Town Waiting on Trio
Friday, 3rd Feb 2006 15:27
Illness and injury are concerning both managers ahead of Sunday's East Anglian derby at Carrow Road (Sky Sports One, KO 11.15am). Keeper Shane Supple is one of three Town players struck down with a virus, while Jimmy Juan and Gavin Williams are doubts with injuries.
Supple, Adam Proudlock and recent Norwegian signing Vemund Brekke Skard were all sent home from training on Friday suffering with the virus. Supple is the only one of the three currently in the Town starting line-up.
Proudlock, a sub against Leeds, has been left out of the 17-man squad, while Skard is not yet considered ready for first team action after undergoing a groin operation in November.
Boss Joe Royle says he is hoping Supple will play despite Lewis Price being a more than able deputy: "I'd like Shane to be fit as he's doing so well. Equally, I wanted Lewis to be fit when he was in the side and doing well. Shane's been in outstanding form, as Lewis was, and you want to have continuity.
"It would be nice to have some continuity in the side, it's something we've missed this season."
Jimmy Juan is expected to return after missing the Leeds game due to a one-match suspension and subsequently picking up a heel injury. Gavin Williams is looking less likely to make his East Anglian derby bow having jarred his knee in the 2-0 win at Southampton a fortnight ago.
Town's other big injury story this week is the news that striker Nicky Forster is likely to miss the whole of the rest of 2005/06 after undergoing his second cartilage operation of the season.
While disappointed the former England U21 is out of action, the Town manager is pleased that the problem has finally been identified: "The positive side for Nicky is that for a couple of weeks scans have shown nothing.
"At least something was found when they opened up his knee - there's nothing worse than operating and finding nothing. There was another slight tear at the back of his cartilage and that has now been attended to."
Royle says his side are improving all the time: "We're in good form, I wouldn't say great; there have still been too many draws, for whatever reason. We're confident in ourselves and we're right up for it.
"We feel we've been changing for a while, that we've been getting stronger all the time but have needed that last little bit of goalscoring power, and in some cases luck with decisions. But overall, we've been playing very well recently."
The Town boss, a former Norwich player, feels that the pressure is greater for the home team: "There's pressure on both sides at the moment as they are both in positions they don't really want to be. Probably a bit more on Norwich as I think expectations were greater from them. They've spent quite heavily and I must admit I thought they'd be right up there.
"There's pressure on us to reverse the home result when we felt badly done by, albeit with only 10 men. The result was harsh on us, and certainly the sending off was harsh and it was subsequently rescinded, but that's no good when you've lost the game."
The Blues are unlikely to be changed at the back but will recall both Juan and Williams if they are considered fit enough. That could mean Danny Haynes, who failed to finish the Leeds game due to tiredness and cramp, will drop to the bench with Darren Currie taking up his role between striker Alan Lee and the midfield four.
Jim Magilton is likely to return to the bench with Matt Richards and Ian Westlake both hoping to keep their places after impressive displays against Leeds.
If Shane Supple is still unwell come Sunday, young Icelandic keeper Óskar Pétursson may take a place on the senior side's bench for the first time.
The Canaries also have illness concerns with full-back Adam Drury suffering with gastroenteritis. Midfielder Paul McVeigh has a thigh injury. Both are considered doubts.
Boss Nigel Worthington will include all three recent signings - former Town trialist Jonatan Johansson, on-loan Fulham defender Zesh Rehman and Wales international striker Rob Earnshaw - in his squad, although it's unlikely all of them will start.
Earnshaw, however, will almost certainly make his Norwich bow with Worthington itching to get started with the £2.75 million signing: "I'm really looking forward to working with him.
"He's got great pace, good devil in his play and an edge to him as an individual. I think he's going to prove a very, very good signing for Norwich City Football Club."
Sunday's referee is Keith Stroud from Hampshire who has shown 101 yellow and six red cards in 26 games so far this season. Stroud has already refereed two Town games this season, the 2-1 defeat at QPR and the 1-1 home draw with Wolves.
Squad: Supple, Price, Barron, Wilnis, Sito, Naylor, De Vos, Magilton, Currie, Juan, Garvan, Williams, Westlake, Richards, Haynes, Lee, McDonald.
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