Worthy down to the bare bones
CHRIS WISE Norwich City will be without the services of in-form striker Paul McVeigh when they resume their Championship programme at Plymouth, it was revealed yesterday.
Norwich City will be without the services of in-form striker Paul McVeigh when they resume their Championship programme at Plymouth, it was revealed yesterday.
The diminutive frontman, who maintained his hot scoring streak against West Ham at the weekend, has been ruled out through suspension, having picked up five bookings over the course of the season.
His absence will be counteracted by the return of Darren Huckerby after a similar ban, but it's the last thing manager Nigel Worthington needed at a time when his playing resources are being stretched to the very limit.
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“Losing Paul is certainly something we could have done without, but there you go,” said Worthington, who currently has just 10 fully-fit outfield professionals available for the trip to Home Park.
“I have never had a situation like this before in my time as a manager. You can live with three or four injuries - but the number of players I have got out at the moment is a very heavy number.
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“We will certainly be looking after the fit players in training this week because the last thing we would want at the moment is to lose any more.”
Of the nine players who were ruled out of Saturday's FA Cup tie five will definitely missing again at Plymouth - Carl Robinson (cracked ribs), Leon McKenzie (ankle), Youssef Safri (international duty), Ryan Jarvis (knee) and Matthieu Louis-Jean (hamstring).
There's a chance skipper Andy Hughes could return, complete with protective mask, after missing five games with a fractured cheekbone, but that's by no means guaranteed, and there are still doubts over the fitness of top scorer Dean Ashton and Jurgen Colin, who sat out the Hammers fixture with groin strains.
“We'll make a decision about them later in the week,” commented the City boss.
If they failed to make it then Worthington would again have to draft in some fresh-faced youngsters to bring his squad up to strength, after giving Academy prospects Michael Spillane and Andrew Cave-Brown their big chance on Saturday.
He could also delve into the transfer market to bring in some reinforcements - but is keeping his powder dry on that front at present.
“I'm just holding fire to see what's what at the moment,” he said. “We'll be seeing who we can get fit and available and then move on from there.”
McVeigh would have been a certainty to start against Plymouth, having turned on the style in recent weeks to net five goals in seven games. His absence could give Ian Henderson another chance to impress on the right-hand side on an attacking trio, with Huckerby sure to return on the left and either Ashton or Peter Thorne playing the pivotal role.