Team news: Alex Neil considers changes as Norwich City prepare for Tottenham and Aston Villa clashes
PUBLISHED: 17:17 23 December 2015 | UPDATED: 17:23 23 December 2015
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Alex Neil is hoping to have no fresh injury worries when his rejuvenated Norwich City team head to Tottenham Hotspur on Boxing Day.
The Canaries boss confirmed that the trip to Spurs and the visit of Aston Villa to Carrow Road on Monday would come to soon for winger Matt Jarvis but that he hopes full-back Andre Wisdom is close to recovering from a hamstring injury.
The on-loan Liverpool defender had started five games in a row before having to come off at half-time of City’s 1-1 draw with Everton earlier this month, missing last weekend’s excellent 2-1 win at Manchester United.
“I think it will be too soon for Matt, he’s not quite ready yet,” the Scot said at today’s pre-match press conference at Colney.
“In terms of fresh injuries I don’t think so, I think most of the squad has come through perfectly fine.
“There might be a few last-minute things but nothing of note right now.”
Of Wisdom’s chances, he added: “He’ll be a last-minute call, at the moment he’s a bit touch and go.
“It’s one of them where it’s not a major injury, it’s one where we’re just monitoring it and we relatively know how much pain he’s in and at the moment he’s not pain-free and there’s only a couple of days before the game, so that’s why he’s still touch and go.”
With two games in three days, Neil may have to consider making changes to the team that earned that famous victory last weekend – the first time a Norwich team has won at Old Trafford since 1989.
“To be honest, I would like to remain mainly unchanged,” Neil continued. “I think if you look at the history of last season, you didn’t see huge changes week to week but I think that tends to happen when you are not picking up points, so that’s the biggest thing.
“This little period now is going to be difficult because we’ve got two games in three days. I would approach it (the Spurs game) differently if that wasn’t the case, let’s put it that way.”
Neil is preparing his team to face a Tottenham side who have lost just twice in the league all season and sit in fourth place in the Premier League, after a 2-0 win at Southampton last weekend.
The Canaries chief is expecting Spurs to pose a similar threat to United, with the benefit of more confidence to rely on.
“I’d probably say Tottenham are more direct than what United would be but both teams want to get up and get after the ball as quickly as they can so, they’re not too dissimilar that way,” the former Hamilton boss continued.
“I think Tottenham however are in a good vein of form, I know they lost against Newcastle but other than that they’ve been in a good vein of form.
“They’ll be confident in what they’ve got to do and what we’ve got to do is make sure we counteract that and we try and influence the game as much as we can.”
Meanwhile, Danny Rose is available for Spurs again after missing the win over Southampton through illness and Ryan Mason is also back in contention.
The England midfielder returned to training this week, having recovered from an ankle injury, but Alex Pritchard (ankle) is still out.
Cameroon international forward Clinton Njie will definitely miss the game though after manager Mauricio Pochettino confirmed the 22-year-old will be out for two to three months with a knee injury.
Njie has undergone surgery after sustaining the injury in Spurs’ 4-1 Europa League victory over Monaco two weeks ago.
The Cameroon forward initially struggled with a hamstring problem when he arrived from Lyon in the summer and is now expected to be on the sidelines until March.