Protection measures for City young ones

PUBLISHED: 08:35 24 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:01 14 September 2010


Peter Grant will wrap teenager Chris Martin and defender Jason Shackell in cotton wool this week as he prepares for Saturday's tough fourth-round FA Cup visit to Blackpool.

Peter Grant will wrap teenager Chris Martin and defender Jason Shackell in cotton wool this week as he prepares for Saturday's tough fourth-round FA Cup visit to Blackpool.

Martin steps out for the reserves at Carrow Road tonight, but won't be allowed to play the full 90 minutes, while Grant will be happy just to see central defender Shackell on the training pitch after a fortnight when he has seen little or no action because of an ankle injury.

Having been elevated to Grant's first team squad, Martin missed his usual weekend fix of Academy football to travel to Burnley last weekend - and then missed out on his first senior appearance when Turf Moor was declared unplayable.

But the signs are that the youngster is on the verge of a breakthrough.

"He will play for the reserves against Northampton because I don't want him in a situation like Rossi Jarvis where he hasn't been able to play," said Grant. "He will play part of the game, but not too much with Saturday in mind because he is very much in my plans."

Shackell is still causing Grant a headache, having not been able to train fully for a fortnight - although he confirmed yesterday that he would have started the aborted match at Burnley last weekend.

"He joined in today, but not fully, and he is going to be a big concern," admitted Grant. "He felt he was fit enough to have played at Burnley but in the end we didn't have to take the chance. I don't like playing players who haven't been training - and Shacks hasn't trained for a couple of weeks now."

Should Grant decide not to risk Shackell, it reduces his options to Gary Doherty and striker Dion Dublin - but it doesn't mean the need for a centre-half has moved up his list of must-dos in the transfer window.

"I am just hoping they are all fit and make it through this period," said Grant. "We still have the opportunity to take on loan players into March so it is not as if everything has to be done by the end of January.

"I have always believed the imbalance is further up field and that's what I am working on."

Grant confirmed that he planned to make more additions to his squad - but was still being forced to play a waiting game.

"I am talking to a few clubs - but when things will actually get done you can't tell.

"There is a lot of talking getting done, but not much else," he said. "It is driving me up the wall at times. You think you are nearly there and then something else crops up and there is nothing much you can do about it. It's just a case of trying to get it all to work."

Peter Grant confirmed that Rossi and Ryan Jarvis and Robert Eagle will join Martin in the City Reserves line-up against Northampton Town Reserves at Carrow Road tonight (7.30pm).

However, no decision has been made on whether Paul McVeigh or Peter Thorne will also figure.

"We will decide after the morning training session exactly who plays," said Grant.

City team (probable): Lewis, Bexfield, Halliday, Spillane, Yong, McVeigh, Rossi Jarvis, Lathrope, Eagle, Martin, Ryan Jarvis. Subs: Arnold, Quaye, Smart, Eames, Muddel.

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