The clock is ticking for Super Mario
PUBLISHED: 19:32 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 19:38 02 August 2019
Mario Vrancic is set to run out of time in his bid to start Norwich City's Premier League opener at Liverpool.
The midfielder made his first pre-season appearance in the midweek friendly defeat to Atalanta after a calf injury hindered his bid to be in contention for a start at Anfield.
Daniel Farke concedes it is now a long shot to consider Vrancic for a leading role on Merseyside.
"You can't speak about him as an option for Liverpool from the start at this stage," said Farke. "But we still have seven or eight days to go and at least he is an experienced player who doesn't need four or five games, like a younger lad. He has proved this in the past. But it would be unrealistic to speak about him as an option for the starting line up. Mario was out for such a long time.
"He has work to do to be at his best but even in 20 minutes (against Atalanta) I thought he looked sharp.
"It was good for him to have these minutes under his belt but we might not be able to give him many more against Toulouse because we have others ahead of him."
Farke also has a headache in central defence with Grant Hanley available to face the French following a groin injury but now Timm Klose missing out.
The Swiss international will not be involved in Saturday's Carrow Road pre-season finale against Toulouse to rest a hip issue, which Farke attributes to a heavy workload.
Christoph Zimmermann has missed the entire pre-season programme as he recovers from knee surgery while both Ben Godfrey and Hanley have had disrupted build-ups.
"We have to be a bit careful with Timm. After a long-term injury he more or less had to play three games in eight days so he has some tightness in his hip flexor. He won't be involved this weekend. We have to calm down the load but we are not concerned.
"It's understandable after playing so many minutes with Christoph and Grant not available at various stages."