Grant likely to make defensive changes

PUBLISHED: 07:30 04 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:47 14 September 2010

CHRIS LAKEY

Peter Grant looks certain to be forced in to changes in his defence this afternoon after yet another double injury blow.

Peter Grant looks certain to be forced in to changes in his defence this afternoon after yet another double injury blow.

Having seen Darren Huckerby and Robert Earnshaw miss the trip to Stoke a week ago, Grant now has two defenders in his treatment room and doubtful for the game against Sunderland.

Gary Doherty was unable to come out for the second half against Colchester in midweek because of a back problem, and his replacement, Craig Fleming, picked up a hamstring problem before the end.

Both are extremely doubtful, leaving Grant to ponder his options - which are two players at the very opposite end of the age range.

Dion Dublin, 37, and 17-year-old Michael Spillane could both figure, although Grant is like to go for experience in his backline, even if it means reluctantly losing it as a front line option.

“He is here as a striker - I always want to play players in their rightful positions, but sometimes when you have a small squad you have to look about and you have no option,” Grant said.

“And then you say you would only play people if they were comfortable there - Dion has played there and young Micky Spillane is a centre-back, so it is something I have to make a decision about. I am sure if I asked Dion to play there he would have no problem doing that, I have had to move other boys around which I don't like doing.

“One team you have in your mind goes right out of the window when you have a few other injuries. We have to deal with it and I have no qualms if Dion has to play centre-back. I have seen him play centre back for Leicester, he has the experience.”

What Grant will be hoping for is the sort of surprise that Huckerby and Earnshaw sprung on him on Tuesday morning when they both declared their fitness - and eagerness - to play in that night's game.

“I was surprised with Earnie and Hucks the other day - I said 70-30, that's why I had to hang on, to see if we have a chance with these two this time.

“With Flem it was a strange one because he felt it in his backside, it didn't feel as if it was his hamstring because it goes right down, I think it was more neuro pain. He felt it become difficult and that was why for the last 10 minutes I did try and get him up the field, but he was even struggling to do that. He was still sore yesterday, still tender, but we are hoping that eases a little bit more today.”

The bonus for Grant was that Huckerby and Earnshaw finished the game and felt no ill effects.

“The last 20, 25 minutes Darren was dead on his feet,” Grant admitted. “I made changes but I thought the boys on the pitch could win the game for us.

“He hadn't trained from when he got the knock but both of them were so desperate to play - which was great for me, but gave me a little problem because I am not one who likes to keep his team right to the last minute. But I was absolutely delighted because they are match winners for us. If they want to play I am going to give them the biggest chance I possibly can. It was great they turned in 90 minutes and had had no ill effects, not been in for any treatment or whatever - I am hoping that has done them good and they will be a lot sharper come the weekend.”

Grant has made a firm decision on who will keep goal out of Paul Gallacher or Jamie Ashdown and also has Paul McVeigh back after a three-match suspension.

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