Pain, and now no gain for Doc
DAVID CUFFLEY Gary Doherty's determination to play through the pain barrier could cost Norwich City dear in the weeks ahead - another body blow after Peter Grant's men slipped into the bottom three of the Coca-Cola Championship.
Gary Doherty's determination to play through the pain barrier could cost Norwich City dear in the weeks ahead - another body blow after Peter Grant's men slipped into the bottom three of the Coca-Cola Championship.
Last night's goalless draw with Scunthorpe United at Carrow Road left the Canaries in 22nd place in the table as Preston moved above them with a 5-1 home win over Southampton.
And after City's fifth successive game without a goal, Grant revealed that centre-half Doherty would be sidelined for several weeks with a persistent groin injury.
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Said Grant: “Apart from the result, the disappointing thing is we have to lose Gary Doherty for a few weeks now.
“He was determined to play tonight and it was a big decision to make because I was going to play Dion Dublin there, but Gary was determined to play.
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"You could see he could hardly run. Sometimes he was going to kick the ball and I know people thought he made a mistake, but he just couldn't kick through it.
"It was great credit to him because he was so determined, saying 'I want to play, I want to play' and that's the sort of spirit and commitment you need but unfortunately it's going to come back to haunt us because he's not going to be available for the next few weeks.
“I think he's been excellent. Yes, he'll make the odd mistake here and again, but I think his attitude, his commitment, his defending at times has been excellent. It's easy when things are not going well to throw the towel in and say 'I'm carrying a groin strain' but he's been determined to play the last two or three games with the injury and I just thought you could see certain things tonight where he was struggling badly.
"It's the same with Jamie Cureton, to be fair. He's not trained since the weekend either.
“I just thought taking a chance with both of them, it could be a game where something's going to drop in the box and there's nobody better than Jamie Cureton. And the way Gary's been playing, with his determination to play, you need that in times of trouble."
The Canaries - and Grant - now face a crunch match next Monday night at Queen's Park Rangers, the team currently propping up the division after sacking manager John Gregory.
“We'll go into next Monday's game positively. To win a game of football, that's all you can keep doing," said the City boss.
"Pressure comes with not winning games of football. I know that but I couldn't have asked any more of them tonight.”
Both sides struck the woodwork in last night's game, substitute Chris Martin with a superb left-foot shot that rattled the post just two minutes after he replaced Cureton, who had played despite an ankle injury he suffered in Saturday's defeat by Sheffield Wednesday.
“Chrissy went up and smacked one. When it left his foot it was in. Then all of a sudden it just moved to the left a little bit and hit the post, so it wasn't to be," said Grant.
“We had a few near things. The boys were positive, the team selection we put out was positive, the bench we put out was positive and I think that's the only way we can be.
“At the end of the day we're here to win games of football, we're here to try to win. We had two wide players, two strikers, an attacking midfield player all on the pitch. We've got overlapping full-backs and all you've got to do is try to get forward, try to be brave try and get in there and hope you get that little bit of luck. It wasn't to be and we're very disappointed not to get three home points.
“But great credit to the boys. I can't ask them for any more effort - that's a fact. A little bit more quality - yes, you can always ask for that, a little bit of bravery to be willing to take that chance, make the right decision at the right time, the final ball or whatever it may be. They've got to take care on that.
“But the one thing they can take out is that they kept going, they showed great commitment, they tried to do their jobs properly and if they had taken one of the early chances, I think it would have been a completely different game."