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Cody ready and waiting

PUBLISHED: 10:44 27 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:46 03 July 2010

Bryan Gunn could be about to bring Cody McDonald's learning curve forward by four months and hope the star of tomorrow becomes of today.

The 22-year-old was meant to be one for the future, but with David Mooney ineligible and Lee Croft a major doubt because of injury, the Essex boy is on the verge of his first start.

Bryan Gunn could be about to bring Cody McDonald's learning curve forward by four months and hope the star of tomorrow becomes of today.

The 22-year-old was meant to be one for the future, but with David Mooney ineligible and Lee Croft a major doubt because of injury, the Essex boy is on the verge of his first start.

McDonald's enthusiasm for the job - plus some eye-catching cameo appearances - have put him bang in the frame as Gunn and his team work out their options for tonight's vital game against Reading.

Gunn confirmed that McDonald was “high up in our thoughts” before a training session when he would see how the permutations and partnerships would work out on the Carrow Road pitch.

If Croft misses out, the assumption is that David Carney starts wide right, leaving Gunn to choose between Alan Gow, Ryan Bertrand or Simon Lappin for the wide left role - but given the increased need for a victory it could be the more attack-minded Gow.

It's a fairly even call, but should Gow get the nod, then Gunn needs to find a partner for Alan Lee. Would it be McDonald, or could there be a surprise recall for Jamie Cureton, who has been out of the picture since the end of February?

“Cody obviously will come into our thoughts, very much so,” said Gunn. “Weeks ago I said Jamie was training with us and will continue to train with us. He might well have a part to play.

“Alan Gow is another one who has played up front. We have got options and we have got options in wide areas as well, so we will be looking at that. We will have a practise match on the pitch and see how certain things work out.

“But there are opportunities for other players who have been patient and hopefully they will be able to take those opportunities if they are given to them.”

The Lee-McDonald partnership whets the appetite, although it's not yet got past the drawing board.

“They have worked together in training in some of the different attacking moves that we do,” said Gunn. “They will work together and we will try different options and we will see how they react to that. It has certainly got the sound of a good partnership - and you have got the experience and the youth, which could blend nicely as well.

“We will be looking closely at that and a couple of other options that we might need to change to during the match.”

It's the name McDonald which sticks out and which would be a hit with fans who have taken the former scaffolder, signed from non-league Dartford in the January transfer window, to their hearts.

He scored on his debut, against Cardiff, and even in the East Anglian derby eight days ago was a highly-effective second-half substitute. When he appears, something often happens.

“It's the attitude he's got,” said Gunn. “I know he just wants to get on the pitch, and that's the same with the training pitch as well, it's exactly the same in training. He just loves being a football player.

“We were standing at the Cathedral the other day in splendid surroundings and six weeks earlier he could have been on top of it building a new roof which some other guys were doing. It's been a big turnaround for him and he's just loving every minute of it.

“I know if we did put him in the starting line-up he wouldn't let us down. He's got that freshness about him that he will go out there and give his all and that's all you can ask.

“He's is certainly high up in our thoughts.”

Croft is rated 50-50 at best because of the calf injury he picked up at Portman Road which prevented him training all week.

“Probably not even as good as that,” said Gunn. “It's not looking great.”

Croft didn't train with the squad at Carrow Road on Saturday, when left back Adam Drury was also absent, with Gunn refusing to allow him to mix with other players because of a sore throat, although he expects him to be available tonight. Back-up defender Adrian Leijer has a knock on the foot but was expected to train.


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