Grant sweating over injuries
CHRIS LAKEY Canaries manager Peter Grant is sweating over the fitness of key members of his squad ahead of this afternoon's clash with Southampton.
Canaries manager Peter Grant is sweating over the fitness of key members of his squad ahead of this afternoon's clash with Southampton.
Top goalscorer Robert Earnshaw, in-form Dion Dublin and returning central defender Gary Doherty are all doubts and their absence would leave City severely depleted at St Mary's.
Grant is giving Earnshaw as much time as possible to recover from a knee injury as the Welsh striker bids to take his place opposite Grzegorz Rasiak. The duo are the league's leading goalscorers, Rasiak on 14, Earnshaw on 13.
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Dublin missed training on Tuesday and, with central defender Jason Shackell banned, Grant will be keeping his fingers crossed that two from Dublin, Doherty and club captain Craig Fleming are fit enough to start at the back. If not, teenager Michael Spillane will get the nod.
But Grant says he won't use the injuries as an excuse for City's poor results and performances - even though he admits it's making training sessions something of a lottery.
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“The only thing I am concerned with is the players we have available,” he said. “It's no good moaning about it, we know it is there.
“It's like Saturday against Sheffield Wednesday - it wasn't because we had injured players, we just didn't play well.
“Yes, I would like to have a full squad to choose from, of course I would, but that wasn't the reason we lost. We lost because we didn't play well.
“We knew Earnie was a possibility of not being fit so I had made the changes that I thought would work. I put a team out that was capable of winning the game, but it just didn't perform on theday, so we have to accept that.”
What the injuries have done is made it impossible for Grant to prepare his team on the training pitches of Colney.
“That's been difficult this week,” he admitted. “I have not had the centre-backs training - on Monday we put a training session together, but Doc still wasn't able to train. Flem trained and Doc on Tuesday - but Dion couldn't take part on Tuesday. And Earnie hasn't taken part yet.
“It is difficult, but, listen. At the end of the day you have to accept that. That is the squad we have, that is the players we have and that's the players we have available.
“I like to have the team organised, I like the players to know in their mind that they are playing, so everybody knows the shape of the team, everybody knows their job - because come Saturday there are no excuses.
“That's why there were no excuses at the weekend.”