Doc plays waiting game

David Cuffley Defender Gary Doherty must wait to find out if he will be recalled to Championship duty for Norwich City tomorrow.The Canaries take on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane (3pm) with the 28-year-old centre-half available again after serving a one-match ban for his two yellow cards at Coventry last Saturday.

David Cuffley

Defender Gary Doherty must wait to find out if he will be recalled to Championship duty for Norwich City tomorrow.

The Canaries take on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane (3pm) with the 28-year-old centre-half available again after serving a one-match ban for his two yellow cards at Coventry last Saturday.

But with on-loan Alex Pearce and Jason Shackell generally performing well despite Tuesday's 1-0 defeat by Stoke, manager Glenn Roeder has to decide which combination he likes best.


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He said he was pleased with the way Pearce got to grips with Stoke.

“For a 19-year-old, I thought overall he did well. I would have liked him and Jason Shackell to have won more first headers, but they did pretty well,” said Roeder.

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“Gary Doherty is available again and has done well for us - it's basically a case of wait and see for all of them.

“I don't ever change my thinking. I'll always pick the best team we have available on the day.

“For us, it's all about getting back to winning a game of football.”

With the Canaries slipping to within five points of the bottom three after just one win in seven games, they certainly need to put some daylight between themselves and the drop zone.

There was mixed news on the injury front yesterday with Darren Huckerby, who has missed the last three games with a groin problem, back in training, but Spanish full-back Juan Velasco set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

“Darren came out and trained and got through the session. We'll see how he reacts overnight,” said Roeder.

“Juan looks likely to be out for a few weeks, though. He's done his thigh.”

That will be bad news for the 30-year-old former Spain international, who has signed for City until the end of the season and was hoping to extend his stay beyond then, but was substituted after little more than 20 minutes at Coventry and missed the Stoke game with injury.

Roeder admitted he was unlikely to have a loan signing available for the game against the Blades, but he still has nearly two weeks. The deadline closes on Thursday, March 27, at 5pm.

He said: “It's very hard to get players in on loan at this stage of the season. We've been up and down all the squad lists but there is no guarantee we will get one in at all before the deadline.”

The City boss is relishing tomorrow's challenge against a United side that has just had back-to-back wins over Plymouth and Coventry.

He said: “It should be a good game - Bramall Lane is always challenge. I have a great deal of admiration for Gary Speed, and James Beattie has scored plenty of goals in the Championship, and is dangerous.”

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