Fleming facing race against clock
RICK WAGHORN Craig Fleming is the one slight injury doubt ahead of Norwich City's match at home to Derby County on Saturday. The 34-year-old emerged from Tuesday night's 3-0 win over Brighton with a slightly sore groin.
Skipper Craig Fleming is the one slight injury doubt ahead of Norwich City's Coca-Cola Championship match at home to Derby County on Saturday.
The 34-year-old emerged from Tuesday night's 3-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion with a slightly sore groin.
“We'll see what he's like today and take it from there - it was quite sore after the game,” said manager Nigel Worthington, as he looks for a second straight home success and a chance to lighten the dark and brooding mood at Carrow Road.
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Fleming's groin apart, the one other slight concern is midfielder Youssef Safri, who departed early through “tiredness” as he continues his quest to regain full match sharpness following his ill-fated African Cup of Nations trip to Egypt.
Should Fleming miss the Derby clash, Jason Shackell's return to fitness gives Worthington two possible options - put Jurgen Colin back into the side or switch the versatile Zesh Rehman to right-back and play Shackell alongside Gary Doherty in the centre of defence.
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Should both Fleming and Safri be fit and able, Worthington will be in the unusual - if not unique - position of being able to name an unchanged side, complete with substitutes, for the third straight game.
To be able, for example, to whistle up the services of both Leon McKenzie and Paul McVeigh with 20 minutes or so of the game remaining is pure luxury.
“It's the first time all season that we've been in a position to do that - to be able to take two good players off and put two good players on. It's a huge bonus to have those sorts of numbers to pick and choose from.
“Through no fault of our own, we've just not had that all season. But that's part and parcel of the game.”
The other big plus point to emerge from the midweek success against the Seagulls was Rob Earnshaw's late double strike.
Having the ability to let him rip against the struggling Rams is another big boost for the under-fire manager.
“For the little man to get off the mark with two goals will have been a huge boost to his confidence,” said Worthington of his £2.75 million new arrival.
Game by game, training session by training session, Worthington is seeing more and more from the 24-year-old Wales international.
“I'm watching him in training and he's settling in nicely - he's getting used to training, getting used to the people he's working with,” said Worthington.
“I'm seeing a different little spark from him every day. In the second half against Hull on Saturday, I felt he started pulling off people and getting more involved.
“And on Tuesday night I thought he was a real handful, running into channels and causing people problems.”