STARTING XIs: Buendia returns for City as Rovers make three changes
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Emi Buendia returns to the Norwich City starting XI as Lukas Rupp misses today's home clash with Blackburn due to a hamstring injury.
Otherwise, the Canaries are unchanged, with Kieran Dowell likely to play centrally between Buendia on the right and Todd Cantwell on the left in attacking midfield.
Rovers have made three changes, with 19-goal top scorer Adam Armstrong missing out and former Norwich midfielder Bradley Johnson dropping to the bench.
Rupp and Adam Idah (hernia) are hoping to return after the international break but Sam Byram and Michael McGovern are unlikely to feature again this season after hamstring operations.
Rupp set up both goals during the 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, with Dowell scoring the second, but needed to see a specialist after a hamstring worry.
The Canaries are looking to take another step closer to promotion, as they search for a 10th win on the spin, sitting 10 points clear of Watford and 13 ahead of third-placed Swansea.
Today's fixtures see Watford hosting a Birmingham side (3pm) who won 2-1 at home to play-off hopefuls Reading in midweek, following the arrival of Lee Bowyer as manager, while Swansea host local rivals and play-off chasers Cardiff in a 5.30pm kick-off.
City beat Blackburn 2-1 at Ewood Park in December, as Teemu Pukki scored both goals to take his goal tally for the club to 50 on the same day he clocked up his 100th appearance.
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The Finland star has scored another 13 since and needs three more to move joint 10th in the club's all-time top scorers' list.
Rovers arrive in Norfolk in 15th place with little still to play for having won just one of their last 11 matches, with injuries contributing to an encouraging first half of the season being knocked off course.
They have had three consecutive home games and held Swansea to a 1-1 draw, were beaten 1-0 by Brentford and held Bristol City to a 0-0 draw on Wednesday.
Tony Mowbray is without on-loan Canaries midfielder Tom Trybull today, who came off the bench in the 70th minute of that game but is ineligible against his parent club. The German has started 15 of his 22 games for Rovers this season.
Spanish defender Dani Ayala doesn't feature against his former club, due to ankle injury, but two more prominent former Canaries are on the bench.
Bradley Johnson, who scored 21 goals in 154 games between 2011 and 2015, was controversially sold to Derby despite being named Player of the Season as promotion to the Premier League was achieved via the play-offs.
Elliott Bennett scored three goals in 80 games between 2011 and 2016 but saw his early success disrupted by injury problems.
Rovers are without influential attacking midfielder Bradley Dack, who returned from over a year out earlier in 2021 but recently suffered a recurrence of his serious knee ligament injury.
Lewis Travis is missing with a hip injury, with John Buckley and Corry Evans coming into midfield and Tyrhys Dolan also starting, with Armstrong, Johnson and Liverpool loanee Harvey Elliott out of the XI.
NORWICH (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Hanley (C), Gibson, Giannoulis; Skipp, McLean; Buendia, Dowell, Cantwell; Pukki. Subs: Nyland (GK), Zimmermann, Tettey, Sorensen, Vrancic, Stiepermann, Hernandez, Placheta, Hugill
BLACKBURN (4-3-3): Kaminski; Rankin-Costello, Lenihan (C), Harwood-Bellis, Douglas; Holtby, Buckley, Evans; Dolan, Brereton, Rothwell. Subs: Pears (GK), Braithwaite, Nyambe, Johnson, Downing, Bell, Bennett, Elliott, Gallagher
REFEREE: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)
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