Dublin up for the challenge

DAVID CUFFLEY Dion Dublin is ready to man the barricades again at the heart of the Norwich City defence - for as long as it takes skipper Jason Shackell to recover from ankle ligament damage.


Dion Dublin is ready to man the barricades again at the heart of the Norwich City defence - for as long as it takes skipper Jason Shackell to recover from ankle ligament damage.

The evergreen 38-year-old, already on the scoresheet twice this season in his preferred role as a striker, replaced Shackell as captain and central defender in Saturday's Coca-Cola Championship home defeat by Cardiff.

It was not a happy afternoon for Dublin, who performed as well as ever but had a goal disallowed and blamed himself for Cardiff's winner as the Canaries went down 2-1, slipping to 20th in the table after four matches.

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With big doubts over whether Shackell, who suffered the injury in last week's Carling Cup tie at Rochdale, will be back in time for the next game against Crystal Palace on Saturday week, manager Peter Grant may well step up his search for a loan player as cover.

But Dublin is only too willing to continue defensive duties.

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He said: “I'll do what's needed. I'm hoping Shacks will be OK over the next two weeks, possibly three weeks. I don't know when he's going to be back.

“If there's a gap to be filled and the manager wants me to fill it then I'll do it for as long as need be and as well as I possibly can.”

Grant painted a gloomy picture of Shackell's prospects.

“We've had the scan and there's ligament damage,” he said. “So obviously it's fortunate we've not got a game for a couple of weeks so we will see if Jason is available at the end of that couple of weeks. We will have to see.

“But it's a blow for us because he's been doing well. It's a blow as all we seem to do at the moment is pick up injuries.

“And it's another ankle as well so we will assess him over the period and see how he is. Hopefully he won't be out for as long as Mark Fotheringham or Jimmy Smith.

“It's been a disappointing day and we just hope Jason will be available to us by the time we turn back round again.”

Dublin said the dressing room, where Grant kept his players for an extended inquest on the seventh home defeat of his managerial reign, was “not a very nice place to be”.

He said: “It is just very sombre - and frustrating to dominate a game for so long and then lose the game 2-1. It is only down to us, down to the players and nobody else.

“It's concentration, the gaffer's right, the basics, seeing danger. I could go on and give you a list of loads of things that would make us better, but one of the main things I think is concentration really, taking responsibility. I am just frustrated, it is hard to put it into words, but that's the way it is.”

Dublin thought he had given City the lead after seven minutes when he headed in Simon Lappin's free-kick, only to be penalised for an infringement.

Asked if there was anything wrong with it, he said: “I don't think so, but I'm going to say that.”

He also took the blame for Roger Johnson's winning goal, seven minutes from time.

“The winning goal was my fault, nobody else's fault at all. It was my man who scored the goal, I was down to mark him and I didn't and I hold my hand up for that,” said Dublin.

“I thought Lapps' goal was superb and I honestly thought we were in control for a long period of the game - not long enough.

“I would imagine, and I would hope, there is going to be a lot of hard work to be done to rectify what we did wrong today. We have quality in the squad, it's just not coming together at the moment.”

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