Time for fringe players to make a name for themselves

Chris Lakey Glenn Roeder says opportunity knocks for his fringe players this week as the City boss attempts to live up to his promise and set the Canaries off on another unbeaten run.

Chris Lakey

Glenn Roeder says opportunity knocks for his fringe players this week as the City boss attempts to live up to his promise and set the Canaries off on another unbeaten run.

A baker's dozen 13 matches without defeat was ended abruptly at struggling Leicester on Saturday, but Roeder faces a major selection headache, with Darel Russell's straight red card ruling him out for three matches, while midfield partner Mark Fotheringham and striker Dion Dublin face one-match bans after picking up their fifth yellows.

His resources are thin, but Roeder insists other players have the chance to be a major part of the run-in to the end of the season.

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"As all the players know, if people come in and do well it isn't always easy to get your shirt back," he said. "There will be a few of the lads in and around the squad who haven't started recently who will get a start next week.

"They have been waiting, they have been patient and next week there will be an opportunity for two or three players to stake a claim for a shirt permanently for the rest of the season."

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Leicester were two up by the time Russell was given a straight red on the hour mark for a lunge which left Richard Stearman carried off on a stretcher - but Roeder had already seen the writing on the wall as the Canaries struggled to get a foothold in the game.

"The way we were playing, which was poorly, when the second goal went in I thought it was going to be a difficult second period for us, and that's the way it turned out," he said.

"The one thing I will never be is negative and shut up shop. We ended up with three strikers on the pitch trying to get something out of the game. 2-0 can be a dangerous score - if you can get one back you are on the up, but it wasn't to be.

"But the defending generally speaking, irrespective of whether we had three strikers on the pitch or not, was nowhere near good enough, and nowhere near as good as it has been recently - we have hardly let a goal in recently."

It's the first time since the defeat at Stoke on December 1 - the last time City had been beaten - that more than a single goal has gone past David Marshall in a Championship game.

And while the manner that the 13-match run was ended left Roeder disappointed, he refused to point the finger of blame.

"It's a little bit of an understatement to be just disappointed," he said. "We are all pretty angry with ourselves, but I am not going to sit up here and criticise those players who have done so well over the last three months.

"They are not machines and human beings will come out sometimes and have a poor day.

"I suppose if they are going to have a poor day they might as well all have it at the same time - except the keeper (David Marshall). The keeper in the first half made some stunning saves, but generally speaking we were well below par and having seen the goals already on the video, we haven't defended as poorly as that for about three months either."

Darren Huckerby was left back in Norwich, but the plans were disrupted when Ryan Bertrand was taken ill overnight on Friday, which meant Roeder had to abandon his usual tactic and go with two wingers, James Henry getting a start on the left, but struggling to get into the game.

"He (Bertrand) took ill overnight with flu symptoms, not just a cold," said Roeder. "The flu symptoms are really aching muscles, bone aching and he, typical Ryan, wanted to give it a go but I don't think he would have lasted 10 minutes.

"It would have been foolhardy to even think about starting him so we left him at the hotel."

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