‘That doesn’t feel like fair play’ - Farke admits cards are stacked against City at Luton
The irony is not lost on Daniel Farke that a summer swelling Norwich City’s squad for the Championship battles ahead leaves him scratching around to put out a side for Saturday’s League Cup opener at Luton Town.
Farke has totted up 15 of his players are away on international duty. Add to that injury absences for a trio of defensive options in Xavi Quintilla, Grant Hanley and Sam Byram, plus a suspension for Emi Buendia, and there could be some unfamiliar faces on show in the travelling party at Kenilworth Road.
That is not even including Tom Trybull, Moritz Leitner and Josip Drmic who are deemed surplus to requirements as City strive to refresh the playing roster following relegation from the Premier League.
Ben Gibson was confirmed as the 11th new signing of the summer on Friday night but the on loan Burnley centre back will not feature at the Hatters.
“We won’t be ringing Luton to say we are not coming. I like the cups and I want to go to the next round,” said the City head coach. “It is one of the toughest tasks in this round. Away at a Championship side who have more or less all their players available and who want to build on a very good finish to last season and keep that momentum.
“We are confident we can have a good performance and a good result.
“They will be highly motivated against a side who not all that long ago were in the Premier League.
“We have 15 internationals away, plus the usual injury concerns so it has been tricky.
“Our opponent has two internationals away. That doesn’t feel like fair play but we won’t use it as an excuse.
“The training group was not that big this week. It feels strange. This is the first time in my career where I play a competitive game with 15 internationals away. I don’t want to blame anyone. But this game perhaps doesn’t have the value this competition should have. We don’t complain too much.”
Farke can still call on some exciting attacking options for the first round tie.
“In some positions we have competition. If I look at the attacking positions in midfield we have (Marco) Stiepermann, (Kieran) Dowell and (Mario) Vrancic,” he said. “It is a bit tricker on the wings if Onel (Hernandez) is not available.
“Josh Martin is the only natural winger. Defensive midfielders we don’t have (Oliver) Skipp, (Kenny) McLean or (Jacob) Sorensen.
“The same in full back and centre back areas, so we have to find some solutions that are not easy.
“It is a chance for some other lads who are perhaps further away from the starting line up. We will have a group with some under-23 players.”
Farke confirmed on Friday Welsh Under-19 international keeper Daniel Barden will make his competitive debut with Tim Krul and Michael McGovern absent.
“I totally back him. He is a great lad who is full of potential,” said the City boss. “Inexperienced on this level but it was important for him to get some game time against a decent German side last week in the Darmstadt friendly. We don’t expect a world class performance at Luton or witchcraft but I am confident he can deliver.
“This is a chance for younger players to shine, to prove they can play at a Championship level. This is a tough situation.
“They want to perform on this level, or higher, one day in their careers. The tricky bit is some of these younger players at Luton might have to carry the team.
“But it is a test do they have the quality to perform on this level right now, or do they need more time.”