BIG MATCH PREVIEW: Vamos Emi. City ace back for the final push
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Emi Buendia’s return from suspension at Stoke City could not be better timed for Norwich City. If Daniel Farke can keep him on the pitch.
Buendia served a three-match ban for a straight red against QPR that has checked the Canaries’ winning surge, with three draws against Reading, Wigan and Sheffield Wednesday.
Farke maintains his midfield maestro is more sinned than sinner but admits the 22-year-old’s availability at Stoke is a massive boost.
“Of course I am delighted. With his quality and his mentality he is quite an important option for us,” said Farke. “He was pretty important in recent weeks when he was allowed to play.
“I have said before how he was basically fouled out of three games earlier this season and no red cards came for the opponents. I hope he is not fouled out of this game or red carded himself. I am looking forward to have him back.
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“Stoke still have some unbelievable quality, in terms of players.
“For me, they are having the type of season you get after Premier League relegation, where it is difficult for the club to adapt back to the Championship when you have high class players.
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“They have individual quality. But we go again and with our spirit and togetherness we have a chance to win points wherever we play. I just hope there are not so many crucial decisions against us.”
Buendia’s case for inclusion appears compelling, but Mario Vrancic again underlined his quality with a goalscoring cameo on Good Friday.
Moritz Leitner also earned a recall for the 2-2 Owls’ draw, in the space on the right vacated by the Argentine and Todd Cantwell.
“It was more like we slightly changed our positioning,” said Farke. “My feeling was our balance in the centre has been outstanding and we didn’t want to change that too much.
“Kenny (McLean) in recent weeks has been crucial with his ability to bring goals and assists and win duels. Marco Stiepermann the same and Tom Trybull has been fantastic. I didn’t want to disturb the balance.
“With Moritz we didn’t want to overload the centre. When you play a team like Sheffield that is a crucial area.
“How we played was definitely the right decision. I have been happy with Todd Cantwell but we needed some experience, some calmness and the technical ability of Moritz.”