Boss reserves praise for keeper

City boss Peter Grant had praise for Paul Gallacher after the 'keeper almost became the hero in last night's Carling Cup penalty kick defeat to Port Vale.

City boss Peter Grant had praise for Paul Gallacher after the 'keeper almost became the hero in last night's Carling Cup penalty kick defeat to Port Vale.

Man of the match, Gallacher kept his second consecutive clean sheet and managed to save two penalties in the shoot out, before Jeff Smith's spot kick put the home side into round four.

But it was a far cry from the last few days for Gallacher who was dropped by Grant to make way for new loan signing Jamie Ashdown ahead of last Saturday's win against league leaders Cardiff at Carrow Road.

However, the Scottish international looked calm and assured against the Valiants and pulled off a string of decent saves including one low, fingertip diving save from a Michael Husbands' drive in the second half.

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He topped that effort with save from Richard Walker and Leon Constantine in the shoot out.

But although it was not enough to take City through, Grant was clearly pleased with what he saw from Gallacher and now faces a selection headache ahead of Saturday's trip to Stoke City.

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“He was terrific,” Grant said of his countryman. “I was just disappointed he couldn't get the saves that would make us win the game, because he deserved that for the way he's reacted to being left out at the weekend.

“He's had one really good save in the game - a good shot and he's tipped it round the post. I don't think he had much to do other than that. But as I say, he knows there's a challenge in there and a few of the boys know there's a challenge now.

“We got another clean sheet which is positive, we created chances, which is positive but we're out of the cup which is a major negative for me.”

And Grant admitted, Gallacher's performance had left him with a selection dilemma before Saturday.

“For sure, but that's what decision are all about, but I'm not worried about that,” he said. “I'll make a decision that I think is right for the game. It's going to be a very tough game and the team I pick will be the team I think can win the game.”

Meanwhile, Grant also backed Ryan Jarvis to improve after handing him a start on the left wing before moving him inside behind Robert Earnshaw and Youssef Safri was sacrificed.

“I thought he started the game and didn't maybe understand what we wanted him to do in that position and I thought that caused us problems early in the game,” Grant said.

“That's why I had to balance it off and put young (Robert) Eagle out there who's done ever so well. I moved Ryan in behind where I know he's comfortable and where I know he can play.

“He did better in there. People call that the 'Jolly' role, but not for me it's not and he's got to work extremely hard to get on the ball and he's got to do that better.

“In periods in the game he did it, then rested, and there's no rest in this game and no rest in this team. He'll get better at it. He understands that now.

“But I was disappointed I had to sacrifice Youssef for that, but that's football. You've got to get on with it.”

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