City boss Peter Grant this afternoon revealed that he had three, fresh injury doubts ahead of tomorrow night's Carling Cup clash with Rochdale – and that's not including last week's groin victim Adam Drury.
Couple that with the fitness tight-rope the Canary chief has to walk with regard to Darren Huckerby's return from his own, summer-long hip and groin problems and it is clear that Grant and his No2 Jim Duffy will have some long, hard thinking to do before naming his side to face The Dale.
?Hucks (Darren Huckerby) will train today, but we've got a few other bodies that are struggling,? said Grant, speaking at this lunchtime's pre-Rochdale Press conference at Colney.
Most appear to be of the battered and bruised variety following Saturday's physical clash at the KC Stadium.
?We'll train again tomorrow and we'll see where we are with the bodies and that will then maybe dictate whether he'll play any or all of the game, but he'll travel with us.?
Huckerby missed the trip to Humberside at the weekend, despite enjoying a 55-minute run-out for the reserves last Tuesday night.
When he comes back, Grant clearly wants him back for good – hence his softly, softly approach to City's two-time Player of the Season.
?He'd trained last week, played in the reserve game and come in the next day, so I thought it was important that he got some time down,? said Grant, explaining Huckerby's absence in the 2-1 defeat by Hull.
?He trained with us yesterday; he'll train today with us; he'll travel with us tonight.?
By when Grant will also have made a decision on Drury, whose absence on Saturday ensured that new-boy Ian Murray had barely time to learn everyone's names before being thrown into battle. He could yet get more game-time under his belt at Spotland, if Grant decides that Drury will be another case of safety first.
He may equally decide that getting a certain level of consistency team-wise may yet help deliver the kind of consistency performance-wise that Norwich have long looked for.
?Adam's still a bit tender and obviously he's keen to play – but I've got to look at the big picture.
?I can't bring one person back and then another guy's falling back out or else we'll never get going into a run of games. But I'll give him as long as I possibly can.
?He's feeling better which is a positive, but he's still a little bit tender and he's still not joined in with us – though he may do a little bit with us today,? said Grant, rating Drury ?70-30? on to make tomorrow's cup date.
Keeper David Marshall is OK after his bruising meeting with Tigers' hero Dean Windass. ?He's got a bit of bruising, but that's what you expect – and that's probably one of the reasons why we've got a few bodies the way they are.
?We knew it was going to be a very competitive game and that's the way it turned out to be.?
Grant also has someone struggling with a bug – all of which ensures that it will literally be all aboard the bus for Greater Manchester.
?There are three that I'm not 100 per cent sure about,? he admitted. ?One's a bug, the others are injuries. And my only concern is that if I play them would I lose them in the longer term? And I just cannot afford that.
?I'll give them till tomorrow morning, but I've got to be 100 per cent sure that I'll not be dragging them off after ten or 15 minutes and losing them for the next period of time.
?That's the sort of question that's in my head at this moment in time. I know the team that I'd like to play – whether that'll be available, like I say, I won't know until tomorrow.?
Which means all hands on deck. ?I'll need take everybody – even the ones that I think might still be on the periphery.
?The only question mark would still be Adam (Drury) and I'll speak to him today. And if I thought he still had no chance, it'd be a waste of time taking him on the journey.?
One who does look certain to start again is Frenchman Julien Brellier, who lasted just over the hour at the KC Stadium before making way for goal-scorer Dion Dublin.
A tactical switch it may have been, but until the former Hearts enforcer gets fully up to speed fitness-wise so it would appear that he ends up playing some ten yards or so deeper than where Grant wants to see him playing.
The City manager's desire to see his side far more on the front foot – and playing in the opposition half as opposed to desperately defending their own – ends up being put on hold whilst Brellier plays catch-up.
?He's still short – he knows that he's still short of the games that he needs,? said Grant, with few obvious alternatives – particularly if Murray has to continue to deputise for Drury at left-back.
?To be fair to the boy, the first day he came in here he said about his fitness levels because that's a big part of his game. And you can still see that sometimes he's off the game a little bit in front of the back four.
?And I don't really want him to be playing there. I want him to be playing up against the midfield – and when he does that he's a better player.
?He seems to be doing it in fits and starts just now and we'll know he's fully back when he's doing it for the full 90 minutes and at this moment in time he's not doing that,? said Grant, clearly hoping to use tomorrow's game as a chance to top up the match fitness tank ahead of the Championship clash with Cardiff City at Carrow Road on Saturday.
?It's the one area where we're not particularly strong in as in numbers-wise, so that allows him to play.?