Fozzy and Pattison still out of favour

Chris Lakey Three major absences - through injury and suspensions - meant Bryan Gunn had some big decisions to make on Saturday.In came a pair of youngsters from the club's FA Youth Cup team - and it was their inclusion on the bench ahead of some more familiar names that was most significant.

Chris Lakey

Three major absences - through injury and suspensions - meant Bryan Gunn had some big decisions to make on Saturday.

In came a pair of youngsters from the club's FA Youth Cup team - and it was their inclusion on the bench ahead of some more familiar names that was most significant.

A late ankle injury to Lee Croft added to the problems caused by Wes Hoolahan's absence on the left and central midfielder Darel Russell's suspension.


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David Carney and Alan Gow worked the flanks, while Simon Lappin's exile ended with his first start since November, 2007.

Out-of-favour pair Matty Pattison and Mark Fotheringham were nowhere to be seen, not even on the bench, where Korey Smith, 18, and Tom Adeyemi, 18, sat patiently waiting for a debut that never materialised.

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Gunn insists that Pattison and Fotheringham are, like everyone else, available for selection, but the inclusion of two untried youngsters ahead of a pair of experienced pros with more than 130 Norfolk appearances between them tells a story.

The City boss was sticking to his lines on Saturday.

“They deserve their chance,” he said of the teenagers. “They have been top players this season in the youth team, they have been top players when they've played in the reserve games and they have been top players when they've trained with us in the training sessions as well. It's great experience for those two lads and hopefully there will be occasions we can get them on the pitch as well to increase their learning experiences of being a professional footballer.

“They deserve their places in the squad - we have great competition there now.”

Gunn gave a debut to new loan signing Alan Lee, while Lappin's reappearance simply seemed like a newcomer making a bow.

“I was delighted with the way he (Lappin) reacted to everything,” said Guinn. “He has been a model professional, even through the hard times when he wasn't included in the plans. But he has been knocking at my door for a number of weeks now.

“I told him have a bit of patience, to wait and see what happens. Injuries might come along, loss of form might come along, suspension as well forced our hand. I am sure the Norwich City fans that were here today will give him a special mention for the way he came in and took up the mantle. He is an excellent player and he has obviously given us more to think about now in our team selection.”

Ditto Lee, who ruffled more than a few Birmingham feathers and by the final whistle had expended every last bit of energy.

“Alan Lee - fantastic,” Gunn said. “That's typical Alan Lee. I think he got his first bout of cramp on 60 minutes, but he was such an important player in the penalty boxes.”

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