'We have to find a way to feed him' - Smith's blueprint to get City firing again

Teemu Pukki of Norwich and Cedric Kipre of Cardiff City in action during the Sky Bet Championship ma

Teemu Pukki didn't get a lot of service during City's defeat at Cardiff - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City head coach Dean Smith knows the Canaries’ campaign could be defined by whether they can find a way to give Teemu Pukki the service he thrives on. 

The Finn once again cut an isolated figure during the 1-0 defeat to Cardiff on Saturday before worryingly limping off, although Smith later confirmed it was a case of cramp. 

Pukki struggled for opportunities as City toiled in the final third against the Bluebirds, whose second half winner came through Romaine Sawyers. 

However, Smith insists he isn’t worried by a lack of attacking quality in the City ranks and believes the goals will come once the striker is back up to full fitness. 

Teemu Pukki of Norwich looks dejected after Romaine Sawyers of Cardiff City scores his sides 1st goa

Teemu Pukki reacts after Cardiff take the lead on Saturday - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

“We’ve got a player (Pukki) that’s scored 55 goals in this league the last two times he’s been in it,” said Smith. “We have to find a way to feed him but he’s getting back to full fitness. 

“He pulled up with a calf but we were told that it’s just cramp. He needed the minutes and he’s one of those internationals that’s played a lot of games in the summer and only had a short period back with us. 

“We will certainly get better – we know that.” 

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Smith revealed that Jon Rowe is set for scan this week after being pictured on social media with a protective boot around his foot which forced him to miss Saturday’s opener. 

Grant Hanley will be missing for the visit of Wigan as he serves a one-match ban for his red card on Saturday but Smith is hopeful Ben Gibson is available after a calf strain. 

“Hopefully Gibbo will be back for that game,” he added. “People talk about the size of the squad but it’s not that big. It has been trimmed down an awful lot – of course it’s frustrating when you’ve got good players missing but we had enough good players here to win the game (against Cardiff).” 

Meanwhile, reports in Spain suggest City could make a move for Real Betis midfielder Paul Akouokou. The Ivory Coast international has also been linked with Belgian club Genk and Betis’ La Liga rivals Elche. 

City are expected to confirm the signing of Chile international Marcelino Nunez from Universidad Catolica with the midfielder reportedly expected to undergo a medical with Norwich later today.