Team news: Farke facing ‘late decisions’ to ensure City are fresh for Brentford battle
Norwich City have no fresh injury issues ahead of their New Year’s Day trip to Brentford – but Daniel Farke admits he still faces some late decisions to ensure his team are fresh for the challenge.
The Griffin Park encounter will be a fourth Championship fixture in 11 days for the high-flying Canaries, following on the heels of dramatic home games, drawing 3-3 with Nottingham Forest and losing 4-3 to Derby.
Ben Godfrey was struggling with cramp in the final stages of the Derby defeat, as he filled in at left-back for the injured Jamal Lewis, but Farke has no additional injured players joining Lewis (hamstring), Mo Leitner and Emi Buendia (both ankle) on the sidelines.
“Everything’s okay, of course there was a lot of load in recent days, a few players are a bit tired,” City’s head coach said at his pre-match press conference at Colney.
“For Ben (Godfrey) he was not used to playing that much in the beginning of the season and right now it is four games in 11 days.
“I think he was there with really good performances, I think he was there a bit tired in the last 10 minutes but that is quite normal, all the players on the pitch were struggling a bit, the Derby players also in the last minutes during this period.
“It is like it is, it’s a busy period, you have to struggle a bit but all is okay.”
There is still plenty for Farke to consider though, with fit-again captain Grant Hanley waiting in the wings after seeing seven goals conceded in the last two games, with Christoph Zimmermann returning from illness to start against Derby.
And with Brentford having picked up recently, beating Bolton 1-0 in their last home game before draws at Bristol City and Birmingham, the Canaries need to find fresh energy if they are to stay in the top two.
And Farke suggested that Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie with League One side Portsmouth will allow him some added freedom in terms of selection.
“We will have some late decisions, for each and every club it is the same right now, every team will feel a bit tired after this period,” Farke continued.
“We don’t have to rest any players in order to keep them fresh for the next league game because that is in 10 days and we don’t need to rest anyone for the next game.
“It’s more like you have to think a bit about it if there are perhaps a few players who are too tired in order to have a decent impact in the next game.
“This is always what you think about and in general when you analyse the games in the whole Championship, it’s more like the teams who are rotating a bit too much have problems in consistency with results.
“We have rotated a bit less than last season so far and have got well deserved results with this. But with each and every game you have to analyse how tired the players are, especially the offensive players.
“For example, Teemu (Pukki), who is delivering with goals in each and every game but also there is a lot of workload.
“We know after this game we have 10 days to rest and then it is can he again have such an impact or should we change our offensive positions in the midfield or the wings.
“To create something special you have to be really recreated and fresh, it’s perhaps easier to play many games in the defensive positions because you don’t have to run that much.
“So it’s more about the tricky balance to make sure you don’t break your rhythm and rotate too much.
“So I have some late decisions to make but in general in terms of injuries no new concerns, so with 24 hours to go at least, all are available.”
The Canaries chief also stressed that the hectic loss to Derby – which saw City leading 3-2 before a 20 minute delay for a floodlight failure in the 81st minute – must be forgotten about quickly.
“In general in the last weeks the games have been pretty emotional with some dramatic endings,” he added. “It is like it is and it’s important to sleep at night, speak about it and analyse in a calmed down and neutral way.
“It’s important to go further on and the games are coming thick and fast, it’s a pretty busy period and the next day you have to be switched on to be prepared for your next opponent.
“That’s what we’ve done in the last 24 hours in order to be prepared for Brentford.”