Team news: Rhodes fit for Birmingham trip, with Tettey, Pinto and Lewis all in training for City, but Oliveira will not travel
PUBLISHED: 14:55 03 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:55 03 August 2018
Jordan Rhodes is fit and available for Norwich City's opening-day fixture at Birmingham City.
Canaries head coach Daniel Farke has confirmed that striker Rhodes (ankle) and left-back Jamal Lewis (illness and muscle strain) have both returned to training in the last couple of days, although Lewis is unlikely to be involved having missed all of pre-season.
As expected, midfielder Alex Tettey (chickenpox) and right-back Ivo Pinto (hamstring) have trained all week but St Andrew’s may also come too soon after a lack of pre-season involvement.
“I’m not sure why it is like this, perhaps it is coincidence, it was 20 years ago, it will be in 20 years that during pre-season there are slight problems and then when the real stuff begins the players are fine,” Farke said with a smile.
“But in general, without joking, the players are pretty good. Jamal for two days has been back in team training, it’s too early to bring him to Birmingham on the pitch but he is back in team training.
“Ivo was back in team training at the beginning of the week, Alex Tettey has been back for eight days and all the other lads who have had problems, all in all, are pretty good.
“The only one long term is Mario Vrancic and of course Matt Jarvis but all the other lads are fit and available and okay for some it is too early, like for Ivo and Jamal it is a bit too early, but the others are prepared and ready.”
Rhodes featured regularly in pre-season after sealing his season-long loan from Sheffield Wednesday but tweaked ankle ligaments in the penultimate friendly at Luton so was rested for last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Charlton.
“He is back in team training since Wednesday,” Farke added of the striker. “100 percent he will travel with us to Birmingham, he is within the travelling squad.
“We have to think about after this injury whether it makes sense to bring him into the starting line-up but he was able to train the last two days with us and he can at least travel with us.”
Press conference recap: Webber and Farke on duty as Canaries prepare for trip to Birmingham
The German also said he was happy with the attitude of his players during training this week, after making it clear places in his starting XI were still up for grabs after being unhappy with the first half performance in particular at Charlton.
“I’m totally pleased with this week, with the performances,” Farke said at Colney. “I’m a deep believer in you play how you train, but it’s never a guarantee.
“A good pre-season or a good last week, or especially a good last session, is never a guarantee that you are there with an unbelievable, world class performance in the first game.
“But I’m not a believer in coincidence. I’m a believer in hard work and well deserved benefit and all I can is that I have the feeling we are well prepared but the most important thing is we bring that onto the pitch.”
With sporting director Stuart Webber also speaking to the media at lunchtime, confirming that Russell Martin and Nelson Oliveira are still likely to be leaving the club, Farke confirmed that striker Oliveira was not part of his plans for Birmingham, despite training with his squad.
“With Nelson it’s quite relaxed,” he added. “To be honest, he’s part of our group (in training). He wears the number nine shirt and each and every day he is with the lads on the training pitch and to be honest, training pretty well, he’s in a pretty good shape.
“But we have been pretty honest with Nelson and have brought some new strikers in and 100 percent we would concentrate on integrating them in the team and focus on them.
“So to be honest Nelson is not in my thoughts for tomorrow but you never know what happens in football. It’s a bit different if he is around and there are some injuries.”