Gunn ready to celebrate

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The Independent Online
Bryan Gunn, the Norwich goalkeeper, completed the first stage of what he hopes will be a double celebration yesterday after his wife, Susan, gave birth to their first son.

Now the Scottish international plans to wet the baby's head by helping his side into the semi-finals of the Coca-Cola Cup in tonight's fifth round replay against Birmingham City at St Andrews.

The birth was particularly special as Gunn's first child, Francesca, died of leukaemia four years ago. The loss led him to him setting up the Bryan Gunn Appeal for Leukaemia Research, a charity that has now raised over pounds 400,000.

Gunn was prepared to miss the cup tie to be at the birth of the latest addition to his family, but that would have been a major blow for Norwich.

The goalkeeper, who also has a daughter, missed most of last season with a broken ankle but has been the hero of the Coca-Cola Cup run this term.

He saved three spot kicks in a penalty shoot-out win at Bolton in the last round and stopped a Jonathan Hunt penalty when they held Birmingham to a 1-1 draw at Carrow Road two weeks ago.

Gary Megson, the Norwich manager, is still sweating, though, on the fitness of the winger Darren Eadie, who picked up a thigh injury in the 1-0 defeat by Luton on Saturday. Jeremy Goss, who replaced Eadie at half-time in that demoralising defeat, is standing by again.

Megson admitted yesterday: "If we play as we did against Luton then there is no point in us even turning up."

Birmingham have also been in a trough of poor form, though, and their manager, Barry Fry, knows they must lift themselves to make sure of a semi-final meeting with cup favourites Leeds next month.

The Blues are still in the top half of the First Division, but Fry describes a miserable return of just nine points out of the last 30 and an FA Cup exit at the hands of Wolves as "relegation form". He said: "This is a big week, with also a chance of reaching Wembley in the Anglo-Italian Cup against West Brom to come."

Gary Poole, the full back, is set to return after a leg injury and that could mean Fry dispensing with Michael Johnson as sweeper. The midfielder Paul Tait, a substitute in Saturday's defeat at Ipswich, is pushing for a recall after shaking off a knee problem.