Dowell dilemma for City

Fit-again midfielder Kieran Dowell is having to bide his time for a return to the Norwich City starting line up

Fit-again midfielder Kieran Dowell is having to bide his time for a return to the Norwich City starting line up - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Daniel Farke admits when to unleash Kieran Dowell is a case of risk and reward for Norwich City’s Championship promotion push. 

The attacking midfielder arrived with plenty of fanfare from Everton last summer but an ankle injury and then surgery curtailed his impact. 

Dowell is now striving to play catch-up with a series of cameos from the bench since a start in the FA Cup exit at Barnsley, with the 23-year-old replacing Mario Vrancic again for the final quarter of the midweek 2-0 win at Coventry. 

Now Farke has to weigh up whether the time is right against Rotherham at Carrow Road on Saturday for his first league start since Boxing Day. 

“We are totally convinced of his potential and his skills, he shows us each and every day more or less in training,” said the Norwich chief. “He is a fantastic character, a fantastic footballer, he has proven this in recent years.  

“I think he was fantastic during the pre-season, that’s why he started the first two games, and then it wasn’t his fault or the fault of the club, you can’t blame him for being fouled and then being out for three months.  

“Of course he then lost his sharpness and his rhythm and we all know that if I said ‘Kieran, you will play the next four or five games in a row, you don’t have to worry about that and then after that you are back to your rhythm’, I think he would be outstanding.  

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“But we are now in game day 31, we can’t do this and say we will give him four or five games no matter how your performance is. We know if he gets four or five games to be back in his rhythm he will be outstanding but it is not possible because we can’t risk any league game.” 

Dowell has to be ready for his big chance. 

“We will give him all the time, all the trust and all the support. Then he has to wait for his chance and to use it,” said Farke. “The most important topic is to be unbelievably honest, there is just one answer to this question to give him; it’s hard work. Hard work on the training pitch, to wait for the chance and then to use it. 

“He has already had a few chances in the starting line-up and of course it was difficult after being out for so long to be there with a world class performance and then to be there involved each and every minute.  

“For every player it is the same, Onel Hernandez or Adam Idah, no-one can be blamed for these injuries and it’s hard work on the training pitch, stay focused, stay calm, composed, don’t lose the trust in yourself.  

“We back you, we trust you, it’s not like we force anything, we know it’s not like you’re available and straight back to world class performances, we know how difficult it is after a long-term injury.” 

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