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Sheffield United v Norwich City match preview: Daniel Farke ready to unleash new frontline

Nelson Oliveira's groing injury is a big chance for his Norwich City rivals. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Nelson Oliveira's groing injury is a big chance for his Norwich City rivals. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Daniel Farke promises Norwich City have the firepower to cope with the absence of prolific striker Nelson Oliveira.

Daniel Farke has some selection posers at the top end of the pitch. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Daniel Farke has some selection posers at the top end of the pitch. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The Portuguese international is ruled out of the trip to Bramall Lane with a groin injury. Cameron Jerome is the next cab off the rank and Marley Watkins may be another beneficiary from Oliveira’s injury exit.

Farke revealed on Friday Watkins’ recent World Cup duty hindered his bid to become a permanent fixture for City in the early weeks of the new campaign.

“We shouldn’t put too much pressure on Cam – it’s up to everyone to score goals. I’m thinking about some changes, but it won’t be too many,” said Farke. “For the offensive players it is maybe harder to go again after a few days, with all due respect to the defenders, because it is the mental and physical side of trying to score goals rather than keep them out. It won’t be eight or nine changes. Defensively, you want the team in the same rhythm and getting used to each other. I won’t tell Sheffield too much about our strategy but it is always good to have pace in the team. Josh (Murphy) is a threat and to have guys like Marley and Yanic Wildschut they can create space because of their speed.

Marley Watkins could be back in the mix to face Sheffield United. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Marley Watkins could be back in the mix to face Sheffield United. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

“But I want 11 football players, not 11 Usain Bolts. Yes, it was hard to leave Marley out. I was content with his performances but I decided to bring Nelson to the striker position and that left just one option on the bench and we go for Cameron with his experience and ability to score. Then we went with Yanic as another option (against Burton). Marley was away with his national squad for 12 days and I had the other guys here who were able to train and really focus on the shape of the team.”

City have kept consecutive clean sheets at Carrow Road, which has lessened the need to fast-track Scottish international Grant Hanley into Farke’s starting XI.

“He is close (to starting). It is nearly two weeks now and each and every session is a step forward,” he said. “It is not so easy to get used to the guys because at this stage with so many games it is more about recovery than hard training sessions, so that makes it harder to adapt. On the other side there is not much reason to change defensively.

Cameron Jerome is in pole position to replace Nelson Oliveira. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Cameron Jerome is in pole position to replace Nelson Oliveira. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

“The two centre backs have helped keep clean sheets so there would not be many arguments to change a lot. I know when I need him I can rely on him.

“We have improved with two clean sheets and given very few chances away and it is the base for success. It was quite obvious after (Aston) Villa and Millwall we had to focus on the defensive behaviour. It would be nice to be perfect in defence and going forward. If I could draw the perfect situation it would be a clean sheet and fireworks, in terms of scoring goals.”

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