Adam Drury and Frenchman Julien Brellier were the two big injury doubts ahead of this weekend's Carrow Road clash with Southampton – about Darren Huckerby there was no doubt at all.
He won't be available.
“Bumps and knocks? Adam and Julien – there's still a bit of a concern,” revealed City boss Peter Grant at Colney this morning.
Drury injured his ankle in Tuesday night's 5-2 Carling Cup win against Barnet; Brellier appears to be struggling with a tight groin after trying to play pre-season catch-up following his earlier thigh strain.
“It's the same thing – just not having enough games in pre-season and he obviously just gets a bit of stiffness,” said Grant, after his midfield anchor man played a good hour against Preston North End last Saturday only to make way for Mark Fotheringham on Tuesday night.
“Maybe I played him longer than I wanted to in the game last week, to be perfectly honest with you,” said Grant. “He wanted to train Monday and Tuesday, but he still felt a little bit tight around his groins.
“And that's what we had last time; that we ended up playing him; he thought he was fine; it was just a bit of stiffness there and it ended up with a strain, so we're very, very conscious that that doesn't happen.”
All of which would be a shame given that Saturday's game offers an ideal opportunity to compare central midfielders past and present as Youssef Safri makes an early return to Norfolk with his new, South Coast employers.
Grant was clearly hoping that the 2007-2008 version would be close to making his second, competitive appearance in Canary colours after alst Saturday's solid and unhurried efforts in the 0-0 draw at Deepdale.
“Julien says he feels much better, but as I say I think it's more – and it seems silly to say – fatigue because of the amount of work he's been doing in the period of time that he has trying to catch up.
“Sometimes it is just stiffness; at other times you've got to be careful in pre-season and take you foot off the gas – and he never did that.”
More straight-forward was Huckerby's prospects as his own groin troubles linger. “No chance for the weekend – no,” was the manager's simple verdict.
As for his verdict on Southampton, having travelled the short distance to London Road on Monday night to watch Saints' Carling Cup hopes end at the first hurdle with that 2-1 defeat by Peterborough United, Grant was still very wary of assuming anything about George Burley's men.
Indeed, he saw many a similarity with Norwich's own summer – the only difference being that whereas the Canaries had lost Robert Earnshaw and Dickson Etuhu, Saints had lost both Best and Pele. Not to mention wonder-kid Gareth Bale and Player of the Season Chris Baird.
“We're similar,” said Grant. “We've got players coming in and out; you've lost players that you didn't want to lose. So we're probably in a very similar boat.
“You don't want to lose your best players – they've done that and probably the disappointing thing for George is that he's lost players to Championship teams.
“But I've watched them. I was at the game the other evening and you look at their strength in depth on the bench – and those that they've not got available and they are still a very, very strong squad. There's no doubt of that.
“Even thought they have lost a lot players, it's still stronger in depth than ours.”
As ever it seems, whether the Canaries can get their season off to a suitably solid start with an away point and a home win will depend on just which Norwich side turns up – the first-half one against Barnet or the second-half one.
Two days on and Grant was looking at the performance as a whole – and, in particular, the fact that Norwich are in tonight's second round draw.
“Both halves are fresh in my mind,” he confirmed. “Some good things, some not so good as we said after the game.
“But in the cold light of day when I look at all the other results and the amount of goals that were conceded by Championship teams and going out of the competition…
“Your aim in a cup-tie is to win it. And we done that. And we scored five goals at home – and some people would be delighted at that. But we've set ourselves standards in the games that we've had and in the second-half those weren't reached.”
The one thing that Grant was not about to do was to become embroiled in any more words on Safri.
The question, when it inevitably arrived, brought a firm, straight bat from the City manager.
“Will Youssef go out there with a point to prove? No – he's nothing to prove.
“We know he's a good player. So nothing to prove to me.”
Transfer-wise Grant still maintains he is still “two to three players” short of where he wants to be. Once again, his immediate hopes of bolting on another fresh face is not helped by the fact that Premiership managers have yet to find their own feet squad-wise.
“You're constantly watching everything that's going on,” said Grant, intent on adding another left-sided defender to his pack if only to ensure that there is further, natural cover for when either a Drury or a Lappin becomes unavailable. That No5 shirt still needs someone's name on it.
“We're enquiring about certain people to see if they're available, but they've still not made decisions on them – and that's all we can do at this moment in time.
“But I'd still like to have two or three bodies in – whether I can get them in is a different question.”