City boss Bryan Gunn has saluted the spirit of City skipper Mark Fotheringham as the new Canary manager continues to make big decisions for a living.
For having slapped Darel Russell back in his preferred centre-midfield berth in mid-week to cover for Fotheringham's one-match ban at Molineux, Gunn then had a big choice come the weekend – to keep Russell in that role alongside Sammy Clingan, or to immediately re-install the team captain.
The fact that Russell had dropped a serious clanger in the run-up to Wolves' third and final goal might have swayed the argument Fotheringham's way; but by the same token, the fact that City had still emerged from an away trip to the league leaders with a point for their trouble might have pulled the debate back in Russell's favour.
In the end, he stuck with the man in possession. And waited with interest to see what Fotheringham's reaction would be.
“I am finding them easier because at the end of the day it's me who has to pick the team – and I'll be the man who gets judged on that,” said Gunn, who has already had to break some bad news to the likes of the now-departed Elliot Omosuzi and Matty Pattison that they weren't going to figure in his 16.
Relegating Fotheringham to the bench and keeping the skipper's armband with Gary Doherty is, however, the biggest decision he has yet had to make.
“I was delighted by Fozzy's [Fotheringham's] attitude,” revealed the City chief. “He wasn't happy that he wasn't in the team.
“And that was fantastic. If he'd have accepted it I would have been worried. But he showed me that he is very passionate about this football club – and I have to admire that.”
That passion, that anger and that commitment was then put firmly under the microscope in the wake of Gary Doherty's unscheduled exit – Jamie Cureton making way at the interval for Fotheringham as Clingan once again breezed through an outing at stand-in centre-half.
“He [Fotheringham] had to come in for 45 minutes and in the situation we were in, he was quite crucial. Because he will go and get the ball; he's brave enough to do that and he'll pass. And today he was brave enough to have efforts from outside the box.
“But as club captain, he showed tremendous attitude and accepted it. I knew he was hurt and I wouldn't have expected any more in the way that he reacted – but it was positive, from my side of things.”
As much as referee Andy D'Urso came to dominate proceedings, Gunn was well aware of City's early failings – long before the Billericay official went to work.
“We were probably a bit naive in the early stages,” admitted Gunn. “We needed to play a high line and Dele Adebola is a strong player; he maybe got on the ball too many times.
“And their midfield was running off our midfield too many times. But, when the lads went a goal behind they don't give in; they want to get back into the game.”
Cue Clingan with the sweetest of afr post deliveries from his first-half free-kick; cue Carl Cort making a thorough menace of himself at said far post; cue Jonathan Grounds bagging his second goal in eight days after that leveller away at Doncaster Rovers.
And then David Marshall went to clear the ball…
“As I said last week, I don't dig people out,” said the City chief. “People make mistakes and people own up to making mistakes. And you can't ask anything more.
“As long as they learn from their mistakes. And I'm disappointed for David Marshall as well – I know what it's like being a goalkeeper in that situation.”
And having watched the replay of events thereafter, it is clear in Gunn's mind D'Urso was about to drop another clanger – albeit a difficult one to judge.
“Having watched the video and Gary Doherty clearly gets a toe on the ball, but obviously there's contact with the man as well…”
The biggest bright spot was the performance of Cort who – right now – is getting bigger, better and stronger with every passing game.
“I hope he gets good marks in the Press,” said Gunn. “Because he did a fantastic job again today.
“He's a player who has obviously had his injury problems and he has to be managed from Tuesday to Saturday with the mid-week games. But now we've got the full week, there'll be a programme for Carl to work on in the knowledge that he'll be fit for next Saturday.
“Because he's got everything – he's got a tremendous physique; he's strong; he holds the ball up. And it helped us move from one end of the pitch to the other. And it's something that Norwich haven't had probably since Iwan Roberts – and Dion Dublin, of course.
“So if we can get Carl's fitness levels up and he continues to perform like he did today and like he did at Wolves, he is a player that we will certainly try and get into the team.”
Plays like he did yesterday and the way that he did at Wolves over the next couple of months and Norwich will need to try and cash in thier good-will chips early and get Cort into their team for the start of next season – let alone the end of this. Players of his ilk don't come along too often.
And once he's in the building and into the city, don't let him go.
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