Grant to keep faith with current squad

Peter Grant will keep faith with his current squad of players after the curtain came down on window shopping for loan players.

Peter Grant will keep faith with his current squad of players after the curtain came down on window shopping for loan players yesterday.

The City boss had until 5pm to make a loan signing to help strengthen his squad, but opted to stick with what he's got - and hope injuries don't rear their ugly head before he can dip in to the transfer market in January.

"We will just make do with the squad we have," he said. "We are more than capable with the squad we have, but they have to perform. Obviously it gives me an opportunity between now and the window to make sure that the people I do bring in, if I can get them in, will be the right ones rather than just rushing it at the last moment."

One of Grant's major concerns was bringing in goalkeeping cover for Paul Gallacher, but on-loan Lee Camp will now be promoted to the number two position, with youngster Joe Lewis taking over after December 9, when Camp returns to Derby.

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Grant's original plan was to keep Jamie Ashdown, but the on-loan Portsmouth keeper opted to go back to Pompey.

Former Preston keeper David Lucas was considered, but Grant opted not to take a risk on a player who has been plagued with injuries over the last couple of years.

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That leaves the door open firstly for Camp and then for Lewis - although Grant reiterated that Gallacher is his number one choice.

"Paul Gallacher is number one and for someone to come in he would have to play very poorly and someone would have to be playing very, very well to take his position at this moment in time, because he deserves his opportunity," said Grant.

Camp will be back-up until and including the home game against Sheffield Wednesday on December 9 - with five games between then and the time Grant is able to bring someone else in.

It means the 19-year-old Lewis - whose hopes of a loan spell at Bury recently fell through - will have a rare run on the bench after recovering from a head injury playing for the League Two side's reserves team in a trial game.

And Grant says he is confident the Broome youngster, despite never having played a senior game, will be up to the job.

"He has no option, he has got to be ready," said Grant. "He wants experience, but how do you get experience - through playing. If he is called upon he will have to do his duty.

"I have no problem with that but hopefully it doesn't come to that.

"Obviously it is a concern because of his health: he got a knock on the head and has been in hospital, so that's the only concern I have. I am hoping in the next few weeks he gets back to full training and hopefully he will be fine - and hopefully Gall is playing as well anyway because anybody who's going to come in will be coming in as number two not as number one.

"He went up to Bury because I think it is important for him to get some football. He is a young man and goalkeeping is a specialised position, as in character building, because you are put under different pressures. Sometimes in reserve games you don't get that pressure, sometimes in youth games you don't get that pressure - strength and all the different things the lower leagues sometimes give you."

Grant admitted he was disappointed with Ashdown's decision to return to Fratton Park, but said once the 25-year-old had expressed doubts, there was only one way he was heading.

"Harry had agreed to extend his loan but then his goalkeeping coach thought differently, spoke to Jamie and put a doubt in Jamie's mind," explained Grant. "I'm disappointed he's back because he was definitely someone I had looked at taking on permanently when the finances would have been able to dictate that. But I feel that I have more pressing obligations at this moment in time."

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