City boss Bryan Gunn was this morning breathing a sigh of relief over both Sammy Clingan and Ryan Bertrand – while keeping his fingers firmly crossed over Carl Cort and Alan Gow ahead of tomorrow's crunch home clash with Burnley.
He was also ruling out Adam Drury for at least two to three weeks after the Canary full-back suffered a recurrence of his long-standing knee trouble.
With the on-loan Jonathan Grounds due back at Middlesbrough in little more than a fortnight, Bertrand's availability becomes every more important as the Canaries continue to make do and mend all over the park.
“Sammy Clingan trained yesterday and is available for selection,” confirmed the Canary chief, after his key, anchor midfield man missed last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Preston North End with a slight thigh strain.
That result, coupled to the mid-week wins for the likes of Barnsley and Watford, have dumped Norwich right into the bottom three; the pressure on the Clingans and Corts of this world to deliver over the next 13 games grows with every passing day.
“We've still got some bumps – on Alan Gow and Carl Cort,” added Gunn. “A knock on the thigh for Alan Gow and Carl is a foot injury.”
At least it wasn't a recurrence of the six-foot four-inch striker's knee troubles; that is one, small blessing.
“How do I rate their chances? Good,” he added, well aware of the influence that Clingan brings to the party. His expected return will then demand a big decision to be made between skipper Mark Fotheringham and Darel Russell. But such is the lot of managers. That's what Gunn signed up for.
“Sammy's a big player for Norwich and, obviously, in the game against Bristol City he showed his versatility as well – so to have someone in the team that can move around the park in different positions, especially with injuries and sending-offs, he ticks a lot of boxes.”
A versatility clearly not lost on Fulham boss Roy Hodgson who appears to be waiting in the wings with the offer of a Premiership move this summer.
“He's an excellent midfield player so to have him available again is very positive.”
The challenge, of course, is to get the Canaries to cut out the mistakes; the one moment a game in which they let their guard drop – with all-often, dire consequences.
Jon Parkin's winner at Deepdale was just another classic example of the breed.
“For 41 minutes I thought we were the better side in the first-half,” said the Canary chief, desperate to avoid a third straight defeat this weekend.
“And then a slack moment cost us dearly. And that's probably been the way of the season so far. And we just keep stressing to the players how important it is to keep switched on – in both penalty boxes.
“It's keeping that concentration for the full 45, 46, 47 minutes whatever it may be in the first-half – and then go out again and re-focus. Because we lost that game 1-0 just due to that one, slack moment. Had we stayed in the game longer, probably feel we could have got more out of it.”
Should the worst befall either Cort or Gow or both, Gunn can at least call upon David Carney and Chris Killen after the newly-arrived loan pair topped up their match fitness with an outing for the reserves in the week. Ex-Essex scaffolder Cody McDonald started full-time training today and won't be part of this weekend's plans.
Who are clearly part of his long-term plans are the so-called 'Luton Two' of Chris Martin and Michael Spillane – Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum as ex-boss Glenn Roeder christened the teenage pair as he despatched them to the 'gulag' of Kenilworth Road; their futures very much up in the air.
Both would appear to be enjoying something of the last laugh as the Hatters look forward to a trip to Wembley for the Johnstone Paints Trophy final. Had Gunn had his way, however, both would be back at Carrow Road already.
“The Luton Two are going to Wembley and I think I better go to Wembley too and have a look at them,” said Gunn, clearly of a very different mind with regard to the two, head-strong youngsters than his predecessor.
“I've spoken to Mick Harford – he's a good lad – about both lads and he's had nothing but good things to say about them.
“Chris Martin will come back [in the summer] as he's under contract and Micky Spillane has a new contract offer on the table.”
Well under the key, Bosman age of 24, should Spillane decide not to sign, City will at least not find themselves wholly out of pocket – as they still might with Lee Croft.
“We will have our compensation rights if he does walk, but we hope that he decides to stay – that he will use his experience at Luton and come into our squad as a player under contract. And give us a little solidity next season and, hopefully, get the chance to prove his early promise.
“And show us why he has been named the Republic of Ireland Under-19 player of the year. He's showing people that he's got that promise and, hopefully, we will reap the benefits of that next year.”
Would have ever have let them go in the first place? That was a decision that wasn't his to make; when it was, it was all too late.
“I would have taken them back if I'd been given the job a week earlier,” he revealed, slightly ruefully.
“There was a clause in the contract to say that we could call them back – there was a recall clause. But, unfortunately, that didn't happen.”