Savvy with the early team news for tomorrow’s FA Cup game…
Diss-born goalkeeper Declan Rudd will get a rare start tomorrow as Mark Bunn will be given a breather by manager Chris Hughton. The highly-rated youngster will get only his second start of the season as the Canaries take on Peterborough at London Road.
“Yes, Declan will play,” said Hughton. “That was a decision I made a while ago. Of course with results sometimes you can change your mind, but I was quite adamant I wanted to go this way.
“Declan has trained very well, I have to say, and I think he deserves his chance. Jed will be on the bench.”
Hughton will also make other changes in what is expected to be somewhat of a second-string team. Absentees including John Ruddy (thigh), Grant Holt (hamstring), Steve Morison (thigh), Steven Whittaker (hip) and Andrew Surman (knee) are still out, meaning Hughton has no choice but to involve some fringe players.
However, returning loan players Elliott Ward, Jacob Butterfield and Simon Lappin could all be involved, to provide fresh legs and fresh faces to the team sheet. Ward, in particular is likely to feature and will be hoping to stake a claim to be in the 25-man squad for the second half of the season.
Hughton commented, “They are back now, they are very much Norwich City players. Elliott is the one, perhaps out of three, who has played the most regularly. In the period he`s been away he`s not started in only two games,” said Hughton. “Jacob was a little disappointing because we hoped he would have started more games for Bolton. He didn`t get the time on the football pitch that we wanted.”
Midfielder Bradley Johnson is also available again after a one-match ban, and on-loan striker Harry Kane is eligible to play in the FA Cup, whilst Andrew Surman has only just returned to training as confirmed by Hughton in the press conference. Fans favourite, David Fox will be hoping for a start.
“Stevie has a thigh strain which will certainly keep him out for a few weeks,” said Hughton. “We are far more hopeful with Grant. He`ll miss this weekend, but we are very hopeful for the Newcastle game on Saturday week. Grant is close, but Stevie is perhaps that little bit longer.
“There is no timeline for Steven Whittaker but he is making progress. I would expect him to miss the next couple of games – we are looking at Peterborough and Newcastle and I hope he will be available shortly after that.
“Andrew trained today and he has come through fine. The only shame was if he had been at this stage a week ago he could possibly have had some involvement on Saturday but I feel it has probably come a bit too soon for him. He trained today, felt fine and we hope he can push on. How quickly he is available for games will depend on how he looks in training.”
Hughton admits he must strike a balance between giving fringe players a chance, giving regular players a rest and giving City every chance of going through to round four in front of more than 5,000 travelling fans.
Peterborough will be without defender Gabriel Zakuani who has left for African Cup of nations duty with DR Congo. Lee Tomlin is banned following a red card in the 4-2 defeat at Bristol City, and on-loan striker Dwight Gayle is cup-tied.