Canaries told to put thinking caps on

PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 October 2006 | UPDATED: 09:46 14 September 2010

Peter Grant has demanded his players put on their thinking caps and use their brains as well as their feet as he picked up the pieces of a shattering week in the Potteries.

Peter Grant has demanded his players put on their thinking caps and use their brains as well as their feet as he picked up the pieces of a shattering week in the Potteries.

If the Canaries boss was indignant at the Carling Cup exit at Port Vale in midweek then he was positively seething at the 5-0 hammering dished out by Stoke on Saturday.

And, once again, he pointed an accusing finger at his players - although this time he stopped short of naming names, as he did a week ago after the defeat of leaders Cardiff.

“They have got to be able to think about the game and understand the game as well as play it,” said Grant, whose misery was compounded by the second-half dismissal of on-loan keeper Jamie Ashdown. “Last week we were maybe lacking quality thinkers, people that can understand the game as well as play it. That is going to be massive for us if we want to progress, especially the way I coach and what I expect from the team.

“Now I have to ask them have they got it upstairs - if they have got it upstairs to understand that, when the game is at 100mph and playing on the front foot, do they understand, can they move the ball quickly, can they think about the game as the game is happening so quickly,” he said.

Grant's managerial career had started with consecutive wins, one away, one at home, but he went to Stoke without three key players -leading scorer Robert Earnshaw, Darren Huckerby and midfielder Youssef Safri - and with little room for manoeuvre as far as replacements were concerned.

Veteran Dion Dublin played a lone role up front - with central defender Gary Doherty pushed into a role just behind the midfielders in a 4-1-4-1 system - but Andy Hughes and sub Peter Thorne were clearly not match fit.

“Peter Thorne could not have played 90 minutes, Dion Dublin wasn't supposed to play 90, so with the players we had available it was the right system,” said Grant. “I would be the first to put my hand up and say if I had got it wrong, but if I had two strikers on the bench I would have played with two strikers, but how can I ask a guy that has been out for months to come back and play in a game like this? Andy Hughes plays and is not fit, he's just back to training - I have three injured players on the pitch, impossible.”

City have the chance to put things right at home to Colchester tomorrow, but Grant admits Huckerby and Earnshaw are still major doubts.

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