Norwich City have been rocked by the news that striker Lewis Grabban could be out for the remainder of the season, confirmed by the BBC. The 27-year-old striker signed for an undisclosed fee from Bournemouth this summer has scored 12 goals in 32 league appearances, and has been a vital component in the Canaries' promotion charge with five goals in his last five games.
With the Croydon-born striker potentially out of the next 10 games, it now falls to Cameron Jerome and Gary Hooper to score the goals to fire Norwich into the top flight. The Canaries currently sit in fifth place having won seven of their last eight games and are in a pack of teams separated by a solitary point.
Norwich have shown that there can be goals without Grabban, with Jonny Howson scoring twice at the weekend past Millwall as the East Anglians won 4-1 to maintain their promotion hopes. Jerome has 17 goals this season and Hooper 10 including a penalty at the Den, and they are ably backed up by a midfield bossed by the superb Wes Hoolahan who also scored past Millwall. The midfield has further been bolstered by the recent signing of Graham Dorrans on loan.
Yet one of the key points that has pushed Norwich so much further on has been the defence. A settled back four under Neil has conceded just three goals in their last six games and it's upon this platform that the Canaries have been able to build their recent good form.
Centre-backs Russell Martin and Sebastien Bassong have built a solid partnership in the heart of defence while Steven Whittaker and Martin Olsson have nailed down the full-back slots. Provided Norwich can keep that back four together for the large part of the run-in they have every chance of pushing for an automatic slot.
Next Saturday's home game against out-of-sorts Derby County will be a crunch clash; win that and the psychological advantage will be very much with the Canaries going into spring.