City captain Mark Fotheringham today praised the impact of the Canaries' loan rangers and admitted that he must play a waiting game to find out whether he will return to the starting line-up against Blackpool tomorrow
Boss Glenn Roeder was keeping his cards close to his chest when quizzed about the Scot's possible inclusion after he missed last week's 1-0 win over Barnsley at Carrow Road through suspension.
And with Arsenal loanee Kieran Gibbs and Matty Pattison impressing in his absence, the Canary chief has a real headache on his hands ? although as Roeder acknowledged, it's certainly one of the right kind.
“You're never sure,” said Fotheringham, keeping his fingers crossed that his leadership skills will get him the nod tomorrow afternoon.
“Nothing is certain in football and I'll need to go out and train well before the game. There is quality there and we'll just to need to see what the team is on Saturday.
“It was really frustrating to miss last week but it was good to see the lads do well and get the victory.
“There were a lot of changes but you wouldn't have noticed it and it was a great performance. They've got the jersey at the moment but I'll be fighting hard to get back in.”
Despite the uncertainty over his participation in tomorrow's Carrow Road clash – which could see City propel themselves into the top 10 for the first time this season – Fotheringham was in good spirits and certainly looking healthy after the squad's sunshine training camp in Spain this week.
The former Celtic man believes the bond between the players is now stronger than ever and with bodies and minds refreshed, the Canaries will be looking to put Simon Grayson's men to the sword this weekend.
“It's been good to get away as a group and the team spirit has been excellent,” the City captain added.
“We got a game of golf in as well which was good fun. The training was quality and the pitches were unbelieveable and it was just good to get some sun on our faces.
“The training was different class and the tempo of it was really high. We were able to do double sessions so the whole trip was really worthwhile.”
Especially worthwhile, you imagine, for some of City's loan rangers. That extra bit of time to gel together will have been invaluable and according to Fotheringham, their presence has been absolutely vital, as City look for a possible late invite to the Championship play-offs.
“They are all good lads and they've come in and made a big difference to the squad. You would think they have been playing in this league for a long time, judging by some of their performances. It's pleasing that they have come in and made such a difference.
“It's important to have that competition. If this club wants to go to where it needs to be then we are going to have to have that in every single position and we are gradually getting that now.”
One position where, for once, there will be competition is in attack, with Dion Dublin also returning from a one-match ban. Add Ched Evans and Jamie Cureton, who Roeder described as looking “exceptionally sharp” in training this week and the City boss has another headache of the right kind.
In Fotheringham's eyes, Cureton is still one of the Championship's top marksmen and he revealed he may have a battle on his hands to wrestle back that captain's armband from the City favourite. After a goal-scoring debut as skipper last weekend, the Bristolian won't want to give it up in a hurry, especially after labelling it a “massive honour”.
“He has been getting a bit of stick because of him kissing the armband last weekend, maybe he wants it on a permanent basis, but we'll wait and see. It's all good fun. But that's not really my scene, I prefer to kiss the badge.
“But on a serious note, it was a good lift for him. He said he enjoyed the day and that it meant a lot to him. For me, he's one of the best strikers in the league so it was good for him to get his goal and to be the captain. He's a good lad and I really enjoy playing with him.
“To be captain of this football club, with the fans we've got and the tradition the club has, is a great honour.”
And it is an honour that Fotheringham would like to enjoy beyond this season, despite his Canary contract coming to an end this summer.
He admitted it would be a big decision, but that his heart was in Norfolk. City supporters will certainly be hoping and praying that the much-improved Scot will be putting pen to paper in the near future.
“My true feelings are that I'm delighted to be at this football club, I've said that from the first day I came down here.
“There is no better stage to be on in the league, with a stadium like ours and the fans we get, but it is an important decision to make and I'll have to think about it. But I want to be here in the long term and we'll see what happens.”