Daniel Farke wary of a Norwich City reunion with Aitor Karanka
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Daniel Farke is wary of a resurgent Nottingham Forest under a manager who has a special place in Canary folklore.
Aitor Karanka will face Norwich City for the first time since losing the Championship play-off final as Middlesbrough boss on a glorious day at Wembley in 2015.
The Spaniard did guide the Teessiders to promotion the following season, but crosses paths again with City at the two-time European Cup winners.
Farke is impressed with Karanka’s galvanising impact in the East Midlands since replacing Mark Warburton, to ease genuine fears of being sucked into a late relegation battle.
“This is the first game they can play without that relegation pressure,” he said.
“They are four games unbeaten and maybe a bit relieved.
“They have a really experienced coach in Aitor Karanka and it seems like it fits right now. Karanka worked at Real Madrid and has that Spanish football philosophy. You can see that wherever he has worked, and he knows what this league is about from his time at Middlesbrough.
“It is nearly the same players as when we played them earlier in the season - so in that respect it hasn’t changed much - but they have some very good technical players in forward areas.”
Farke’s squad had 10 days to prepare, after their Barnsley call-off, but the Reds were in Championship action at the weekend when they edged past Birmingham City 2-1.
“It could be an advantage or it could be a disadvantage.
“It’s not so easy when you don’t play and stay in your rhythm,” said the Norwich head coach.
“It can be difficult after 10 days to focus the players on the next game.
“In general, Nottingham had some load so that could be an advantage but overall I don’t think it’s too important.
“We are unbeaten since January and have put in some good performances. Hopefully we can reward ourselves with a win.
“In the last four games, they have picked up eight points, after a really strange period for them when they were concerned and involved in the relegation battle.
“Those eight points has helped them and they will come here in a better mood.”
Karanka insists City’s enforced weather break does tip the odds in the home side’s favour.
“It will be another tough game, and even more as we played on Saturday and they didn’t,” he said.
“They have had more time to rest, it is a long journey, but when you are on the run we are on at the minute it is better to play.”