City boss Bryan Gunn could yet find himself facing another difficult conversation with Australian international David Carney this week after the on-loan Blades winger scored one and made one in tonight's 3-0 Reserve team win over Great Yarmouth.
And made one for a certain C McDonald to boot, as the ex-Essex scaffolder marked his first competitive appearance in a Canary shirt with a 70th minute strike for City's third and final goal.
Roll the clock back some 48 hours to this weekend's 1-1 draw with Burnley and it was Carney's absence from the team-sheet that prompted one or two raised eye-brows.
For whilst many might not have penned him in for a start, his second-half efforts in the thrilling 3-3 draw at Molineux appeared to suggest that Ian Crook's faith was well-placed in his one-time young charge Down Under.
A trip half-way round the world and back again in the run-up to the game at Deepdale helped to explain why Carney was left on the bench again; where he was expected to be found come the visit of the Clarets this weekend.
“David took a knock in training yesterday [Friday],” said Gunn, speaking after the 1-1 draw with Burnley that found the Canaries lingering all-too long in the bottom three of the Championship.
“But [he] passed a fitness test this morning and I just decided that Ryan Bertrand was possibly a better option on the subs bench.”
Tonight and it would appear that Carney maybe strengthened his hand again ahead of that crucial home clash with Coventry City. For a place on the bench – it would a big, big call for the Canary chief to ease Wes Hoolahan out of that left-hand role after his man of the match efforts this weekend.
But it would appear that the new Canary chief is fast developing a tough hide – and making the kind of big decisions that he will need to do on a regular basis between now and the end of the season.
“David's disappointed,” added Gunn. “And that's something that I need to be aware of as a manager.
“And it is difficult. You've got 16 players that you can get into a shirt on a Saturday and there will be plenty of players that will be disappointed. But if they show the right character and the right attitude…
“We've got 12 games left; there will be knocks; there will be bumps and bruises I'm sure between now and the end of the season. And, obviously, we have got a player who will be leaving us in the next two weeks in Jonathan Grounds, so we will have opportunities for wide, left-sided players.”
At which point, with Adam Drury sidelined for at least two to three weeks with a recurrence of his knee trouble, Gunn will have little or no other option but to reinstall Bertrand back at left-back to leave Hoolahan and Carney to compete for the nod. Hoolahan could, of course, step inside and play in the little hole off Carl Cort thereby giving Norwich – potentially – the kind of balance that comes from playing like-for-like players on either flank with Lee Croft to the right, Carney to the left.
The fact that the latter's strike tonight was something of a peach of a free-kick from 25-yards out after Matty Pattison had opened the night's scoring will have further strengthened the Australian's cause.
With Chris Killen ruled out of the action this evening with a slight knock, the fact that McDonald was immediately demonstrating his eye for goal will have been noted.
Clearly Yarmouth are no Coventry City, but scoring goals is a habit; it also breeds the kind of confidence and self-belief any player needs to make the leap from Ryman Premier League football to the Championship in the double-quick time that the Canaries will demand of the former Dagenham hitman.
With Alan Gow missing out this weekend with a lingering thigh injury, any doubts about the on-loan Rnagers man could yet see McDonald moving further up the pecking order.
For all his raw pace and obvious enthusiasm, Luke Daley's hopes of following up this weekend's debut with a second, successive place on the bench for the Coventry game could also be hit by McDonald coming swiftly 'on stream'.
The other interesting point to note from this evening's outing for Crook's second-string charges is the fact that City's FA Youth Cup skipper Korey Smith was also captaining the Reserves.
And all from right-back, too. In the Youth Cup, the home-grown Academy product has long been the chosen, centre-midfield minder for Tom Adeyemi; step up to the senior level and the teenager's tenacious tackling is preferred at right-back where he could yet see action before the season is out should Jon Otsemobor suffer the kind of bump or bruise that Gunn fears.
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