Midfield maestro a ‘major doubt’ but Buendia will be fit for City’s trip to lowly Hull

PUBLISHED: 14:08 26 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:57 26 November 2018

Moritz Leitner in action during City's 4-1 win at Swansea on Saturday 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Moritz Leitner in action during City's 4-1 win at Swansea on Saturday Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Moritz Leitner faces a late fitness test ahead of Norwich City’s trip to Hull.

The German midfielder has been an integral part of the play which has taken the Canaries to the top of the table, with Saturday’s 4-1 win at Swansea their sixth consecutive victory.

The former Borussia Dortmund starlet was replaced by Jordan Rhodes in the 89th minute in South Wales and could miss the battle against second-from-bottom Hull.

“Emi Buendia got a knock against his knee but he seems to be okay and is available no problem,” head coach Daniel Farke said.

“A bit of a major doubt is Moritz Leitner, with problems with his calf. There will be a late decision, we still have training in the afternoon (before flying to Hull) and also a short, light session in the morning. All the other lads are okay.”

Leitner has played in every one of City’s league games so far this season, with the 25-year-old starting all but the 2-2 draw at Birmingham on the opening day.

Tom Trybull and Mario Vrancic would appear to be the frontrunners to fill in for Leitner if needed, with both having to be patient for chances this season despite good contributions.

“We have several options and some difficult decisions,” Farke continued. “Sometimes to leave Jordan Rhodes out or Dennis Srbeny, although he was brilliant in the recent games and also in training, I can just praise him when he was not involved in our squad.

“The same with Ivo Pinto or Felix Passlack, so we have several good options in our positions and a big competition.

“We hope Moritz is available because he has been really crucial but if not then it’s a chance for a different player to be there with a good performance and to make his claim.”

Grant Hanley is also in contention to return to the squad having not featured since early September due to a thigh injury, after 90 minutes for the under-23s during a 0-0 draw with Southampton at Colney on Friday.

“All okay, it was important for him to have the first game minutes in several months, it helps a lot,” the Canaries chief added of Hanley.

“With a centre-back it differs a lot in comparison to a more offensive player or a midfielder or winger who has to run a lot.

“As a centre-back it’s more important to play without mistakes and it’s especially about decision making, with an offensive player sometimes you can throw him in after injury and he can do something magic.

“As centre-back it is important to get used to the pace and decision making, to have the right feeling for his movements.

“It was good for Grant to have 90 minutes, it helped him a lot.”

Kenny McLean (ankle), Matt Jarvis and Carlton Morris (both knee) are all in training but not yet ready to play, with winger Jarvis potentially targeting an U23 return soon.

Scotland international midfielder McLean could be in contention next month but striker Morris and midfielder Louis Thompson (shoulder) are unlikely to return this year.

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