Norwich head coach Daniel Farke believes his side will again have to beat the odds when they tackle Aston Villa – a club with the potential to be a “giant”.
The Canaries may have gone up as winners of the Sky Bet Championship last season, but the Norfolk club fell well behind their promoted rivals in summer spending.
Villa boss Dean Smith is likely to deploy £22million Brazilian striker Wesley Moraes when the two sides meet again at Carrow Road, battling for points at the wrong end of the Premier League table.
Farke, meanwhile, will hand a first league start to veteran Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern, with Archie Mair likely to be drafted in from the Under-23s as Norwich’s injury crisis deepens.
The German head coach, though, has already seen his depleted squad upset the form book at Carrow Road with an unlikely victory over champions Manchester City in their last home match.
Farke knows it will require another determined team effort to pick up what could be a crucial result in their own battle to retain Premier League status.
“We won both games (in the Championship) last season, but Dean Smith is totally right – we haven’t played ‘this’ Villa side yet,” the Norwich head coach said.
“They spent an unbelievable amount of money in the summer and have many changes.
“You can’t compare Villa with the other promoted teams. The potential of the club is to be a giant one day in England and Europe. Fingers crossed for Dean he is able to lift all this potential.”
Farke added at a press conference: “There are many reasons why Villa are favourites, but you shouldn’t underestimate the spirit and resilience of my players – or of Carrow Road.
“If we create the same spirit and togetherness at Carrow Road, then we can achieve another big surprise.
“We have to fight for points to achieve our targets. We know we have a difficult situation, but we want to be successful.”
Finland forward Teemu Pukki has scored six Premier League goals, but not found the net since the win against Manchester City, while Norwich have twice drawn a blank away from home.
“Strikers can’t score a hat-trick in every game. I’ve been pleased with Teemu’s recent performances,” Farke said.
“It is just a question of time until he scores again. It is not a big crisis.”
Norwich’s injury setbacks, though, are very much cause for concern.
Central defender Ben Godfrey is set for hernia surgery during the international break, which ruled him out of contention for England Under-21s duty.
However, Northern Ireland full-back Jamal Lewis’ elbow problem suffered in last weekend’s defeat at Crystal Palace proved not as bad as first feared.
“We ask ourselves what we can do differently to avoid injuries, but most of the time we can’t influence them,” Farke said.
“It is interesting to fight against all odds and setbacks and to win points in such situations.”
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