City skipper Jason Shackell was pinning his hopes on being back in training “sooner rather than later” as all eyes remained on the heart of that Canary defence.
This week's arrival – and departure – of one-time Cameroon international Lucien Mettomo suggests that Peter Grant's thoughts are very much trained in that direction too; the Championship-wide bunfight that appears to have erupted with the news that Wigan would let Fitz Hall out on loan would, likewise, suggest that Grant is not the only manager with a centre-half slot to fill.
There's one 40 minutes down the road for a start.
How close Shackell will be to making a return in time for the Crystal Palace clash on September 15 remains at Mother Nature's tender mercies. But as he arrived for a Q&A session at last night's Norwich City Independent Supporters Association's annual general meeting, so he was making the right kind of noises.
Certainly his ankle ligament damage would not appear to be as bad as that to have sidelined both Jimmy Smith and Mark Fotheringham in recent weeks.
“Yeah, it's not too bad,” the 23-year-old told Canaries World. “I've had a bit of work done on it and a little injection and that, and it's coming along OK. I've just got to see how it goes the next few days and fingers crossed I'm back in training sooner rather than later.”
Smith and Fotheringham are both of the six-week plus variety; Shackell appears to be more confident than that after team-mate Julien Brellier inadvertantly whacked an already niggling ankle knock in the Carling Cup second round clash at Rochdale last week. Come the weekend and it was 38-year-old Dion Dublin stepping into the breach alongside Gary Doherty.
Thereafter, aside from teenager Michael Spillane, the cupboard is bare. And with a frantic spell of games looming beyond Palace, Grant will be desperately hoping that Shackell's stay on the sidelines is not of the Smith length.
“It's going along ok,” said Shackell, in little mood to make bold predictions of the 'I'll be back!' kind.
“It hasn't done a lot better than I thought it would and it's not sort of hindering me a lot either. It's not too bad, and I'm slowly progressing and I'm just desperate to get back in training.”
If he should return for the Palace game, he could yet find himself with a new partner at centre-half as the 'emergency' loan market opens for business this weekend.
City boss Grant revealed in tonight's Evening News that Mettomo's lack of match fitness weighed against him – though the door was left slightly ajar for a return at a later date.
All of which merely ups the interest in a swoop for an under-employed Premiership star of the Hall and Calum Davenport variety.
The early impression was that new Championship manager of the month Iain Dowie would walk away with Hall's signature having given the one-time Chesham United defender his first big break in pro football while manager at Oldham. He also gave him his third big break in pro football while manager at Crystal Palace.
Interestingly, however, poke your nose round the back of the Coventry squad and there's ex-Wigan skipper Arjan de Zeeuw making his own return from injury. The 37-year-old is straight out of the Dublin school in terms of leader of men and hasn't gone to the Ricoh to make up the numbers – even if Elliott Ward and Marcus Hall have been holding the fort well in his absence.
The Sky Blues also have youngster Ben Turner in the wings – he gets De Zeeuw's approval. “Ben is a young lad with a good future,” said the big Dutchman.
“He's a proper defender who tackles hard and is good in the air. He's got the right attitude and a good mentality and very much wears his heart on his sleeve.”
All of which may leave top-of-the-table Dowie with enough options up his sleeve.
The one to watch could, however, be Hull City after the Tigers signalled their intent by signing ex-Bolton hero Jay-Jay Okocha this week with boss Phil Brown revealing then that a centre-half was his next target. Cue The Sun putting the names Fitz Hall and Hull City in the same sentence.
Coincidence or not, Hall's number at Wigan? No5.
And then, of course, there is Ipswich Town with Jim Magilton also keen to strengthen via the 'emergency' loan route. Interestingly, Town has also been linked to one of the Shawcross 'breed' – only this one is at Aston Villa.
Teenage centre-half Stephen O'Halloran went out on loan to Wycombe Wanderers last season and is currently away on Republic of Ireland Under-21 duty.
Should Martin O'Neill decide the 19-year-old would be best served continuing his education elsewhere then he would follow the likes not just of City target Ryan Shawcross but Arsenal's Matthew Connolly now at Colchester and Chelsea's Harry Worley, who joined Carlisle United for a month on deadline day.
Back at Colney and as Mettomo packed his bags, audition over, so Shackell was left pondering Norwich's stuttering start to the season – capable of offering real hope one minute, real alarm the next.
“We've had a couple of not great results and we know we can perform a lot better than we are doing,” Shackell told Canaries World..
“But it's always good to look at the positives. We are still in the cup and we've had some half decent results when we know we've not been playing well, so we will get our heads down again and get ready for a big push after the break.
“We've just got to get our heads down over the next couple of weeks and make sure we are ready to go for Palace.”