STARTING XIs: City make three changes for Huddersfield clash

Max Aarons of Norwich in action during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich
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Max Aarons returns to Norwich City's starting line-up against Huddersfield - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City have made three changes to their starting line-up and visitors Huddersfield have made five for this evening's Carrow Road clash.

Full-backs Max Aarons and Dimitris Giannoulis return in place of Bali Mumba and Xavi Quintilla having missed Friday's 1-1 draw at Preston due to their international exertions.

Oliver Skipp also returns to the starting XI, with Jacob Sorensen dropping to the bench, having only been fit enough to come on in the 82nd minute at Preston due to being in England U21 action less than 48 hours before kick-off at Deepdale.

Grant Hanley makes his 100th appearance for the Canaries and 18-year-old Andrew Omobamidele retains his place alongside the skipper in central defence, following an impressive first senior start in Lancashire.

The Ireland U21 international was needed due to ankle surgery finishing Ben Gibson's season early and a hamstring injury which is likely to keep Christoph Zimmermann out for much of the remaining weeks of the campaign.

Irish forward Adam Idah (hernia) and German midfielder Lukas Rupp (hamstring) are set to return to training ahead of Saturday's trip to Derby and goalkeeper Michael McGovern is close to a return to training after hamstring surgery at the start of the year.

Full-back Sam Byram is targeting a return in time for pre-season after more than a year out of action due to two hamstring operations.

Star man Emi Buendia is also okay to retain his starting role despite limping off with a sore ankle at Preston, with the Argentine looking to add to the 11 goals and 12 assists he already has to his name from 32 appearances.

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The leaders are unbeaten in 11 games and begin the evening six points clear of Watford, who drew at Middlesbrough yesterday, and 15 ahead of third-placed Brentford, who host lowly Birmingham this evening.

The season began with a 1-0 win at Huddersfield back in September, with Idah coming off the bench and scoring the winner in the 80th minute after an unselfish pass from Teemu Pukki.

With the transfer window still open, Ben Godfrey was starting for City ahead of his big-money move to Everton, while Gibson was only on the bench having just signed on loan from Burnley, Hanley was still recovering from injury and Buendia was suspended due to a red card during the dying embers of Premier League relegation.

Norwich City v Huddersfield: All you need to know

Huddersfield are forced into two of their changes, with midfielder Alex Vallejo (head) and full-back Pipa (groin) picking up injuries during an impressive 1-1 home draw with high-flying Brentford on Saturday.

The experienced Richard Stearman comes into defence and Leandro Bacuna replaces Vallejo, with Isaac Mbenza and Danny Ward replacing top scorer Fraizer Campbell and former Arsenal striker Yaya Sonogo in attack.

There was also a late change announced, with keeper Ryan Schofield ill and dropping out of the KI to be replaced by 24-year-old Manchester United loanee Joel Pereira, with Jayson Leutwiler coming on the bench as cover.

The visitors are without former Canaries left-back Harry Toffolo (back injury), who only got to make two senior appearances despite being a key part of City's 2013 FA Youth Cup success, joining Millwall in 2018 before going on to become an important player for Lincoln and the Terriers.

Another former Norwich player, attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard, is also unavailable. The Tottenham youth product scored eight goals in 43 games after being signed for around £5million from Spurs in 2015, being sold for £12m in January 2018 when Huddersfield were a Premier League team.

Newcastle loanee Rolando Aarons - the cousin of City full-back Max Aarons - and forward Josh Koroma are not quite ready to return from their hamstring injuries yet and former Everton striker Oumar Niasse (groin) also misses out.

Experienced centre-back Christopher Schindler (knee), on loan Ajax midfielder Carel Eiting (knee) and Irish winger Danny Grant (thigh) are also unavailable.

Only Bristol City (55) and bottom-of-the-table Wycombe (61) have conceded more than 18th-placed Huddersfield (53), who sit eight points clear of the relegation zone and are unbeaten in five - but have won just two of their last 16.

The Terriers were victorious during their last visit to Norfolk, winning a Championship clash 2-1 in December 2016 during a season which would bring an end to Alex Neil's reign at City but end in play-off final success for the Terriers.

NORWICH (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Omobamidele, Hanley (C), Giannoulis; Skipp, McLean; Buendia, Dowell, Cantwell; Pukki. Subs: Nyland (GK), Mumba, Tettey, Sorensen, Vrancic, Stiepermann, Hernandez, Placheta, Hugill

HUDDERSFIELD (4-2-3-1): Pereira; Duhaney, Stearman, Keogh, Sarr; Hogg (C), Bacuna; Holmes, Mbenza, O’Brien; Ward. Subs: Leutwiler (GK), Edmonds-Green, Elphick, Brown, High, Rowe, Thomas, Campbell, Sanogo

REFEREE: Jarred Gillett (Australia)

- Click hereto follow all the updates, analysis and reaction in our Matchday Live blog

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