Vital contributions of City's injury victims must not be forgotten about

PUBLISHED: 17:11 02 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:11 02 April 2019

Norwich City defender Timm Klose, left, celebrates his late winner at Forest with Mo Leitner Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Norwich City defender Timm Klose, left, celebrates his late winner at Forest with Mo Leitner Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Daniel Farke could field an impressive five-a-side team from his regular substitutes bench recently, with some quality Championship talents having to bide their time.

Daniel Farke could field an impressive five-a-side team from his regular substitutes bench recently, with some quality Championship talents having to bide their time.

But the likes of Timm Klose, Moritz Leitner and Mario Vrancic have certainly played their part in pushing the Canaries into their current superb position.

Those currently on the fringes have also shown their commitment to maintaining the united spirit, despite their undoubted desire for more minutes, as the celebrations of Klose, Grant Hanley and Michael McGovern all demonstrated at Middlesbrough at the weekend.

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As City prepare for this Saturday’s home clash with QPR, we’ve taken a look back on just how important those players have been this season...

Timm Klose made a late cameo during City's win at Boro at the weekend 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesTimm Klose made a late cameo during City's win at Boro at the weekend Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

TIMM KLOSE

The big Swiss defender was on his way to player-of-the-season contention before a knee injury in early December. Ben Godfrey stepped in and deputised, with Klose able to return for three games around the turn of the year, but five further matches were missed in early 2019 as that knee problem persisted.

The 30-year-old has been back in contention recently and added his experience as a late substitute regularly. Prior to that though, Klose had played almost every minute of the opening 20 Championship games.

He also scored in the 1-1 draw at Derby, headed both goals – including a late winner – at Nottingham Forest and set up Emi Buendia’s match-winner with a sumptuous pass during the 1-0 home win over Brentford.

The former Wolfsburg man did score another important late goal before succumbing to injury again, heading in an equaliser at Brentford on New Year’s Day. With his contract due to expire, Klose will want assurances about his prospects should promotion be sealed, but there’s little doubt Farke will want to keep him.

Alex Tettey smashed in a late winner for the Canaries against Preston in August Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesAlex Tettey smashed in a late winner for the Canaries against Preston in August Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

ALEX TETTEY

City’s longest-serving current player wore the captain’s armband for much of the first half of the season and even seemed to be more comfortable in possession under Farke’s guidance, at the age of 32.

Ankle ligament damage picked up during the 3-1 loss at Preston in February has since left Tettey out of contention, although the combative midfielder is back in full training.

Tom Trybull had to play second fiddle to the Norway international for the first half of the season but has grabbed his chance, rediscovering his best form with a consistent run in the team.

Tettey turns 33 tomorrow and still has a year left on his contract. If he can stay fit, his streetwise experience and tenacity could yet prove extremely valuable, whichever division the Canaries are in next season.

Moritz Leitner has had to be patient for his Norwich City chances since returning from injury Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesMoritz Leitner has had to be patient for his Norwich City chances since returning from injury Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

MORITZ LEITNER

The German midfielder was certainly on course for player-of-the-season contention before a calf problem picked up at Hull in late November, setting the passing tempo and dictating games as the focal point of Farke’s midfield.

In tandem with the defensive assurance of Tettey, Leitner had two goals and an assist from 18 league games but was far more influential than those stats might suggest.

The 26-year-old returned at Blackburn before Christmas but was forced off with ankle ligament damage at the break and didn’t return until mid-February.

While the form of Trybull and Kenny McLean have kept him on the fringes, the prospect of a fully-fit Leitner in the Premier League is tantalising for City fans.

Mario Vrancic scored twice as Norwich City won 3-1 away to promotion rivals Leeds in February Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesMario Vrancic scored twice as Norwich City won 3-1 away to promotion rivals Leeds in February Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

MARIO VRANCIC

Replacing the Leitner-shaped hole in City’s midfield initially however was the creative force who won the PFA Fans’ Championship Player of the Month for January.

After a bit-part role in the early stages of the campaign, having missed all of pre-season due to a groin injury, Vrancic racked up seven goals and seven assists in 28 matches, before an ankle injury in February.

Has returned with brief cameos from the bench recently but has certainly performed when called upon during this exciting season, with his brace during the momentous 3-1 win at Leeds particularly important.

MORE: Team of 2019’s winning streak is closing on top Canaries records

Academy product Todd Cantwell scored one and created another as City beat Rotherham at Carrow Road Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesAcademy product Todd Cantwell scored one and created another as City beat Rotherham at Carrow Road Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

TODD CANTWELL

Onel Hernandez may have been hugely influential for City this season, but he had to contend with the emerging talent of Cantwell until the 21-year-old local lad started to run out of steam during his breakthrough season.

The creative midfielder set up Teemu Pukki’s goal in the win at Reading during his league debut in September and was a regular starter before Christmas, with a goal and an assist against Rotherham celebrated heartily at Carrow Road in December.

Has had to be patient for his chances in 2019 but has certainly made enough of a contribution to suggest he has a bright future with his boyhood club.

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Jordan Rhodes, left, is congratulated by Timm Klose after his City brace against Villa Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesJordan Rhodes, left, is congratulated by Timm Klose after his City brace against Villa Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

JORDAN RHODES

Many were predicting Rhodes would be City’s top scorer this season. Few expected Teemu Pukki to take the Championship by storm though.

While it’s cost the Scotland international regular football during his loan from Sheffield Wednesday, he has regularly been praised by Farke, Pukki and Stuart Webber for his selfless and professional attitude.

The 29-year-old hasn’t started a league game since late October but has contributed six league goals, including both goals in a 2-1 home win over Aston Villa when Pukki was injured, the vital equaliser in the 4-3 epic against Millwall and a crucial late equaliser at West Brom in January.

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