'I would have no fears playing Lukas' - Smith on Rupp call
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Dean Smith trusts Lukas Rupp to fill the void left by the injured Mathias Normann for Norwich City’s Premier League crunch trip to Newcastle United.
Rupp deputised for the Norwegian international after his long running pelvic issue flared up in the first half of the 0-0 draw against Wolves.
Normann is ruled out of Tuesday’s St James’ Park basement battle, but City boss Smith is ready to turn to the experienced Rupp.
“I would have no fears playing Lukas,” he said. “I was really pleased with his reaction when he came on the pitch. He played really well. He set up two great chances for both Max (Aarons) and Teemu (Pukki) and had a big chance himself. He showed myself and Craig (Shakespeare) what strengths and abilities he has got, but there's others pushing as well.
"Pierre (Lees-Melou) has been really good in training over the last few days. And Jacob Sorensen, who's been unfortunate not to get on the bench because he has shown us his strengths as well.
“Mathias has got a pelvic injury at the moment where he's in a bit of pain and it is one that we've been managing. The plan is he goes to a see a specialist just to get the best advice.”
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Smith admitted on Monday he had been ‘pleasantly surprised’ at the quality of the squad he inherited.
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“I've been very, very impressed with the squad,” he said. “Unfortunately, a manager can only pick 11 players to go and play the game and you're going to upset some players. But there's been a togetherness about the group, and I've included them in everything so far.
"They understand they have to be ready when the opportunity arises. I asked the players, or the subs before the (Wolves) game, when they come on to make an impact and Lukas certainly did that.
“When you are at another club, as I was at Aston Villa, your perception from the outside is they have lost the first four or five games, and haven’t won for the first nine. So you have a perception of that squad already. But when you come into the building, that perception gets taken away very quickly.
"You put on your first couple of training sessions and myself and Craig have been very impressed. It gives us that renewed belief of why we came here that we could keep our club in the Premier League this season.”