to that, you are prepared for that,” said Grant. “They are extremely fit guys who have worked hard through the summer time. Games always take it out of you, but that is the nature of the beast. You have got to accept the ones who are fit and well will be ready come Saturday. That is what you prepare your body for all summer time during your pre-season.

“It is just a pity that some of the boys playing weren't 100pc fit anyway and you have to put them in situations when you don't want to.”

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