Five changes for Canaries as Zimmermann returns to three-man defence
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Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke has made five changes to his starting XI for tonight’s game at Barnsley.
The German has changed formation to bring his three-at-the-back shape back together in defence, with the fit-again Christoph Zimmermann starting, shaking off an illness which saw him lose almost a stone in weight having missed the last two matches.
Ivo Pinto returns to make his first start in almost two months after a knee injury, starting at right wing-back, with James Husband returning on the left in place of rested youngster Jamal Lewis – making his first appearance of 2018, since the 0-0 draw at Burton on December 30.
Marley Watkins leads the line against his former club, in place of the injured Nelson Oliveira, as he searches for his first league goal for City and Josh Murphy returns in attack in place of Onel Hernandez.
Alex Tettey also starts despite a sore knee and the threat of being one yellow card away from a two-match ban, although the amnesty for that 10-yellow ban follows tonight’s game.
Harrison Reed is fit enough for the bench despite illness, where Lewis and Hernandez are joined by centre-back Sean Raggett.
The Canaries go into the game looking to bounce back from a chaotic 4-3 defeat at Hull on Saturday, which brought an end to a seven-match unbeaten run and five successive draws.
Barnsley also make five chages to their starting line-up, with goalkeeper Adam Davies reclaiming his place from Nick Townsend and Mamadou Thiam returning in attack. Full-backs Andy Yiadom and Zeki Fryers are also back in, with Brad Potts returning in midfield.
The hosts have picked up four points from a possible 15 since Jose Morais replaced Paul Heckingbottom as head coach last month, losing 2-1 at Cardiff last week and 3-1 at Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Only the bottom two have picked up fewer points at home than the 15 managed by the Tykes with three wins and six draws, playing a large part in them sitting one place and two points above the drop zone ahead of kick-off.
They haven’t won at home for four months, since beating Birmingham 2-0 in early November, drawing four and losing five of their nine attempts since – although they did impress during a 1-1 draw at Carrow Road in November, before Heckingbottom had left for Leeds.
Norwich: Gunn; Hanley, Zimmermann, Klose; Pinto (C), Tettey, Vrancic, Husband; Murphy, Maddison, Watkins. Subs: McGovern (GK), Reed, Raggett, Lewis, Hoolahan, Hernandez, Srbeny
Barnsley: Davies; Yiadom (C), Jackson, Lindsay, Fryers; Potts, Williams, Gardner; Thiam, Moore, McBurnie. Subs: Townsend (GK), Cavare, Pearson, Moncur, Isgrove, Mallan, Bradshaw
City team news
Moritz Leitner headed a gloomy injury and illness bulletin delivered yesterday by Daniel Farke. Leitner is out for at least a month with a hamstring injury suffered at Hull. Nelson Oliveira (calf) is expected to miss the next fortnight. Harrison Reed is the latest City player to go down with the sickness bug which has seen Christoph Zimmermann lose six kilos in the past week. Both are rated major doubts for the trip to Oakwell. Alex Tettey is expected to miss out through his on-going knee issues, after a gruelling spell. Tettey is also one booking away from a two-match ban. Marco Stiepermann (hernia) and Tom Trybull (knee) will not return before the upcoming international break. Louis Thompson (Achilles) is a longer term injury absentee.
Barnsley team news
Defensive duo Ethan Pinnock and Matt Mills are still on the injury list.
One to watch – Oliver McBurnie
First call up to the Scotland squad yesterday and Championship player-of-the-month for February. Scored four in his first five games since joining on loan from Swansea in January.
Barnsley manager – Jose Morais
Surprising choice to replace Paul Heckingbottom. Well-travelled coach and a former assistant of Jose Mourinho’s at Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea.
Referee – Stephen Martin (Staffs)
Shown 76 yellow and two red cards during 33 matches this season.