STARTING XIs: Two changes for City against Forest

Christoph Zimmermann returned to full team training on Friday afternoon
Picture: Paul Chesterton/F

Christoph Zimmermann returns to Norwich City's starting line-up against Forest - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Todd Cantwell, Kieran Dowell, Kenny McLean and Jordan Hugill all return to the bench as Norwich City make two changes to their starting XI for tonight’s home clash with Nottingham Forest. 

Christoph Zimmerman starts just his sixth Championship game of the season, replacing the injured Ben Gibson in central defence alongside skipper Grant Hanley. 

While, also as expected, Josh Martin replaces the injured Przemek Placheta on the left wing after his crucial cameo in the 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend. 

Cantwell returns after seven games out with ankle and hip problems but Dowell is back ahead of schedule after ankle surgery in September. 

Hugill (shoulder) and McLean (knee) return sooner than expected as well, after four games out, but it remains unclear whether the quartet are fit enough to feature or just bolstering numbers amid an injury crisis. 

The Canaries go into the game knowing that victory will reclaim top spot in the Championship table, after Bournemouth edged ahead on goal difference with a 0-0 draw at Swansea on Tuesday night. 

Daniel Farke’s team have lost just one of their last 12 games despite consistent injury problems, with forward Adam Idah and full-back Bali Mumba potentially out until February with knee injuries and full-back Sam Byram (hamstring) and winger Onel Hernandez (groin) hoping to return from surgery during January. 

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Number one Tim Krul (thigh) is closing on a return to training, with Northern Ireland veteran Michael McGovern covering for the last three games. 

Centre-back Gibson (calf) and winger Placheta (hamstring) are expected to miss a couple of weeks after picking up minor strains during the 2-1 home win over Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. 

Left-back Xavi Quintilla is still making his way back from a troublesome hip problem which has kept him out until the end of October and midfielder Lukas Rupp (hamstring) is facing another 10 days on the sidelines, having missed the last four games. 

MORE: Shocks and hangovers. City boss assesses the threat from Hughton's Reds

The visitors make three changes, with Tobias Figueiredo replacing Scott McKenna in central defence, Samba Sow coming in for the suspended Ryan Yates in midfield and Sammy Ameobi replacing Anthony Knockaert in attack. 

Forest are without midfielder Yates following his red card during a 2-0 loss at Reading on Saturday, during which Scotland defender McKenna was forced off at half-time with an ankle injury. 

Midfield duo Jack Colback and Luke Freeman are the long-term injury absentees from Hughton’s squad.  

Former Canaries striker Lewis Grabban has missed the last nine games with a hip injury and is back in training but not yet ready to return, having scored 20 goals last season as Forest just missed out on the play-offs under former boss Sabri Lamouchi. 

The two-time European champions are in their 22nd consecutive season outside the top flight and are on their fifth manager since Norwich appointed Farke in the summer of 2017. 

Ex-Canaries boss Hughton took charge during the October international break, almost 18 months since losing his job at Brighton, and has won three and drawn four of his 12 games so far. 

Forest sit 21st and just two points above the relegation zone having lost four of their last five games – failing to score in all five.  

City v Forest: Everything you need to know

CITY (4-2-3-1): McGovern; Aarons, Hanley (C), Zimmermann, Sorensen; Skipp, Vrancic; Buendia, Stiepermann, Martin; Pukki. Subs: Barden (GK), Omobamidele, Tettey, McLean, Cantwell, Dowell, Omotoye, Hugill 

FOREST (4-3-3): Samba; Christie, Worrall (C), Figueiredo, Ribeiro; Cafu, Sow, Arter; Lolley, Taylor, Ameobi. Subs: Smith (GK), Soh, Jenkinson, Dawson, Ioannou, Mighten, Knockaert, Swan, Guerrero 

REFEREE: Darren Bond (Lancashire)

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