Team news: Oliveira back in full training but Maddison and Jerome are doubts for City's home clash with Barnsley
PUBLISHED: 15:57 17 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:04 17 November 2017
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Nelson Oliveira is back in full training ahead of Norwich City's battle with Barnsley but James Maddison and Cameron Jerome are slight doubts for the Carrow Road clash.
Canaries head coach Daniel Farke delivered another lengthy team news bulletin at Colney ahead of the game this afternoon, as he has had to do on many occasions during an injury-hit opening third of the campaign.
The good news was that striker Oliveira (calf) has used the international break to deal with his fitness issues and that long-term absentee Alex Pritchard (ankle) has returned to full training – although is not yet in contention for a first-team return.
Key midfielder Alex Tettey is still out with his calf issue until early December, when young left-back Jamal Lewis (knee) could also return to training, but Scottish forward Steven Naismith has picked up a minor ankle knock which rules him out of tomorrow’s game.
However, Maddison returned from making his England U21 debut during a 2-0 qualifying win in Ukraine alongside keeper Angus Gunn last Friday – but came back to Norfolk with a hamstring issue.
“Cameron Jerome had some problems yesterday, he got hit on his foot but he returned to training today,” Farke explained. “It was still a little bit painful and we have to think about a decision for tomorrow but it is not a big problem, just a small problem.
“The only other concern is James Maddison, he came back with problems in the hamstring and yesterday he wasn’t able to train 100 percent.
“Today it was okay during the training but we will have to see how his body reacts, so it will be a pretty short-term decision for the game.
“He was unbelievably important for us in the last games so we were all really pleased for him that he got the great honour of wearing the Three Lions, it was great for him and gives him a lot of motivation but it’s not so easy because he has a lot of load.
“Sometimes a coach wants the guys to have a little bit of relax time and to calm down a bit but for that he had to travel a lot, in a new atmosphere for him so it’s not so easy.
“He came back with some problems, not so big, I hope that he is available for tomorrow but it will be a short-term decision.”
While both will face late fitness tests, Oliveira’s improvement was the upshot, having missed the recent defeats to Wolves and Bolton, preventing him from adding to the five goals scored in 11 games so far this season.
The 26-year-old returned to Portugal for some specific training, working on his calf and seeing dentist, having checks to make sure he had no infection causing him problems.
“He’s not too bad, the first week of the break he did some individual stuff to prepare him for team training but on Tuesday he returned to the team training and he trained without any problems,” City’s German boss continued.
“For sure he was away for such a long time and we have to be careful, with an eye on him all the time in training, but all in all not too bad. He was able to train and, thank God, he is available.
“It’s one thing to be available and another to be in a rhythm, so it is always important for a player to have minutes and to train consistently. (But) really good news, he is available.
Farke added: “I am in a good mood because he looked really good in training. He had some really tough days in the beginning of the week and he was in good shape, so hopefully it is sorted out for now and he can train consistently – and hopefully play consistently and score consistently!”
Pritchard could return from his pre-season injury in an under-23s game at Wolves on Monday evening in Premier League Two but the Canaries are treading carefully with the former Tottenham man.
“He is back in team training, since Wednesday, so pretty good news,” Farke continued.
“After such a long time, when a young player returns it is a little bit like young dogs – they like to play and they are a little bit wild.
“You can see during the whole training that he is really happy to be back and it was good to see him back on the pitch.
“For sure it will last a bit before he is back 100 percent but he looked good and I think it is for him right now important to get a lot of training and perhaps collect some minutes in the under-23s to be back as soon as possible.
“When you are such a good player it is perhaps not so long to be in a pretty good shape but we have to be a little bit careful because it was such a long break for him.
“He won’t be available next week but he is back in team training and that is really good.”
Of Monday’s U23 game, Farke added: “To be honest we are thinking about it, not for 90 minutes but to collect some minutes.
“Just five days after returning to team training it could be a little bit early but like I say, with young dogs they want to play and are a little bit wild, and sometimes you have to let them play.
“We will discuss this topic, it could be that he gets some minutes there.”
The Canaries chief also confirmed that Wes Hoolahan and Marley Watkins are both fit and available for the Barnsley game after international duty.
Hoolahan featured in the second half as the Republic of Ireland were thrashed 5-1 by Denmark in their World Cup play-off in Dublin and Watkins was a late substitute during a 1-1 friendly draw with Panama for Wales, winning his first cap .
“In a physical way they are okay, it is always difficult for the guys who returned late, they just had a game on Tuesday, that means they were back on Thursday just with some individual stuff and returned to team training today,” Farke concluded.
“So they have had just one day together with us and for that it’s not so easy in the head. There were some important games, especially for Wes, it’s not so easy to accept such a disappointment.
“For Marley it’s incredible times, exciting times, his first appearance, so it’s not so easy to return to the normal stuff in one or two days.
“They are available and in a good shape and although Wes played the second half for Ireland it was not too bad and he was not too exhausted, the only thing is you have to think about there was travel, they were away with their thoughts for some days, so is it the right decision to bring them back on the pitch in the starting line-up?
“But all in all they are available and in a good shape.”