Croft has 'less than 50-50 chance'

David Cuffley Winger Lee Croft is given only a slim chance of facing Reading in the Canaries' crucial final Championship home game of the season on Monday night.Croft was recalled to the starting line-up at Ipswich last Sunday after being named among the substitutes for the previous two games, but he succumbed to a calf injury in the second half of City's 3-2 defeat and was replaced by Cody McDonald.

David Cuffley

Winger Lee Croft is given only a slim chance of facing Reading in the Canaries' crucial final Championship home game of the season on Monday night.

Croft was recalled to the starting line-up at Ipswich last Sunday after being named among the substitutes for the previous two games, but he succumbed to a calf injury in the second half of City's 3-2 defeat and was replaced by Cody McDonald.

Manager Bryan Gunn had hoped the 23-year-old forward would train today, but he had to miss the session at Carrow Road.


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“Crofty is 50-50, probably not even good as that. We'll have to wait and see tomorrow but it's not looking great,” said Gunn.

Defenders Adam Drury and Adrian Leijer also had slight problems but both should be available for Monday's game.

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Drury missed training today with a sore throat and was kept away from the rest of the squad, while the on-loan Leijer suffered a knock on his foot but was expected to train today or tomorrow.

Gunn will definitely be forced into one change with on-loan striker David Mooney unable to play against Reading, his own club, though there has so far been no move from manager Steve Coppell to recall his own player because of his own injury problems.

“We knew David wasn't going to be playing and we will have to make sure we have people we feel will go out and do a job,” said Gunn.

Cody McDonald, with five appearances as a substitute under his belt, could make his first start, while Alan Gow and Jamie Cureton - who has not featured in the 16 for nine matches - are other options alongside Alan Lee up front.

“Cody will come into our thoughts. Jamie has been training with us and will continue to train with us and might well have a part to play. Alan Gow is another who has played up front, so we have got options. We have options in wide areas as well,” said Gunn, who may have gaps to fill in the wide positions if Croft is ruled out.

“We have David Carney and Simon Lappin in wide areas - it's down to us to get the shape and the balance right.”

Gunn believes McDonald will relish the chance to start the match if he gets it.

“With the attitude he's got I know he just wants to get on the pitch. It's the same with the training pitch as well. He just loves being a football player,” said Gunn.

“We were standing at the Cathedral the other day in splendid surroundings and six weeks earlier he could have been on top of it building the new roof, which some of the guys were doing.

“It's been a big turnaround for him. He's just loving every minute of it and I know that if we did put him in the starting line-up he wouldn't let us down. He has that freshness about him - he'll go out there and give his all and that's all you can ask.

“He has no fear. He'll have seen all these guys on television but he went on there at Ipswich with no fear. He's certainly high in our thoughts for a starting place.”

The City squad were playing a practice match at Carrow Road today.

“Then we have tomorrow and Monday to make those final decisions, but there are opportunities for other players who have been patient and I hope they will be able to take those opportunities if they are given to them,” said Gunn.

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