'We can always trust Christoph' - Farke backs Zimbo to step up for City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City will be without Ben Gibson for a second consecutive game but Daniel Farke is backing his trusted lieutenant Christoph Zimmermann to reach the Championship leaders’ required defensive standards again.
The towering German has been a popular player among Canaries fans since he followed Farke across from Borussia Dortmund II in 2017, making 139 appearances.
He stepped in due to Gibson’s minor back problem and helped City beat Rotherham 1-0 on Saturday, during his first league start since late December, and with Gibson not quite ready to return at Birmingham tomorrow night the centre-back will have another opportunity to impress alongside skipper Grant Hanley.
“We can always trust Christoph, he was brilliant since he came to us and even before he had many clean sheets and good defensive behaviour,” said Farke.
“I spoke with my three experienced players and they know that it’s difficult on this level to be available for each and every second of 46 games.
“I told them ‘make sure at least two of you guys are always available’ because then I can have some proper sleeps before games!
“I knew that Christoph would be there with a top performance and he delivered. Of course it was not easy for him because he was out for a while and he had to wait but he looked unbelievably sharp in training and I was always convinced that he would deliver.”
Gibson is likely to be in contention for the trip to Wycombe on Sunday but Marco Stiepermann is set for another outing with the under-23s on Friday before returning to first-team training next week.
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January signing Orjan Nyland is also close to being available and would be ready to play if Tim Krul were to get injured, as City ease the Norway keeper back to full fitness after a back operation in early November.
The Canaries are chasing a fourth consecutive win but despite the battle with the struggling Blues being a third game in seven days, Farke doesn’t see a great need to rotate his squad.
“It’s always an option. The good thing for us is, in terms of our fitness levels, we are quite happy,” he continued.
“Also the last game in terms of what we had to invest, because we were so much on the front foot, was also not the game where we had to deliver with outstanding physical data.
“The turnaround from Saturday afternoon to Tuesday evening is not that difficult, a few hours can make a huge difference in terms of recovery and also that you had a proper recovery and a proper sleep after the game.
“Saturday was quite good for that so my impression is that the players are fit and ready to go but it is due to our quality and our quality options that we have the chance to mix it up. So let’s see what we will do.”