Canaries’ resources at stretching point
CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant will leave team selection to the last minute today as his summer transfer policy is put to its biggest test yet.
Peter Grant will leave team selection to the last minute today as his summer transfer policy is put to its biggest test yet.
The City boss was frustrated by the lack of options he faced last season during selection crises - hence the premature blooding of a number of younger players.
With that in mind he went out in the summer to build a squad in which there was competition and back-up for every place in the team and every formation change - and with a mini-crisis in midfield, the plans get put to the test at Hull today.
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Julien Brellier's fitness problems, plus the definite absence of Mark Fotheringham, because of ankle ligament damage, means he is down in numbers in centre midfield, with the left-sided midfielder Simon Lappin's thigh injury merely exacerbating the issue.
However, there are options, the latest of whom, Ian Murray, joined the cause yesterday. Luke Chadwick will be waiting in the wings for a recall after being dropped for the visit of Southampton last weekend - and Lee Croft is not entirely inexperienced in the centre midfield role.
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The odds, it would seem, are on Chadwick, should Brellier not make it.
"I would probably see Chadwick as more of an option than Croft because he is a more direct player, but Chadwick can play in that area of the pitch," he said.
"You have other options you can look at as well, but, yes, it is disappointing we don't have the ones available, because I keep wanting people to play in their best position, and in some situations that is not going to happen.
"The disappointing thing for me is you can't get working on it quickly enough. We will leave it as late as possible so we have as much a full complement of players as we possibly can.
"We have gone from a situation of having maybe six midfield players to where you could maybe end up with two, so it just shows when people think you are bringing a lot of numbers in in certain areas of the field, that it quickly changes.
"It is a difficult one because it is all midfield players you are losing and that seemed to be the thing with last year, that our injuries seemed to be in one place at a time.
"If you had three injuries it was three centre forwards, or three centre backs.
"Unfortunately it is central midfield players who are getting it this year."
The injuries have strengthened Grant's resolve to bring in new players.
"The transfer thinking has been on-going, but you obviously want people in," he said. "I genuinely feel with all the boys fit we are probably two or three players short, so I am still making phone calls, clubs are still saying, 'wait a couple of weeks'.
"Even if we get two or three I will still be looking to get others in because it is an on-going process to try and keep the group balanced and making sure you always have cover with quality. It is alright bringing quantity in, but you have to look for that quality to keep the performance levels up."