BIG MATCH PREVIEW: Farke on Blues' test and selection posers
PUBLISHED: 06:10 18 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:19 18 January 2019
Daniel Farke insists the cards are already stacked against his injury-hit Norwich without turning Birmingham's visit into a must-win at Carrow Road.
City dropped out of the automatic Championship promotion places on goal difference, despite a late 1-1 comeback at West Brom, but get the first chance on Friday night to strike a blow on their rivals this weekend.
Timm Klose (knee) and Alex Tettey (groin) are the latest injury absentees ruled out, joining Moritz Leitner on the sidelines, which only serves to increase the degree of difficulty against a free-scoring Blues’ outfit.
“No, definitely not (a must-win),” said Farke. “Birmingham will be unbelievably hard to beat, so solid. They started with seven draws in a row or something like this and they play in a different style to us.
“In terms of possession they are probably ranked 24th in the league but they are so well-structured and disciplined without the ball.
“They have a narrow shape and big threats in the offence.
“When you have Jota and (Jacques) Maghoma and strikers like (Che) Adams with 13 goals and (Lukas) Jutkiewicz with 10 then you have players on the pitch who can create some really good moments. We have to be awake.
“It will be important we control the ball, and the counters.
“We also have to be patient. Leeds lost against Birmingham. I am pretty sure they were prepared because they analysed their last 50 games or something but it shows how tough it can be against them.”
Marco Stiepermann is fit for duty, after a full week’s training following his lay-off with a thigh problem, but who gets the nod in place of the experienced Tettey is a big selection call.
“We have different options to change our base formation. If you are talking about a direct replacement then Tom Trybull is a perfect option,” said Farke. “He can play this deeper role. Kenny McLean is also an option, Louis Thompson as well but we have to keep in mind he is only back for nine days. He is not prepared to be in the starting line up.
“It might make more sense to give him some time in the under-23s.
“We have to play this game without several players, and Marco just back from injury, but we are greedy for points. We need 100pc our supporters because it will need patience to create chances against Birmingham.
“There will be difficult periods and we need that unity.”