Banish the Blues

PUBLISHED: 11:31 13 February 2007 | UPDATED: 10:04 14 September 2010

Defender Jason Shackell has warned his team mates not to let dreams of a glamour FA Cup tie against Chelsea distract them from their replay against Blackpool tonight.

Defender Jason Shackell has warned his team mates not to let dreams of a glamour FA Cup tie against Chelsea distract them from their replay against Blackpool.

The 23-year-old academy product admitted it is difficult not to let thoughts wander to a possible fifth round tie against the Premiership champions but said City could pay the ultimate price if they are not fully focussed on beating Blackpool.

The Canaries drew 1-1 with the Seasiders at Bloomfield Road to set up the replay and Shackell thinks Norwich will have to be at their best if they are to meet Chelsea at the weekend.

“It's going to be tough, they're a physical side and they're going to make it hard for us. They've got some good players and we've got to be up for it to make sure we get the right kind of result.

“It's really hard not to think of Chelsea to be honest but you've got to put that to one side. If you think about that then we will take our eye off the ball. We've got to focus on beating Blackpool and it's as simple as that to be honest.

“If it happens then brilliant but we've got a tough game tomorrow night first and if we go out there then we know there's a good reward waiting for us.”

Shackell has just recovered from an ankle injury sustained on the morning of the 3-1 defeat against Plymouth and, despite having played only 45 minutes against Wolves since then, said he is fit and raring to go.

“I feel good. I've now trained for a week and I feel ready so I'm available for selection. I'm waiting for the manager's call to be honest.”

While the Canaries had to contend with another postponement against Luton Town at the weekend, the extra two days training has given Shackell an excellent chance of being restored to the heart of the defence.

However, the youngster admitted it has been a difficult period for him on the sidelines as he also picked up a calf injury in trying to recover from the ankle knock.

“It started off with the ankle and then closely followed by the calf so it's been a bit of a hindrance. It's been fairly annoying but I feel good again now so I just want to get some good training under my belt, hopefully get back in the team and then have another run of games.

“It was the calf that was the last injury but that's now fully healed and I'm ready to go. It's been extremely frustrating for me but I haven't been out for that long.

“Obviously some of the boys like Luke Chadwick have been on the sidelines for a long time and it's not a nice place to be. You want to be out with the lads playing day in, day out and not missing any games but it's part and parcel of football.

“It's only been a few weeks but I'm back, I feel good and now I've just got to make sure I get back in the team.”

With recent signings Mark Fotheringham and Simon Lappin unavailable as they were signed after the original cup tie, manager Peter Grant will have to change the side that performed so well in beating Leeds United.

Skipper Adam Drury will return from suspension to slot in at left back, while Andy Hughes is likely to get his opportunity as part of a three-man midfield in place of Fotheringham. The former Reading man will want to put the memory of being substituted as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat to Wolves firmly to the back of his mind and will undoubtedly be out to prove a point to Grant.

Dickson Etuhu and Youssef Safri will be his midfield partners, with the Moroccan returning from international duty free from injury.

Chris Brown is likely to spearhead a front three with Darren Huckerby and Lee Croft supporting the 22-year-old from the flanks, while Dion Dublin may have to settle for a place on the bench.

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