Why does the FA Cup mean so much to Farke?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City’s FA Cup run provided some of the best abiding images from last season’s league struggles. Daniel Farke’s affection for the competition ensures the Canaries mean business against Coventry City.
Few might begrudge Farke opting to engineer a swift exit on Saturday in order to focus on the far bigger prize of cementing their place at the top of the Championship.
But that is not how the Canaries’ boss operates. Whether it was Adam Idah’s eye-catching hat-trick at Preston, or those 9,000 fans lucky enough to witness a thrilling penalty shoot out success at Spurs, or the pride and the eventual heartbreak from an extra-time defeat to Manchester United, it is a competition that still stirs the emotions.
“This is the most prestigious cup competition in the world and you have to value it. We want to go for it,” said Farke. “We had a difficult league season last time but we were one minute from maybe beating Manchester United, or at least reaching a penalty shoot out, to play at Wembley. I would love a similar cup run with a better outcome.
“The first topic is to win and go to the next round. But I am a deep believer in cup competitions.
"Whoever is on the pitch will try to win, whatever the cost, but we need to find the right balance. We have a 46-game league season and the major project is to finish in the top positions.
"Without a pre-season and in a pandemic with an unbelievable load on the players we will rotate more than a league game. But it won’t be 11 changes. I want a strong starting line up and I will bring players onto the pitch who can win this game.”
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The news on Tim Krul’s positive coronavirus test on Friday, and his period of self-isolation, perhaps overshadowed the loss of Kieran Dowell for this cup tie, and the continuing absence of Lukas Rupp and Marco Stiepermann.
Dowell is out for at least two games, after minor clean up surgery on the ankle injury that ruled him out for three months. Rupp (hamstring) and Stiepermann (ear) have yet to re-join team training.
“Kieran was struggling after the (Barnsley) game with some pain in the screw he had to stabilise the ankle previously,” said Farke. The plan was to leave the screw in until the summer break as it was just a small surgery. But we had to decide we needed to take it off now.
"He had a little surgery and will be out 10 to 12 days. He will probably miss the next league game as well as the cup tie. Not the greatest news for him but no major concern.
“Lukas hopefully returns to team training next week but with Marco we tried to bring him back at the start of this week and when we reached a certain load and intensity level he still had some symptoms, in terms of problems with his balance and feeling sick.
"Right now, we feel we have done everything we can so he needs to see some specialists to find a solution before he can return to training.”
Farke knows the challenge ahead today after an impressive display by Mark Robins’ Sky Blues in the 1-1 Championship draw at Carrow Road prior to Christmas.
“I have lots of respect for what they have done. Since that draw they have been in good shape,” said the Norwich boss. “It’s a great chance for them to shine against the league leaders. I feel we need a top Championship performance to win this game.
"They have nothing to lose here. It is not about points and fighting for relegation. They are a good possession side, they are brave and we will have to go for it.”