Norwich City (4-4-2):, Marshall; Otsemobor, Shackell, Pearce, Bertrand; Croft, Gibbs, Pattison, Huckerby; Evans, Cureton. Subs: Gilks, Shackell, Velasco, Eagle, Henry.
Faced with three big suspensions in the case of Messrs Russell, Fotheringham and Dublin, City boss Glenn Roeder certainly didn't shy away from some big decisions – the most notable of which saw Jason Shackell sat squarely on the bench as on-loan 19-year-old Alex Pearce made his first appearance in a City shirt.
Of course, it didn't stop there. With a whole new central midfield to find after Darel Russell's red card and Mark Fotheringham's fifth booking in that 4-0 defeat at the Walkers Stadium last weekend, so Roeder handed that keg gig to Matty Pattison and on-loan Arsenal starlet Kieran Gibbs.
Arguably simply starved of the ball away on the left in his last home start against Hull City, the 18-year-old would have all the opportunity he ever needed to see the ball this afternoon. How much time he would actually get on the ball would be interesting as Barnsley's FA Cup heroes snapped away at the teenager's ankles.
With Mo Camara the sixth loan to sit out today's games, that ensured that Ryan Bertrand would take the left-back berth with the prodigal – Darren Huckerby – being restored to the starting line-up on his favoured left.
Dublin's absence found Jamie Cureton not only being parachuted back in alongside Ched Evans, but also handed the captain's armband.
Given his long association with the Canaries – albeit with the wandering years in-between – it will be a proud moment for the 32-year-old. He had, in fairness, come a long way since being dismissed as being “daft as a brush” by then City manager Mike Walker.
On the bench and the suprises continued. Not so much in a first sighting of 30-year-old Spanish full-back Juan Velasco after he signed a three-month contract this week, but rather the fact that there was the long-forgotten Robert Eagle sneaking in ahead of both Chris Martin and Michael Spillane. And, indeed, Rossi Jarvis who after his loan spell playing in central midfield for Rotherham last season might have hoped that this weekend's glut of suspensions would have found a fleeting opportunity knocking.
With Barnsley unchanged from the side that rocked Merseyside and the rest of the English-speaking football world last weekend with that last-gasp FA Cup win over Liverpool, the question was whether or not their minds were already looking forward to that Oakwell clash with Chelsea.
For the Canaries, the question was more simple. Was that 4-0 defeat at Leicester simply one of those blips? Or a first sign of a little metal fatigue hitting Roeder's previously armour-plated troops?
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