In theory, City boss Peter Grant will spend the next 48-hours keeping his fingers firmly crossed that Gary Doherty's groin is willing to play ball for the Sky Sports cameras on Saturday evening.
In practice, the hard-pressed Canary chief admitted at Colney this morning, he might nip all the uncertainty in the bud earlier and name his side for the crucial Sheffield Wednesday clash 24 hours early – with or without the struggling Doherty.
By this time tomorrow Norwich could have a wholly new look centre-half pairing in the on-going absence of both the suspended Dion Dublin and Jason Shackell – it could be Michael Spillane and Ian Murray versus Frannie Jeffers.
“Is Gary the biggest decision injury-wise? For sure – because of the situation we're in,” said Grant, offering no fresh news on that endless centre-half loan quest. It continues to haunt his every move – not least in the fact that had he an extra No5 to call on then the 27-year-old might have been off at the break at Eastlands rather than soldiering gamely on for the full 90 minutes.
“To be perfectly honest with you if it was a normal game and we had people available on the bench to come on at centre-back, Gary would have come off at half-time,” said Grant, revealing that Darren Huckerby (ankle), Adam Drury (back) and Luke Chadwick (groin) will join Doherty in missing training today.
“But he was determined to stay on and I thought that attitude was terrific – and I think he has been terrific for us. There's been questions asked of him and he's answered every question. Yes, he's made the odd mistake here and there, but his general performances have been terrific.
“And, as I say, the other night there I thought he showed terrific character there in the second-half not to come off – all to the detriment of himself, obviously, because it puts him in this position of maybe not being available for the weekend. But he was determined to help out – and that's what you need.”
Grant wasn't closing the door an any of the four walking wounded, but he was clearly intent on knowing exactly where he was going and what he was doing this weekend – that everyone knew their lines before the curtain went up and the Sky cameras started to roll. People needed a dress rehearsal – hence a change of policy ahead of the Owls clash.
“Obviously I'm not going to rule any of them out – I don't think any of them would want to be ruled out at this moment in time – but I've got to get preparation in,” said the City chief, about to break a habit of his recent life-time and get definite names on a team-sheet early for what is a big, big game against the bottom-of-the-table Owls. It is not one you want to lose.
“I just feel that in the games that we've not prepared as well as we can do, we've struggled a little bit when I've left it till the last moment. So that's something I'll maybe have to have a look at – making a decision tomorrow morning instead of Saturday morning,” he said.
“We'll see. Darren feels a little bit better, Adam feels a little bit better – but Darren's not done any twisting or turning on his ankle yet; anyone who's had a back injury knows that it can be there or go away in five minutes.”
Neither Norwich nor the manager himself can afford any repeat of the Wolves fiasco. That's when life really would become distinctly uncomfortable.
For while, sometimes, a team can get away with murder on their travels, at home is where the decisive judgements come. The back-to-back home games against Wednesday at the weekend and Scunthorpe United on Tuesday night will offer everyone the chance to judge whether Wolves was a one-off – or merely evidence of a deeper malaise besetting the City dressing room.
This week's gallant 1-0 defeat at Premiership Manchester City suggested there was life in the old dog yet, but the Carling Cup is one thing, the Championship quite another. Here, for example, comes Owls new-boy Graham Kavanagh to dump any upstart Canary kid on the seat of their pants. It will be another challenge again for the likes of both Spillane and Rossi Jarvis to impose themselves on a game when the physical intent of the opposition is that much greater. No-one is going to allow them to play – not at the bottom end of this division.
“I said to both Michael and Rossi two, three weeks ago to be ready because it was getting to that stage where I thought they could offer me something I wasn't being offered on the pitch,” said Grant, still convinced that the midfield balance of his side is not best served with Julien Brellier partnering Darel Russell.
“I feel in the middle of the pitch, I've not had the right balance in – we're not taking care enough of the ball and I thought the other evening they did that very well,” said Grant who now has the option of slotting Brellier back in after his one-match ban.
Likewise should Drury declare himself fit, then Simon Lappin could get his foot on the ball in the middle of the pitch. Or does he place his faith in the two Academy products – for a game that could be of such importance on the bigger picture front?
“We know that they're comfortable in possession and I was very pleased with them. But, yet again, Sheffield Wednesday is a different game – and I've got to look at every game individually, assess what we've got available and pick the best team for that particular game.
“And, as I say, I'll maybe make that decision quicker so the players know exactly what they're doing. So far this season, I've probably left it till the last minute too often – and circumstances have dictated that – this time I probably need to pull away early and make a decision.”
It appears that the Carling Cup results has done him no favours either loan-wise; that people are now saying that they want to keep their Carling Cup squads intact.
“Unfortunately for us most of the big guns got through – apart from Manchester United – and you were hoping there'd be a couple of upsets so they'd allow some of their boys out. But it wasn't to be. But we've got a few phone calls in and we're waiting for people getting back to us now.”