Earnshaw injury reminds City of risks
CHRIS LAKEY The spectre of Robert Earnshaw collapsing in agony during a training session will be etched on Peter Grant's mind when he decides who starts at Blackpool tomorrow.
The spectre of Robert Earnshaw collapsing in agony during a training session will be etched on Peter Grant's mind when he decides who starts at Blackpool tomorrow.
Central defender Jason Shackell has been unable to train for a fortnight because of a nagging ankle injury, and while Grant will give him as long as possible before naming his starting line-up, Earnshaw's groin injury is a constant reminder of the downside of taking a risk.
Grant had wanted to rest Earnshaw from the Championship slog, but the lack of a suitable replacement made that impossible. The Welshman played against Tamworth in the FA Cup to avoid the inevitable transfer speculation had he missed out - and days later was suffering a groin injury which has ended his season.
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"Shacks has not taken part in training so he is a doubt and yet again we will give him a chance," said Grant. "I am always concerned at anybody missing even a week's training, especially with the situation that happened with Earnie.
"You are concerned obviously after what happened with Earnie and the desperation to play you end up flaring things up.
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"I try not to play guys that are struggling with injury. I played Jason (against Plymouth) because Jason wanted to play. It was an injury that flared up prior to the last game and he got it on the morning of the game. He can't even remember getting a knock in training.
"Obviously I am taking a little bit of care on it because there are not many left-sided centre-backs about and it's not one I am going to take a chance on.
"He has been working hard enough - he is still taking all the cardio-vascular stuff into him, but as for trying to rest the actual injury - the weather has not helped us in that respect because a couple of times we have had to go inside. With it being a joint I don't like the boys going inside.
"It is a Catch 22 situation, but I am near enough clear in my mind what I am going to do."
What happens with Shackell may dictate what happens elsewhere, with striker Dion Dublin the obvious replacement.
However, Grant was giving nothing away yesterday when asked whether the veteran would once again be asked to take up defensive duties.
"Who said Dion was playing? Who's to say Dion would have played last week?" he said. "That's the beauty of Dion really, he has been a stalwart wherever he has played this year, he has been fantastic for us.
"I know where he wants to be judged, I know where he likes to play, and that's one of the reason I brought Chris Brown in, because he's a different player from Dion, similar in stature and height but technically different. He can go beyond where Dion is more of a sitter."