Dion's case for the defence

PUBLISHED: 13:42 02 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:47 14 September 2010

DAVID CUFFLEY

Veteran Dion Dublin and youngster Michael Spillane are standing by for a call to defensive duties when Norwich City face Sunderland in the Coca-Cola Championship at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Veteran Dion Dublin and youngster Michael Spillane are standing by for a call to defensive duties when Norwich City face Sunderland in the Coca-Cola Championship at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Manager Peter Grant today said that Gary Doherty and Craig Fleming, both injured in Tuesday's 1-1 draw against Colchester, were serious doubts for the clash with Roy Keane's men.

Said Grant: “The centre-backs are struggling. I was surprised with Robert Earnshaw the other day when I said he was 70/30 against playing and he ended up starting the match, but I would say there's even less chance for the two of them.

“That's another problem but we've got to deal with it and get on with it.

“I have got young Micky Spillane and Dion Dublin who can play there as well so I've no worries about that.

“Craig was still sore yesterday, still tender. Hopefully that will have eased a little and he will be checked again today, but if I was a betting man I'd say he will definitely be out.

“I always like to play players in their rightful positions but sometimes when you've got a small squad you've got to look about you. Dion can play there, young Micky Spillane is a central defender so that's something I have got to make a decision about. I am sure if I asked Dion to play there he would have no problem doing that.”

While Doherty (back injury) and Fleming (hamstring) are doubtful, Grant said forwards Darren Huckerby and Earnshaw had suffered no ill effects from playing against Colchester.

“They've come through 90 minutes, which is good, and hopefully they will be a lot sharper on Saturday.”

Grant said he had already made his decision over who plays in goal against Sunderland but wanted to tell his players first.

Paul Gallacher performed well on Tuesday night but on-loan Jamie Ashdown is available again after a one-match ban.

Forward Paul McVeigh is also available again, having served a three-match suspension for his sending off against Cardiff.

Grant revealed that a decision would be made on injured winger Lee Croft next Tuesday as to whether he will require surgery on the ankle injury he suffered at Stoke last Saturday.

He said: “We hope that it isn't ligament damage but we will know more next week and if he needs an operation, it could be three months out. Tuesday will be the cut-off point for making a decision on that.”

With no new loan signings in the bag yet, Grant also revealed that he had refused Shrewsbury permission to take goalkeeper Joe Lewis on loan.

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