Farke's boys buoyed by stumbles for rivals

Teemu Pukki has scored six in his last four games, including a brace at Birmingham in the 3-1 midweek Championship win 

Teemu Pukki has scored six in his last four games, including a brace at Birmingham in the 3-1 midweek Championship win - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited

Gareth Ainsworth is the frontman for a band called ‘The Cold Blooded Hearts’ when he is not trying to keep Wycombe in the Championship. 

That sums up Daniel Farke’s approach to Norwich City’s task at Adams Park on Sunday, against a club he would love to see stay up under a coach he rates highly. Especially with the incentive for Norwich to go 10 points clear of third-placed Watford with a win, after the Hornets and Swansea both lost on Saturday.

Watford went down 1-0 to Bournemouth in a spicy affair that saw both sides reduced to 10 men in the closing stages. Swansea leaked goals again in a 3-1 home defeat to Bristol City. Brentford were also losing at home to Stoke but Vitaly Janelt and Ivan Toney's 25th league goal of the season secured the points for the Bees, who cut the gap to Norwich to four points.

Brentford head to Carrow Road next week for a meaty promotion shootout, but Farke is warning is squad not to take bottom club Wycombe lightly.

“I really do like them. I love what Gareth is doing since he took over,” he said. “I would love to see them stay in the league because you want to have characters in the league and Gareth is a character. My fingers are crossed for them. But after Sunday. 

“My attitude is not to sing the praises after one month or one season and he has delivered over a number of seasons. I like the mindset, I like the bravery. Of course they are not the biggest name in this league but they go for it. They want to stick to their style.

Norwich City boss Daniel Farke is a huge fan of Wycombe Wanderers' rival Gareth Ainsworth 

Norwich City boss Daniel Farke is a huge fan of Wycombe Wanderers' rival Gareth Ainsworth - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited

“It is a big task for them as a club to stay in this league and although maybe everyone has written them off because they are a few points below the line they can still beat a team like Reading with a clean sheet win after having a man sent off. That says a lot about the togetherness. They will take this confidence into our game. The flame will be burning but we also have our claims. They have good players, a fantastic coach who totally suits the fit of that club.” 

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Todd Cantwell misses out with a calf injury but Ben Gibson is back in the mix, and Farke is tempted to restore him to the centre of defence alongside captain Grant Hanley.  

“A player of his class, quality and personality is always good in the starting line up,” he said. “He has not been out that long and with a back issue it can be painful for three or four days but then you can recover well. He is our only left footed centre back so that is a natural option for the balance in the team.” 

Ben Gibson is available after sitting out the past two Norwich City games with a back issue

Ben Gibson is available after sitting out the past two Norwich City games with a back issue - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited

Marco Stiepermann scored on Friday in the development squad’s 3-0 Middlesbrough’s Under-23s. The attacking midfielder will return to the first team set up from Monday if he suffers no adverse reaction after his two-month lay off after being diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus. 

Orjan Nyland will also come into Farke’s thoughts after this weekend. The Norwegian international keeper, who joined on a free transfer in January, is now in team training after completing his rehab work following back surgery before Christmas. 

“After being out for several months there is no need to rush him back. He won’t be in the Wycombe squad,” said Farke. “It is important for him to get more confidence in his body from day to day, and each training day will help him. But we have two good keepers in Tim Krul and Dan Barden.” 

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