TEAM NEWS: ‘I can’t predict at the moment if he’s available for Manchester United’ - Waiting game on injured Pukki
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Teemu Pukki faces a major battle to be back for Norwich City’s Premier League trip to Manchester United, with hamstring and toe issues troubling the prolific frontman.
Teenager Adam Idah is set to lead the line in Saturday's FA Cup third round tie at Preston, with Dennis Srbeny (back) and Josip Drmic (hamstring) also out, but it is the extent of Pukki's injuries for the resumption of City's Premier League survival battle that carries greater consequences.
Daniel Farke revealed at Colney on Friday the Finnish international is still struggling with the toe problem injured at Leicester City, as well as a fresh hamstring issue that led to his late second half exit in the New Year's Day 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace.
"Teemu is out for Preston. I can't predict at the moment if he's available for the Manchester United game. That will be a late decision," said Farke " A bit more realistic he will be back for the Bournemouth game. For Preston, no chance. We have to deal with this situation. We had to substitute him with a little hamstring problem and he is still struggling a little bit with his toe.
"It's a bit tricky because Josip Drmic is not back in team training. We expect him to be back before Bournemouth, Dennis Srbeny is also out so Adam Idah is our only natural striker who is fit and available who has played two minutes or something in the Premier League.
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"I hope it will look a bit better for Old Trafford and Dennis is back in the mix."
Farke will shuffle his pack after a congested festive fixture spell, and the head coach hinted he would ideally like to give his centre backs a breather at Deepdale.
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"It's a difficult period. We had four games within 10 days and several players were just coming back after long term injuries," he said. "Both centre backs have played each and every second.
"Christoph Zimmermann was out for nearly five months yet had to play four games within 10 days so we have to be a bit careful with him.
"It will be a late decision if we play him tomorrow (Saturday). The same with Grant Hanley. He had to play all four games within 10 days and before that he was just one week back in team training we have also to be unbelievable careful with him."
On-loan Schalke 04 keeper Ralf Fahrmann (hamstring) is ruled out for the FA Cup tie and Farke confirmed he had no plans to draft in the likes of returning loanees Rocky Bushiri or Louis Thompson, after the pair cut short temporary moves with Blackpool and Shrewsbury respectively.
"It's not in the plans. They haven't trained with us and it is too short term. We are looking for some other options," he said. "They won't travel and they are not in the mix. It's quite normal that loans are successful when there is a lot of game time. But when they don't have a lot of game time it is definitely the right decision to bring them back and search for some other solutions.
"It looks Ralf can re-join team training during the next week. So perhaps he's back in the mix for Old Trafford."