Wes Hoolahan loved his Ipswich Town tussles. Now Daniel Farke eyes one more salvo
PUBLISHED: 20:54 27 April 2018 | UPDATED: 20:54 27 April 2018
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Wes Hoolahan’s swansong is not the only motivation for Norwich City this weekend - Daniel Farke revealed finishing above Ipswich Town remains a prime target.
Hoolahan’s 352nd and final competitive appearance against Leeds United will be an emotional affair on Saturday. The Dubliner finishes his career unbeaten in East Anglian derby skirmishes - memorably slotting a nerveless penalty in those epic 2015 play-off tussles - and Farke wants another badge over City’s bitter rivals.
Norwich go into the final two Championship games a point clear of Town, after a 0-0 draw at Preston last weekend moved them ahead of the managerless Blues.
“We are totally aware about this fact. It is pretty pleasant and even in the dressing room after the (Preston) game it was a topic that brought a smile to the face,” said Farke. “We must now fight further on.
“We are above Ipswich and, okay, it is not the most important thing in the world if you look at the league table but for us and for our supporters it is really a goal worth fighting for and we want a perfect end to the season.
“Now we must hope to finish above Ipswich after 46 games.”
Farke’s squad can finish no higher than 12th this season, but the City head coach believes the groundwork is being laid to meet the expectations of the Canaries’ support.
“After 44 games the table does not lie,” he said. “We are much closer to the promotion ranks than relegation so in general the tendency is a bit more looking up rather than any concerns behind us.
“We could easily have had another two or three wins and that would put us into the battle for the play-offs.
“When you work for such a big club with this history you have to think big and aim for the biggest goals and dream of extraordinary things.
“But for me it is important to be realistic when you view it in a calm situation.
“For many topics this was a difficult season. There was a need for big change and the board were brave last spring and summer to change the philosophy.
“Not just in regard of the wage bill and the transfers but to build something longer term with the academy and the infrastructure. It is brave because that doesn’t help so much in the short term.”
Farke was recruited to deliver that policy change but the head coach and Stuart Webber will again have to deal with the financial reality of life outside the Premier League this coming summer.
“We had two really difficult years, the first was relegation out of the Premier League and then the second when you are able to spend a lot of money but with disappointing results,” said Farke.
“Then the financial pressure means we have to earn money by selling players.
“That was crucial for the club. But if you are the club that earned the most money in this way then it is not realistic to think you can be in position one or two. Manchester City win the title but they have not had to do that.
“In Germany, the same with Bayern Munich. In Spain, Real Madrid or Barcelona.
“In the Championship, Wolves will win the league. It might happen one time but you can’t realistically expect that.
“I never complained but to sell many important players and lower the age of the squad for the mid to long term makes things harder when you also add injuries to key players.”