Doherty injury paves way for Dion

PUBLISHED: 06:45 24 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:51 14 September 2010

Veteran striker Dion Dublin could be back in the heart of the Canaries defence this weekend as Gary Doherty struggles to shake off an ankle injury.

Veteran striker Dion Dublin could be back in the heart of the Canaries defence this weekend as Gary Doherty struggles to shake off an ankle injury.

Dublin had been a lynchpin at the back as City kept clean sheets in victories over Sunderland and West Brom away.

But he found himself on the bench for Sunday's derby clash at Ipswich, City boss Peter Grant reluctant to put the 37-year-old's legs through 90 minutes on the heavy Portman Road surface.

However, it was Doherty who suffered because of the underfoot conditions, picking up an injury during City's 3-1 shocker which has forced him out of training this week, with Grant rating him only a 50-50 chance to feature against Hull tomorrow.

While Dublin's first role is as a striker, Grant says he has no problems moving him back alongside Jason Shackell, with whom he had formed an impressive partnership.

"I have no qualms with that," he said. "It was a big concern for me because I thought Dion had organised us very well. But I was concerned with the state of the pitch and I wasn't going to ask his legs to do 90 minutes.

"He is a big part of the squad, a big part of the team when he plays and I have no problems with Dion whatsoever, whether he's up front or at the back."

Grant still has Craig Fleming sidelined, with a return to full training pencilled in for next week, while further up the field he has to make a decision over the right midfield position, with Luke Chadwick joining Lee Croft on the injury list after colliding with a Portman Road advertising hoarding.

Chadwick suffered a deep cut to his knee which was cleaned up by a surgeon but is likely to be out for six weeks, while Croft is still three weeks away from a return.

"He's three weeks away but looking good," said Grant. "He's worked really hard to keep his fitness up as much as he possibly can so he's looking good.

"If it's down to his determination he would be back next week, but we have to be very, very clever on that because sometimes with these injuries you feel good in yourself, but not when you actually join in and there is no way I can afford to have a setback with him.

"I am not willing to accept a setback knowing we are coming into a very busy period."

The absences of Croft and Chadwick continue an unwanted injury sequence for Grant.

"We had two strikers out at one time, Hucks and Earnie, the two centre backs, Flem and Doc, now two right wingers, Croft and Luke," he said.

"It sometimes happens - it's not so bad if you get an injury in different areas of the field where you have a little bit of strength, but at this moment in time it's not working that way for us. But we'll accept that and get on with it. I have players in the squad I can utilise in different positions."

Bizarrely, a number of City players finished last Sunday's match with cuts.

"I don't know if that was something to do with the pitch, but a lot of the boys have cuts," he said. "I know the pitch was in poor condition but it was unusual to have so many cuts in the game."

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