Red cards force Roeder into changes

David Cuffley City boss Glenn Roeder faces a double selection headache for tomorrow's visit of promotion-chasing Stoke - thanks to the latest dose of red fever to afflict his players.

David Cuffley

City boss Glenn Roeder faces a double selection headache for tomorrow's visit of promotion-chasing Stoke - thanks to the latest dose of red fever to afflict his players.

Dismissals for defender Gary Doherty and midfielder Darel Russell - each shown two yellow cards by referee Paul Taylor in Saturday's 1-0 Championship defeat at Coventry - have robbed the Canaries of two of their most battle-hardened performers for the game against the Potters, second in the table, at Carrow Road tomorrow (7.45pm).

City, who have chalked up no fewer than seven red cards this season, today confirmed that Russell would be banned for two matches after his second sending-off in as many games, while Doherty's ban is for one match.

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Ryan Bertrand and skipper Mark Fotheringham were also cautioned at Coventry, making it six yellow cards on the day. Clubs having six players booked in the same game are liable to a £5,000 fine, but the rule refers to six individuals, rather than six yellow cards, so City should escape a financial penalty.

Nevertheless, the absence of Doherty and Russell leaves Roeder's resources stretched as Stoke bid to become the first team to double the Canaries this season, and the back four could have a very different look by kick-off tomorrow night.

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The unhappy boss substituted full-backs Juan Velasco and Mo Camara after less than half an hour at the Ricoh Arena, as he switched from a 4-5-1 system to 4-4-2. But the two red cards wrecked City's reshuffle, and Roeder was critical of referee Paul Taylor as too quick on the draw.

He said: “I think referees - not all referees, this one in particular - often show a lack of common sense. They are much too hasty to get the cards out. Paul Taylor in my opinion had a performance he shouldn't be happy with, but probably, knowing Paul Taylor, he will be.”

Roeder said Russell was “very disappointed” with his second dismissal in successive games.

He said: “If anything it was a silly attempt to win the ball. He's tripped the lad up, but again in a non-dangerous area. But I didn't think Paul Taylor could get the red out quickly enough.

“It made it nearly impossible to get back in the game. We needed our goalkeeper, David Marshall, to make some outstanding saves to keep us in the game at 1-0. I don't know why people get so surprised at that. That's what goalkeepers are meant to do - make saves - and he did.”

Roeder also issued a warning to his players to raise their game after taking just five points from the last six matches.

He said: “We have got to pick our levels of performance up again.

“I think some of them have shown to me over the last couple of weeks they're switching off and the season is far from finished. There are a lot of points to play for and they have to realise that if they want a future at this football club they have got to do a lot better.

“I sort of didn't want to admit to it, but I would have expected a dip.

“Look at Crystal Palace. They lost one game at Leicester and then I think it was seven games before they got a win again.

“These lads, overall, have been magnificent to lift the club from eight points at the beginning of November.

“But that's in the history books now. It is all about the rest of the season, starting with the game against Stoke, and it's a game where I will see how much some of my players want a future at this club. I feel that strong about it.

“If they want a future at this club they will show me in their performance on Tuesday night, because they know I'm not messing around.”

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