TEAM NEWS: City will travel to Birmingham without Gibson

Jonathan Howson of Middlesbrough and Ben Gibson of Norwich in action during the Sky Bet Championship

Central defender Ben Gibson missed Norwich City's win over Rotherham with a back problem - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Championship leaders Norwich City are back in action on Tuesday night but Daniel Farke will be without centre-back Ben Gibson again for the trip to Birmingham City.

The Burnley loanee will miss the game as the back problem which kept him out of action at the weekend is still troubling him slightly, although Farke stressed it was only a minor issue.

Emi Buendia is fine though, after limping slightly during the latter stages of Saturday's win over Rotherham after being on the end of a heavy tackle which saw Millers skipper Michael Ihiekwe booked.

"All the players who were available for the last game are available," said the City boss. "We will have to play without Ben Gibson, he is still struggling with some back problems, not a major issue.

"It has improved a little but not enough to have him in the squad. I would say 95 per cent he won't be involved."

Marco Stiepermann is still training with the under-23s as he makes his way back from two months out with an energy-sapping virus and is set to play for the U23s again at Middlesbrough on Friday afternoon before returning to first-team training next week.

Young striker Sebastian Soto missed out for the U23s as they lost 2-0 to Leeds at Colney on Friday, with Stiepermann playing the opening hour, but only has a minor issue and is back in training ahead of Friday game.

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January signing Orjan Nyland is yet to feature in a match-day squad but Farke said the Norway international is close to full training and could step into action in an emergency if there was an injury to goalkeeper Tim Krul.

The 30-year-old had a back operation in early November after leaving Aston Villa so has needed time to get up to full fitness. 

"He's close to being in the mix and pretty close to being in full team training," Farke explained. "He was already there with small parts of team training, he works pretty intensely with our goalkeeping coach already.

"For an emergency case I would say he would be there but I also trust Daniel Barden, for example, who was excellent for us this season and for that there is no need to rush anything.

"It looks really good and with Orjan it was also really good to give him some time to come into the dressing room, to get used to our football, with lots of information about our game and how we want to play, how we want to play out from the back.

"But the most obvious task is to stop the balls and protect our goal, but a bit his tactical behaviour and positioning for our build-up. It was good to give him some time, he is making good progress and I think in thew next days he will be back in full training and that's definitely good news with him."

- You can see how the press conference unfolded in the live blog below

The Canaries pushed seven points clear at the summit with a 1-0 home win over lowly Rotherham on Saturday, to take full advantage of a third consecutive defeat for Brentford.

It was a third win on the spin for City, following victories over Stoke and Coventry, with Teemu Pukki scoring his 15th goal of the campaign.

On Tuesday (7pm kick-off) they face a third successive match against a team battling relegation, with Birmingham sat 21st and two points clear of the bottom three.

The pressure was eased on manager Aitor Karanka after a 1-0 away win over survival rivals Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, with the Owls reduced to 10 men early in the second half and Scott Hogan scoring the only goal in the 63rd minute.

That finished a miserable run of 13 games which had featured nine defeats and just one win, 1-0 at Middlesbrough in mid-January.

Birmingham were in the Premier League for seven seasons between 2002 and 2011, also winning the League Cup in 2011, but have been battling against the drop in the past four seasons, having not played in the third tier since 1994-95.

The match will be the second trip to St Andrew's in seven days, as the Blues share their stadium with Coventry. Norwich won the first meeting of the sides 1-0 at Carrow Road in October, with Mario Vrancic coming off the bench to sweep home a winner in the 87th minute.

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