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Fitness doubts for City but Farke sure Hornets will also be feeling pressure of survival battle

PUBLISHED: 17:52 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 18:48 06 July 2020

Alex Tettey faces a late fitness test on his knee ahead of Norwich City's game at Watford 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Alex Tettey faces a late fitness test on his knee ahead of Norwich City's game at Watford Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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Norwich City will be without Todd Cantwell for tomorrow’s trip to Watford and also have two further midfielders facing late fitness tests ahead of the clash with another of the Premier League’s struggling sides.

The Canaries will travel to Hertfordshire knowing their fate is all but sealed, sitting seven points adrift of the Hornets in the final position of safety after five consecutive league defeats.

However, Watford have also lost their last three matches and are just a point clear of the relegation zone.

“It’s a quick turnaround so we will have to make some late decisions because after a game there are always a few players who are struggling with injuries or hits or whatever,” Farke explained.

“Kenny McLean rolled his ankle a little bit, we have to wait to see how he will recover in order to be available, so a bit of a question mark behind him.

“Also Alex Tettey has got some problems with his knee. I think they both should be fine but at least there are question marks.

“Todd Cantwell is not available, he’s moaning about a few hamstring problems. During the game, in the first situation he was touching his hamstring a few times and he still doesn’t feel comfortable.

“So for that he is not available and then we have our long-term injuries who are out for the whole season.”

Cantwell came on in the 67th minute of Saturday’s damaging 1-0 home defeat to Brighton and is City’s second highest scorer this season, with six league goals to his name.

Farke is hopeful the England Under-21 international will be fit for Saturday’s home game against West Ham though.

He added: “I hope that will be available then, perhaps just a few days will be enough for him to recover. His hamstring doesn’t seem too bad but he doesn’t feel 100 percent comfortable. For that he is not available for the next game but a return should be possible for the next game.”

Mario Vrancic also has no injury issue, despite only featuring as a substitute during City’s five games since the season was resumed.

“He was involved in all of our last five league games,” Farke confirmed. “He was on the pitch, nothing in doubt, he is available.”

The Canaries travel to Hertfordshire knowing an immediate return to the Championship is looking likely but Farke is also expecting Nigel Pearson’s team to be feeling the strain, after a 3-0 loss at Chelsea on Saturday evening.

“In general you get the feeling that they are pretty solid and compact,” City’s head coach said of the Hornets. “It’s a physical side, an unbelievably experienced side, they have many experienced players on this level.

“It’s always a side which plays with aggression, intensity, commitment and also unity and compactness, once they defend pretty deep it’s pretty difficult to create chances against them.

“They’re also struggling, it’s not like we need to speak about a team who wins the title in the Premier League right now, they are also struggling to get the right result.

“Meanwhile they are a pretty experienced club on this level, an experienced head coach, so for that we are respectful, without any doubt, and we know for them they have a home game against a side which is sitting in position 20 in the league.

“Of course they want to win this game and perhaps need to win this game in order to make sure that they achieve their targets and their goals. For that we are respectful, we know it’s a huge task but nevertheless we want to be there with a good performance and we want to make their life as difficult as possible.”

Norwich only got their first taste of away action since the season resumed amid the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, during a 4-0 loss at Arsenal, as there other four matches have been at home.

With social distancing measures still in place where possible, apart from on the pitch, Farke admitted it was an unusual set-up at Emirates Stadium.

“It’s still a bit strange that you are not allowed to use the dressing rooms,” he explained. “At Arsenal for example we had to separate the players and the staff, we are not allowed to come together in one dressing room, we had to separate into six rooms, or something like this.

“It still feels a bit strange and it’s difficult to create this feeling of togetherness and unity, but that’s what all clubs have to handle so it’s not a disadvantage for us, it’s for all the same and for all the clubs we have to accept this new normality.”


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