Farke on young blood and Hatters at boiling point
The more things change, the more they stay the same for Daniel Farke ahead of Norwich City’s second trip of the season to Luton Town.
A clash of dates between an early season League Cup tie at Kenilworth Road and international fixtures around Europe left Farke without 15 senior players for that early season cup exit.
The Canaries return missing a sizeable number of injured players that saw Marco Stiepermann thrust into an emergency shift up front against Coventry City in the weekend’s 1-1 Championship draw.
Teemu Pukki is targeting a comeback against Sheffield Wednesday following a hamstring issue. With Jordan Hugill and Adam Idah also sidelined, Stiepermann will again be needed against the Hatters.
“I was pleased with him. He has played this role in Germany a few years ago but of course he is a different type of striker to Teemu,” said Farke. “He cannot fulfil this role like Teemu, with movement in behind to accept those penetrating passes.
"But I felt he kept the ball well, I liked the work he did with Mario Vrancic, and he had a great chance in the first half from Josh Martin’s pass.
"He created space for the other guys. You wouldn’t say a world class striking performance but in those circumstances you couldn’t expect this. He proved if I need him in this role I could rely on him.”
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Farke’s substitutes’ bench against the Sky Blues contained five talented but raw development prospects.
"Even a coach famed for his faith in youth is reticent to expose the likes of Andrew Omobamidele and Tyrese Omotoye too early to the cut and thrust of Championship combat.
“It makes no sense to give just gifts away for our younger players,” said Farke, who has failed to name his full complement of nine available substitutes for the past two league games. “I don’t think we will be able to fill the bench for the next two weeks.
"We have to find some creative solutions. We can make five substitutions in a game so we must travel with at least that number.
“It is also some good experience but you have to take players with a chance to be on the pitch. With teenagers it will be tricky to win games on this level.
"Omobamidele and Omotoye had been out for a few days prior to playing 45 minutes for the development squad (on Friday). They are not prepared yet to make a further impact on Championship level. They are with us maybe sooner than we expected but they can get used to the processes.
"They are good lads and I am hopeful if we did need them they could deliver. Reece (McAlear) has been with us for the past few weeks and it was no surprise he made his debut at the end of the Coventry game.”
Farke’s caution might also stem from the expectation the Hatters will be smarting from a 4-0 weekend defeat to Cardiff.
“Prior to Cardiff they were unbelievably competitive and it was difficult to score against them,” he said. “It was a surprise to see them concede four at Cardiff.
"Now you know they will be switched on, fighting with the knife between their teeth, in terms of the duels, because that is the reaction the head coach will ask for.
" There will be an intensity, an aggressive opponent and we have to handle this.
“Luton at home, and in front of some supporters for a long time, will be highly motivated. I expect a lot of togetherness and spirit in their performance.
“You could argue we played without 15 players in the cup tie and we have nearly the same number out now. That was more or less our last pre-season game, if we are honest, with many young lads playing. You can’t compare.
"We know this is a difficult period in terms of injuries but to be 10 unbeaten is good for the self confidence. It is not about the table right now.
"We have a good points average and after a relegation hangover it is a great sign to start on the front foot.”