The season is over for Sam Byram and it probably is for Onel Hernandez too. That was the depressing bombshell that Daniel Farke delivered to the assembled media ahead of Friday night’s visit from Leicester City.
The boss is about to address the media ahead of #NORLEI… 💬
Updates can be found here ⬇️https://t.co/b8recDNztk
— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) February 27, 2020
Bur despite that, Farke insisted that the mood in the Canary camp is good.
Onel Hernandez has had surgery on his knee and will miss around eight weeks, meaning he might just make the last knockings of the season with the same injury that he suffered when he fell down the stairs at the start of the season. For Byram though, the hamstring injury suffered against Liverpool means his season is over.
Christoph Zimmermann will also miss Friday night with a muscle strain but Timm Klose is progressing well and should soon be back with the first-team.
Farke also again spoke about Emi Buendia:
“It’s important to be honest. In 95% of my comments about Emi I praised him. He was in fantastic shape in December but sadly had an injury and then struggled a bit to come back to 100%. That’s why he hasn’t played every minute.
Our young players get lots of praise and they deserve it, but it’s important to speak about how to develop them. Emi has to add a few goals and work on his tactical discipline. That’s quite normal.
It’s the same for Cantwell, Aarons and Godfrey. It’s not about their points on FIFA or Football Manager, I’m here to develop players and Emi is not out of favour at all.
Everyone knows how much I like Emi and backed him, I’ve defended him when he’s made mistakes. Sometimes he doesn’t show great reactions after losing the ball, but I always try to protect my players. They are not only in my head, but also in my heart.“
Farke also discussed Norwich not being favourites in this game, only having one win in their last six games but again emphasising that a miraculous escape from relegation is still possible, as Leicester themselves showed a few tears back, winning 7 of their last 10 games to beat the drop.
This game will, of course, see the Canary faithful reunited with one of their most favourite recent sons, James Maddison.
“James Maddison is still popular here because his behaviour was always top class. For such a young player, he was humble and showed his pride to wear the yellow shirt. He’s a top class player and will play an important role for the Three Lions because he has so many skills.
“It’s always great to see James because I love this guy, but we want to make his life as difficult as possible during the game.
“I remember in pre-season when James had cramp and wanted to stop but I told him to go further on. We live in a society where young players are praised that much and that early after one good game. Quality is defined over a long-term period.”
Norwich will need to be on top form to beat a Leicester side who look almost guaranteed to qualify for a Champions League place by the season’s end. Last week against Wolves was a depressing, below par showing. It would be just like Norwich to turn the Foxes over though.
Fingers crossed that the fight back starts here.