Grant looks for midfield solution
City boss Peter Grant believes finding the right midfield combination could be the answer to his side's goal drought.The Canaries go into tonight's home game against Scunthorpe with just five goals from eight Championship games - and none in the last three, with another fruitless night at Manchester City in the Carling Cup making it four successive blank days.
City boss Peter Grant believes finding the right midfield combination could be the answer to his side's goal drought.
The Canaries go into tonight's home game against Scunthorpe with just five goals from eight Championship games - and none in the last three, with another fruitless night at Manchester City in the Carling Cup making it four successive blank days.
But though his strikers have been firing blanks, Grant is reluctant to lay the blame for the shortage of goals entirely at their door.
He said: “I am loath to criticise strikers, especially at this minute because I have not had the selection in the middle of the pitch that I would like to have.
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“I have kept chopping and changing to try to get that balance right. From the start of the season I have had five guys not available to me that I thought I was going to be starting the season with in that central area. I look at that and think have I got the balance right this season? Some games yes, other games no.”
The supply line to the strikers has constantly changed with Julien Brellier, Darel Russell, Simon Lappin and now Rossi Jarvis and Michael Spillane all handed midfield roles. Mark Fotheringham, too, appeared briefly before joining another midfielder, Jimmy Smith, on the long-term injured list. In addition, wide players Lee Croft, Luke Chadwick and Darren Huckerby have been in and out of the side.
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Despite his many options, creating chances has been City's biggest problem, argues Grant.
“And that is why I am a little bit less critical of the strikers because I think with the strikers, if we create chances for them they will score goals, they have got that about them,” he said.
“We are not creating enough chances for them. Yes, some of their play could be better, their link-up play or being in areas to hurt the opposition, but all in all with the amount of chances we are creating, we are creating some, but not enough.”
City's last chance of an equaliser against Sheffield Wednesday was, he said, inadvertently taken away from David Strihavka by Jamie Cureton's outstretched arm.
“It's ironic the one Jamie handles and gets booked for - if he misses the ball completely David can put it in an empty net - that seems to be the luck we are having, we're stopping each other from scoring,” he said.
Three of the team beaten on Saturday are doubtful for tonight's game, though Grant declined to name his casualties.
Cureton was certainly one of the walking wounded on Saturday evening, leaving the ground wearing a flip-flop on one foot after a kick on the ankle, while central defender Gary Doherty still has problems with a groin injury.
Grant has Dion Dublin available again after he completed a three-match ban for his sending-off at Charlton a fortnight ago.
Skipper Jason Shackell is still missing, serving the final game of a three-match ban, but Luke Chadwick was expected to train today.
Grant dismissed the idea that tonight's game was bigger than any other.
He said: “Every game you go into in the Championship is massive. If we win this game, the next game is massive. If we lose this, the next game's massive, so it doesn't change for me. Personally, yes, of course I would love a fantastic victory and to win by four or five, but would you see me any different? No. You wouldn't see me any different - I'd still be concerned about the next game.
“I want to be the manager here, I want to do well, I'm desperate to do well, desperate to bring success to this club, desperate to bring us back to the Premier League. I have the opportunity at this moment in time - to do that I have got to win matches.
“I am not going to shy away from that. I have got to win matches, that's what we are preparing to do. Once we do that, we prepare to win the next one after that. That's the way I go about my business and that will never change, to the day I leave here, whether I am pushed out of the door or whether I leave myself.”