City boss Peter Grant insisted this afternoon that he will be working right up until the last possible moment in trying to bring in a loan player ahead of the Carling Cup clash with Premiership Manchester City tomorrow night.
?We were trying desperately when everybody was available to get people in,? said Grant, as the pressure mounts on all concerned to get this weekend's wretched 2-0 defeat at Wolves out of the system and to fire some life, some belief and – come next Saturday – some points back into City's season.
?But we've been doing that again since the final whistle went on Saturday and obviously a lot of managers turn their phones off on a Sunday – I understand that,? he added, confirming that West Ham United's Calum Davenport was one to have crossed his thoughts.
As ever, however, he has been met with a wall of 'Not yet, Pete… Give us another few days…' as the Premiership clubs look after their own Carling Cup concerns.
?We've had a few calls back today saying about the Carling Cup situation – that they want to see how things pan out there. So we'll try; we're still waiting on a few phone calls back because I think you can still get an 'emergency' sort of loan up until three hours before the game.?
At least City qualify on the 'emergency' score with Grant confirming that Adam Drury is ?95%? certain to miss the trip to Eastlands with the same back trouble that ruled him out on Saturday.
Take the suspended trio of Dion Dublin, Jason Shackell and Julien Brellier out of your plans, plus the injured Luke Chadwick and factor in the likely non-arrival of any loan reinforcements and Gary Doherty's centre-half partner will have to be Ian Murray.
If Simon Lappin steps into his natural position at left-back, then that leaves Darel Russell and AN Other to fill the big holes in central midfield.
?Adam will be struggling,? confirmed Grant. ?He came off on Friday with just about five minutes to go in training – this is when we were doing the set-plays – and he thought he was going to be fine.
?And then Saturday morning he was still a bit stiff; he could train yesterday; he won't take part today; I'm 95% certain he won't play.?
As much as Grant has always set his stall out to win every cup game he competes in, he is well aware of the importance of Saturday's events. City's mode of transport back from Eastlands also crosses his mind.
?We're flying up, but we're getting the bus back – and that's also a concern. If he played a game and was then on the bus back, would I have him available for Saturday.
?For me, it's important to go as far in the cups as you can, but the league is the most important thing.?
In fairness to the City chief, from the lows of Saturday night – ?It had been a very, very difficult weekend,? he admitted – he was bright and bubbly come this lunchtime. And nor was there any immediate sign of a yawning gulf between him and Darren Huckerby on the back of the Canary favourite's 'scary' speech.
Grant, too, was pointing a big, accusing finger at the middle of the pitch; the team's inability to control games from that area; the fact that, to his mind, they hadn't got out of second gear all season; the fact that they hadn't got the balance right in there. It was virtually the same hymn-sheet that Huckerby was singing from.
Indeed, he even suggested that the 32-year-old could yet skipper the side in the absence of Messrs Shackell, Dublin and Drury.
?I'd love to say Saturday was a one off performance, but I don't think that we've come out of second gear – personally,? said Grant, with strong echoes of Huckerby's ?we've not controlled a game yet this season? speech.
?I do not think we've come anywhere near getting out of second gear performance-wise. Bits and bobs; 30 minutes here against Southampton; a period against Cardiff.
?And maybe we've not got the right balance in the middle of the pitch,? he added. ?Not at this minute in time, so it's difficult to be critical of the forward players because I don't think they're getting the service.
?And whether it's been Doherty and Dublin or Doherty and Shackell, we've defended our box ever so well; Marshall looks a quality keeper; Otsemobor when he plays how he can play looks very, very good – when he goes through the motions, he looks very ordinary.
?And Adam Drury's playing as well as he has done since I've been here, so individually some of them have been doing fine, but as a team we've definitely not been good enough on the ball.?
All of which might point to Grant busting just as big a gut getting a midfield loan signing in to cover for the on-going absences of both Mark Fotheringham and Jimmy Smith – were it not for the fact that for the next two games he is down to just one, senior centre-half.
As to why the sums of said parts ends up adding to what was a total no-show at Molineux, Grant admitted that at times ?it's been very, very difficult to understand why that is? as the presence of the Sky cameras against Wednesday on Saturday prepare to put Norwich's season even further under the microscope.
?They look edgy; they take too many touches – if you've got that wee bit of lack of confidence in yourself, so the five-yard pass can seem like a 55-yard pass.
?And that's why you see me like a maniac by the side of the pitch – because it's those basics that they are not doing well. If you're having a tough time, do the things that you are good at – don't try and do something you're not good at.?
Is he feeling the heat, sensing a mounting pressure? ?Of course, even if I'm winning games I'm under pressure – because I put myself under that pressure. That's the way I am. I want to be sitting top of the league. I want to be winning every game.?