Drury could miss out on landmark game

DAVID CUFFLEY City captain Adam Drury's next career landmark may have to be put on hold - if he fails to recover from a back injury in time to lead his side into action at Barnsley.


City captain Adam Drury's next career landmark may have to be put on hold - if he fails to recover from a back injury in time to lead his side into action at Barnsley tomorrow.

Drury is in line to make his 250th senior appearance for the Canaries in the Coca-Cola Championship match at Oakwell (3pm), but the milestone may have to wait as he suffers the after-effects of a tumble over an advertising hoarding in the opening minutes of Tuesday's 3-2 win at Luton.

After lengthy treatment, the 28-year-old skipper managed to carry on and lead his side to a much-needed victory, but manager Peter Grant expressed concern over the position of perimeter boards after the second such collision suffered by one his players this season.

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Winger Luke Chadwick has only just returned to full training after having surgery on a gashed knee when he was sent hurtling into a board on his debut at Ipswich in November.

Grant said: “It's very difficult. I know how difficult it is as a manager at the side of the pitch. For the players it's difficult because of the pace they are running at.

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“You see our own stadium is the same. It just takes a knock from a player, because both of them are running at high speed. There's no barrier to put your hands up, everything's so low, you're already over it and it is dangerous. I've seen it a few times happening now, not just this season.

“Unfortunately for us, if somebody's not kicking us, we're getting the boards to do the business for us instead. It probably would have summed up the way injuries have been going for us if Adam had had to come off at the time.

“He landed right on the base of his back when he fell over the hoarding. There's a drop of about four feet and he toppled over and landed on the base of his back, on the step.”

But Grant paid tribute to Drury for battling on at Kenilworth Road.

He said: “Great credit to him that he continued because there's no doubt someone could easily have come off the pitch, but he wanted to fight on and I was delighted for him that we got the result. It showed the character within the group and he played a captain's role by playing the game because it would have been easy to come off. He's been suffering the last couple of days because of it.”

Drury is not the only concern for Grant as City head for Barnsley. Striker Chris Brown faces up to three weeks out with hamstring trouble, Dion Dublin has yet to return to training because of the calf strain he suffered at Preston 10 days ago and Darren Huckerby is still feeling the effects of a bruised shin and injured calf.

“Chris will be two to three weeks out,” said Grant. “I'm disappointed to lose him because he's so keen to do well and I think he was getting there all the time, beginning to know what we were looking for and he's starting to be a bigger threat in the box, without scoring. I think Chris Martin was enjoying playing with him and they were getting a bit of an understanding even in the short time they played together.”

Barnsley boosted their survival hopes with a 1-0 win at Stoke in Monday's televised match, thanks to a goal from Istvan Ferenczi, whose arrival in January with fellow Hungarian striker Peter Rajczi has given the Tykes a timely lift.

Manager Simon Davey has the luxury of a fully-fit squad to choose from tomorrow, with just defender Paul Reid struggling because of a bad case of blisters.

Grant was at the Britannia Stadium to watch Barnsley.

He said: “I thought they were terrific - not just in quality. I thought they worked ever so hard. They went out there and had a right go at Stoke. Stoke didn't play well at all, but Barnsley didn't allow them to play. They went to the Britannia and right from the off they went at them. They rode their luck in the first 15 minutes, but I think they deserved it. They showed courage and determination and they've got players who can play.

“The two Hungarian boys have come down and given them a lift. You know it's going to be another tough place, because they're another team that's fighting for their lives. We're all in there together, we know what that's like. It would be great to go and put back-to-back away victories together. We know it's going to be tough but I always fancy us if we do it right.”

Davey singled out Huckerby as the biggest threat to his side, recalling his role in the 5-1 win over Barnsley at Carrow Road in August.

He said: “Huckerby is a world-beater on his day. You only have to look at the game at Norwich earlier this season to see what Huckerby can do to a team. He was on fire on the day. He can beat any opponent and score goals when he is playing well.”

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