Doherty wants to keep the faith

DAVID CUFFLEY City defender Gary Doherty repaid the faith of his new boss at Birmingham on Tuesday night - and is determined to do so again when Coca-Cola Championship leaders Cardiff visit Carrow Road tomorrow (3pm).


City defender Gary Doherty repaid the faith of his new boss at Birmingham on Tuesday night - and is determined to do so again when Coca-Cola Championship leaders Cardiff visit Carrow Road tomorrow (3pm).

The Republic of Ireland international was recalled to the Canaries' starting line-up at St Andrew's and played a vital part in the 1-0 win that kicked off Peter Grant's reign as manager.

Doherty, 26, admitted he had not been sure of a recall after missing last Saturday's 3-3 draw at Queen's Park Rangers through suspension.

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Said Doherty: “I think you're always worried. The team got a hard-earned point at QPR, so there's always the temptation to stay with the same team but thankfully the manager opted for me and hopefully I merited that and will be in the team again tomorrow.

“I wasn't in that great a form going into the game after scoring an own goal at Plymouth and getting sent off against Burnley, so it was a tough one to come back into.

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“Birmingham were unbeaten at home, but I thought we put on a good performance and personally I was happy with my performance and hopefully I have put those two games behind me now.

“It couldn't have been a tougher start for the gaffer, going to Birmingham. Even though they were in a dip at form, they still hadn't lost at home and with us not winning away you wouldn't have called us winning there.

“Now we've got a tough one at home. They're in fine form, Cardiff. They're scoring goals for fun and keeping clean sheets, so it's a tough one, but one we're looking forward to it.”

Doherty said Grant had already made his presence felt at Colney.

He said: “It's been great. He more or less started on Monday and had to prepare the team for Tuesday, but he's got a few of his ideas across and he's said there's going to be more of his ideas coming across.

“Our performance on Tuesday was probably back to where we were at the start of the season, which is what we were aiming for.

“I don't know what happened to us. We seemed to play six great games and then five absolutely terrible games but hopefully now we can get back to the form we showed at the start of the season because that's definitely play-off form.”

The back four will present Grant with his biggest selection decision tomorrow thanks to Adam Drury's knee injury, with the skipper rated very doubtful. Jurgen Colin switched to left-back at St Andrew's in the second half, with substitute Craig Fleming - left out to accommodate Doherty's return - filling in at right-back.

Grant was exploring loan options yesterday but said: “Jurgen did well at left-back, even though it's not his natural side and Craig Fleming came in and was excellent. The two centre-backs were comfortable and they kept them organised and we got a clean sheet so we'd have no fear with carrying on with that.”

Grant said Tuesday's win was already consigned to the past and it was all about tomorrow.

He said: “It's nice coming back with a victory and a smile, but as soon as you drop off the bus at Colney, it's time to go again. Some of the boys were in on Wednesday morning for the cool-down day, so all of a sudden you know the preparation goes into the next game and that's the way football is. The last game's past, you deal with it and get on with it and get ready for the next one.”

He said he could hardly wait for his first home game in charge, more than seven years after leaving the club as a player.

“To come back as manager is going to be a fantastic moment for me and one that I'm really going to enjoy and there will be fantastic atmosphere playing against the form team in the league. So what else could I ask for in the first game? All I can ask for on top of that is three points,” said Grant.

“We know the prize. As I've said to the players, every game and every game is a step closer to where we want to work and that's the Premier League. That's what every victory means and that's the ultimate goal for us.”

City striker Robert Earnshaw will be facing his former club and Grant hopes it will give him an added incentive.

Said Grant: “I said to Robert, you've a wonderful knack because you put fear into the opposition. It's a fantastic thing that, when I played up in Glasgow, Ally McCoist had. You were always worried where he was. For 89 minutes, he could never get a kick then all of a sudden he produces a moment of magic and scores goal.

“Robert Earnshaw's got that, you can see it. He played against two central defenders the other night who played in the Premiership last season and I thought he gave them a torrid time.

“He missed a couple of chances, but the pleasing thing for me he was in there. He showed composure at times to get the chances and hopefully he's keeping his goals for Cardiff.”

Cardiff will be without suspended striker Michael Chopra, which could mean a recall for veteran Kevin Campbell, a call-up for French signing Luigi Glombard, from Nantes, or a more forward role for midfielder Paul Parry.

“Chopra's suspended and that's a big blow for them, and it's a boost for us because he's a wonderful talent,” said Grant. “When I was at Bournemouth we tried to get him on loan because he's always scored goals but we couldn't get him out.

“He's started the season fantastically well. They've got a lot of top players there. Steven Thompson's come down from Scotland, a player I know from Dundee United and Rangers, who's done terrifically well. And they've got an old head in Kevin Campbell, but I know they can change it and they'll still be a very strong side.”

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