No tears for City boss over double injury blow
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Grant Hanley needs to play a captain’s knock to get Norwich City over the line in the Championship after a double injury blow to fellow centre backs Christoph Zimmermann and Ben Gibson.
The Burnley loanee was ruled out over for the run in during the international break following the ankle ligament damage suffered in the 1-1 draw against Blackburn.
Zimmermann was in line to replace him at Preston, but the German could also be out for the season after a hamstring injury in training.
That leaves captain Hanley as the only fit senior centre back available to Daniel Farke. Hanley played his third full game for Scotland during the recent international period less than 48 hours ago, but will be needed to lead from the front at Deepdale.
“If I would sit here crying tears then how can my players feel we are capable of getting results or being competitive at Preston? We can’t change it,” said Farke. “We must deal with it and we will. When you work so long in this business you almost expect it.
"We have so much competition in the squad but if there was one area you didn’t need an injury it was centre back.
“Christoph felt some problems with his hamstring at the end of a warm up on Monday. We didn’t want to take any risks so we assessed him and the diagnosis was he has a problem with the tendon and will miss the next four to six weeks.
"If we are realistic, the end of the season. Maybe a little chance to be back. I felt for us but more for him. He has been very unlucky with injuries in the past two seasons or so.
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"He has always delivered with wins and clean sheets when called upon and he would have wanted to play more games.
"We all felt he fully deserved this chance in a crucial role. He is the most disappointed guy in the dressing room. But you get setbacks. You can’t suffer too long. He has to remember he can return as quickly as possible.”
Who partners the over-worked Hanley at Preston is Farke’s biggest selection poser. The City boss on Friday ruled out exploring recall options for loanees Akin Famewo or Timm Klose.
“We will stick with what we have got. It would make no sense to bring someone back who has not been with us for six months,” he said. “It makes sense to give opportunities to players who have been a part of it this season.
“We have a few options. We can switch formation. Andrew (Omobamidele) is a more natural centre back but Jacob (Sorensen) and Alex (Tettey) can do a job. It is not just one game, we need a solution for six or seven.
“I have looked at the data and Grant covered more distance in the (Wednesday) game against the Faroes than any other game this season. We have to assess him and I have to speak to him. To play three games, 90 minutes, is a lot.”