STARTING XIs: City make two changes for Reading clash
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City have made two changes to their starting XI for this evening's game at Reading (8pm kick-off).
Scotland midfielder Kenny McLean makes his first start since the 1-0 home win over Swansea in early November having returned from the bench in the last two games after four matches out with a knee injury.
Alex Tettey drops to the bench following the 2-1 win at Blackburn on Saturday, as does Mario Vrancic, with Marco Stiepermann returning in the central attacking midfield role in support of striker Teemu Pukki at the Madejski Stadium.
The Canaries' injury crisis has started to ease, with goalkeeper Tim Krul (thigh) and midfielder Lukas Rupp (hamstring) hoping to return during Saturday's home game against Cardiff after a six-game absence.
Full-backs Sam Byram (hamstring) and Bali Mumba (knee) are hoping to return in January, as is winger Onel Hernandez (groin), but striker Adam Idah (knee) is expected to be out until February.
The hosts have made three changes, with former Fulham forward Sone Aluko pushed into attack and the highly-rated Michael Olise coming into attacking midfield.
The other changes are at full-back, where Lewis Gibson and Tom Holmes come in for Omar Richards and Tomas Esteves.
- 1 City boss on Quintilla future amid Giannoulis pursuit
- 2 MATCHDAY LIVE: Can Norwich City complete the double over Cardiff?
- 3 City squad can expect long term disruption due to Covid impact
- 4 STARTING XIs: Pukki missing for City as Barden starts at Cardiff
- 6 'The Norwich fans are probably fuming' - Skipp on being Mr Popular
- 7 Farke's advice for Barden ahead of red letter day
- 8 City edging closer to deal for Giannoulis
- 9 Cardiff City v Norwich City - all you need to know
- 10 Connor Southwell: Can McLean solve City’s number 10 conundrum?
Reading have been a surprise package so far this season, after replacing Norwich legend Mark Bowen with former Atletico Madrid midfielder Veljko Paunovic, who led Serbia to the U20 World Cup in 2015 prior to four years in charge of Chicago Fire in the USA.
The Royals sit fifth and just four points behind Norwich, who saw Bournemouth claim top spot on goal difference with a 1-0 home win over Wycombe on Tuesday night and know that a draw would send them back to the summit.
Paunovic is without forwards Lucas Joao, Yakou Meite and George Puscas due to injury.
Left-back Richards misses out with a hamstring injury, which saw him replaced by Everton loanee Gibson midway through the first half of a 1-0 win at QPR on Saturday.
That was earned by a late goal from 19-year-old Olise, who came off the bench to take his season's tally to three goals and six assists.
READING (4-2-3-1): Rafael; Holmes, Morrison, Moore (C), Gibson; Laurent, Rinomhota; Semedo, Olise, Ejaria; Aluko. Subs: Walker (GK), Esteves, McIntyre, Bristow, Watson, East, Onen, Melvin-Lambert, Baldock.
NORWICH (4-2-3-1): McGovern; Aarons, Zimmermann, Hanley (C), Sorensen; Skipp, McLean; Buendia, Stiepermann, Martin; Pukki. Subs: Barden (GK), Omobamidele, Tettey, Cantwell, Dowell, Vrancic, Hugill, Omotoye
REFEREE: Geoff Eltringham (Durham)