No early return for injured City trio

Norwich City defender Sam Byram has undergone two hamstring operations since an early exit againt Pr

Norwich City defender Sam Byram has undergone two hamstring operations since an early exit againt Premier League champions Liverpool Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Daniel Farke is not banking on any early Christmas presents with the fitness of a key trio for Norwich City.

Sam Byram, Onel Hernandez and Kieran Dowell remain on the sidelines, with the City boss confirming at Colney on Monday afternoon Dowell is the closest to a possible return but not before the end of the year.

Byram has undergone two hamstring operations since an impressive debut season was cut short against Premier League champions Liverpool. While flying winger Hernandez (adductor) and summer signing Dowell (ankle) had promising starts to the new season cut short.

“I don’t think before Christmas,” said Farke. “With Sam we have to monitor him very closely because he has been out since February. If you take too much risk it can cause problems.

“Onel still feels some pain after his surgery.

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“He is doing some rehab work but still far away from returning to the pitch. A few steps from running. Kieran is starting to run a bit, but I don’t expect him to be a topic before Christmas.”

Farke’s immediate priority is Millwall’s Championship visit on Tuesday night.

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The City chief confirmed Xavi Quintilla remains out and Kenny McLean is a fresh doubt for the Lions’ visit. On the plus side, both Christoph Zimmermann and Josh Martin are in contention.

“Kenny has a bit of a stiff back,” said Farke. “He wasn’t able to train on Sunday. It improved overnight and he felt much better (on Monday) so we will have to make a late decision. Sadly Xavi is still out. He is doing individual work on the pitch but not in team training so I can’t involve him.

“Christoph is available, and the same with Josh. Christoph has been back in team training four days and Josh since Sunday. But they are not an option to start.”

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