On-loan Reading youngster Alex Pearce and Jason Shackell will go head-to-head for the gaffer's nod at the Ricoh this weekend as City boss Glenn Roeder continues to juggle his loan numbers.
On Tuesday night it was Pearce's Thames Valley pal James Henry who again proved the odd-man out. For with six loan players on the books and only five being eligible to feature in any 16-strong squad, so one always has to miss out.
Mo Camara's return at left-back to allow Ryan Bertrand to cover for Darren Huckerby's absence pushed 18-year-old Henry out of the frame. But with Huckerby still a doubt for this weekend's trip to Coventry City with that nagging groin problem, so the Camara-Bertrand combination could continue.
All of which leaves just three loan 'slots' to play with. Ched Evans looks odds-on to take one – even if he loses his starting place to the in-form Jamie Cureton – leaving Roeder to ponder which of Masters Gibbs, Pearce and Henry to leave out.
The fact that Pearce exited early at Vicarage Road may, perhaps, suggest that he will be the one handed a rest this weekend as Henry comes in from the cold.
“Alex Pearce is fine,” said Roeder on Tuesday night, quizzed as to whether Pearce's substitution was down to anything untoward. It was, he said, just time to get Shackell back into the swing of things.
“He's gaining a lot of experience here playing in the Championship,” said Roeder, using this week's post-match Press conference to underline again that loan signings are going to play a big part in his summer thinking.
You already sense that in the case of all five teenagers – Pearce, Evans, Gibbs, Bertrand and Henry – he would welcome them back again next July if their respective Premiership managers felt their footballing education was still not quite complete and they would benefit more from a full season of Championship football under Roeder's watchful gaze than the odd run-out in the Premier Reserve League.
Pearce is a prime example of the breed – particularly given the fact that Gary Doherty has yet to put pen to paper on a new deal and the option of throwing Dion Dublin back in at centre-half will disappear.
“He (Pearce) had a fantastic debut against Barnsley; didn't go so well for him on Saturday; he had another opportunity tonight where, generally speaking, he did well. But I just thought in the end Henderson was showing at times Alex's inexperience.
“But he'll learn. And I've not worked with such a good character as Alex Pearce. And I can see why Stevie Coppell is not interested in selling him and why he wants him back. He's a wonderful character.
“And that won't do him any harm coming off. He'll fight back – I just wanted to put Shackell on who has got a little bit more experience.”
Roeder will also have another decision to make at Coventry defensively in the shape of one-time Spanish international Juan Velasco who made his first start in a City shirt at Vicarage Road since signing that three-month, short-term deal.
Like most of his team-mates, the first 20-odd minutes proved fairly hairy but as both team and player started to find their feet and their stride the longer the game progressed, so Velasco began to blossom.
He is clearly very comfortable on the ball and his a little spicy edge to his game – as Nathan Ellington discovered with a thigh-high scrape that got the Spaniard booked.
“I thought the longer the game went, the better he did,” said Roeder, well aware that since being released by UEFA Cup finalists Espanyol last summer the 30-year-old has lacked any real match action.
“He hasn't played for eight or nine months and I wasn't sure whether he could get through the 90 minutes and for the last 10, 15 minutes he was probably playing on an empty tank and using his experience.”
Not that that would have helped much at Vicarage Road on a squally Tuesday night as Leigh Bromby wound himself up for another half-way line heave.
“He just said to me that in la Liga he hadn't come across a team like Watford before – but he still enjoyed the experience. At least in his broken English, I think that's what he meant.”
In the meantime, the Canaries today gave everyone a date for their summer diary with the launch of the club's 'Greatest Ever' event – a day-long celebration of the greatest-ever players to play for the Norfolk club. Or, indeed, greatest-ever managers to manage the club.
Having whittled down a short-list of candidates to 44, City supporters will then be given the chance to vote for their 'Greatest Ever XI' with the results to be announced at a star-studded event at Carrow Road on Sunday, May 18.
Sky Sports' Richard Keys will host the proceedings alongside Anglia Television's face of football Kevin Piper.
The day's entertainment will also feature live entertainment from some top music acts including Jamelia, X-Factor finalists Rhydian and Ray Quinn, plus further special guests. Doors will open at 1.30pm with the show finishing at about 7pm.
Sky Sports' Richard Keys will host the proceedings alongside Anglia Television's face of football, Kevin Piper.
Fans will be able to vote for their Greatest Ever players from March 10 either online or via the ballot forms at Carrow Road or the club shop/ticket office in The Mall.
Tickets for the major event on Sunday, May 18 can be bought from the ticket office in The Mall or from Carrow Road. Tickets can also be bought on-line at www.canaries.co.uk/greatestever. For telephone bookings call 0870 444 1902. Tickets cost from ?25 for Adults, ?15 for concessions, and from ?10 for Under-12s. For hospitality packages call 01603 218704.