Stiepi can be City's missing link
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Daniel Farke knows Rotherham will not lack for motivation ahead of Paul Warne's latest Norwich City reunion.
Warne has spoken movingly in the past about his childhood memories of what facing the club he supports means to him and his family.
This son of Norfolk had to miss the Championship game in south Yorkshire earlier in the season to self-isolate after a member of his family was diagnosed with coronavirus.
That proved a meaty tussle Norwich edged deep in stoppage time with Jordan Hugill’s cool penalty. Farke is ready for more of the same.
“They are not the biggest name in this league but they always play with fighting spirit and togetherness. They always go for it,” he said. “Rotherham have won four of the last eight, they are pretty brave and I love their handwriting. In many topics we should be in control but they are quite similar in style to Barnsley, who like to press and play with aggressiveness and intensity.
"We have to try and by-pass that press.
“You can always feel how much it means to him to play Norwich from speaking to him at previous games. He is a really nice guy. I fully appreciate his work. His teams always give everything. They go for it even when they are the underdog. They play without fear, with courage. That is due to the fantastic work he has done.
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"To be relegated and promoted straight away is a sign of the quality of his work. Maybe when he is sat on the sofa and you can think about these things it matters that he is a fan. But you are not overwhelmed from emotions during the game. It is more about how you can help your team tactically.”
Norwich appear to have recovered their poise with league wins over Stoke and Coventry. Previous Millers’ match-winner Hugill is also available after his hamstring injury, and Farke is enjoying the luxury of some serious selection posers simply to pick a game day squad.
“There were times perhaps we needed to rush a player back but now we have a much easier situation and no need to risk anything,” said the City chief. “We have Teemu (Pukki) in his best rhythm and Adam (Idah) back for several weeks and looking sharp in his substitutions. Jordan is back in team training since Tuesday. Not an option for the starting line up, but a topic for the squad.”
Marco Stiepermann will fall into the same category from next week after his 64-minute cameo yesterday for the club’s development squad following two months out to recover from a virus. Farke insists the attacking midfielder can offer a different dimension.
“Marco is a special player,” said Farke. “I heard some comments in earlier years that he doesn’t look like a number 10 with his long arms and long legs. But he proved two seasons ago he can fulfil this role when he was labelled the best number 10 in this league.
"Many head coaches sung his praises when I would speak to them after games. For us, he is so important and a perfect fit for Teemu.
“Teemu is not a big, tall striker who will win balls in the air. He is quite often lurking on the shoulder of the last defender. Then you need a player who can save the ball, who can be used as a bit of a wall and in his combination with Teemu, Marco is perfect.
“There is no doubt Marco is a valuable option for us. He had a key role in my plans for this season and it has been difficult to be without his quality. He is also a great lad in the dressing room, everyone loves him. He is a funny guy and you see that with his goal celebrations.
"We miss him a lot and we hope to have him back in team training pretty soon.”