Hanley injury blow for Canaries ahead of restart
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City have suffered a major defensive injury blow ahead of the Premier League restart, with captain Grant Hanley potentially missing the rest of the season.
The Scotland international had finally found full fitness and was in a good seam of form prior to the season being suspended in March, having missed three months of the first half of the campaign due to groin and hernia surgeries.
However, it’s understood the centre-back has injured his hamstring and is facing a few weeks out, which could well keep him out of the remaining nine games of the Premier League season, due to the resumed season finishing on July 26.
Hanley was pictured playing in last Friday’s 2-1 friendly win over Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and it seems the injury problem has emerged following that game, which was played across four periods of 30 minutes.
The 28-year-old’s cruel blow is set to be confirmed by head coach Daniel Farke at his pre-match press conference on Thursday, ahead of Friday’s restart clash with Southampton at Carrow Road on Friday evening (6pm kick-off).
It continues the defensive injury curse which has plagued Farke’s squad this season, with Timm Klose back in full training following the knee ligament injury suffered in August and Christoph Zimmermann also coming back from a hamstring injury which would have ended his season early, had it not been for football’s three-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It appears Klose and Zimmermann are now competing to prove their full fitness to partner England Under-21 defender Ben Godfrey at the heart of City’s defence as action resumes.
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Under-23 options are also limited as players such as Akin Famewo and Rocky Bushiri are ineligible despite their loan spells ending with St Mirren and St Truidense respectively, due to their seasons being curtailed.
That would appear to leave midfielder Alex Tettey or left-back Jamal Lewis as the emergency cover at centre-back, as seen earlier in the season.
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Hanley has been interviewed for City’s match-day programme for the Saints game, which fans can still order to be delivered to their homes with games being played behind closed doors.
“You need that competitive side in the squad, players that are competing for places and players that push each other to get the best out of them,” he had said, in parts of that interview released online ahead of the match.
“The more players you have fit, the more players you can have fighting for that starting line-up. That healthy competition in the squad is good for us and helps us improve.”
On the game against Southampton, he added: “It’ll be interesting. The game is going to be totally different having not played for a while. I think we’re just concentrating on ourselves and every game for us now is like a final. We need to make sure we’re ready and we can do our job.”