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Team news: Steven Naismith doubtful for Norwich City's clash with Cardiff

PUBLISHED: 12:19 03 February 2017 | UPDATED: 12:19 03 February 2017

Steven Naismith is an injury doubt for Norwich City's match at Cardiff City. 
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Steven Naismith is an injury doubt for Norwich City's match at Cardiff City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Steven Naismith is the main injury worry for Norwich City ahead of tomorrow's Championship clash at Cardiff City.

The Scottish forward has a hamstring strain, manager Alex Neil revealed at his pre-match press conference ahead of the long trip to South Wales.

However, there was better news, with central midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu back in contention after returning from the African Cup of Nations and striker Nelson Oliveira returning from a three-game ban.

“Steven Naismith is struggling with a hamstring, so he’ll be touch and go really, but that’s the main one,” Neil said.

“We’ll have a look at Youssouf in training this morning, obviously we haven’t done a huge amount with Youssouf at all so we’ll see when we look at him in the flesh.”

Mulumbu’s return provides particular relief, with Alex Tettey managing to survive three matches without picking up his 10th yellow card of the season, which would activate a two-game ban.

“We had a couple of options where we could have signed a midfield player but looking at it, with Youssouf coming back, it falls into the same category as the left-back area,” Neil continued, having confirmed Steven Whittaker will provide cover to loan signing Mitchell Dijks at left-back.

“If I sign someone, is he going to get into the starting 11 ahead of the guys that I’ve got, probably not so is it juts going to be another wage that we’re picking up in case something happens?

“Youssouf is back though, so if Alex gets suspended Youssouf’s there, Ben Godfrey’s there who played against Southampton and was a sub in the Birmingham game.

“Graham Dorrans hopefully will be back in the next four to six weeks, so we’re not miles away in terms of cover.”

Dijks and fellow new signing Yanic Wildschut both go into the squad for the game following their deadline day signings on Tuesday – after the Dutch duo spoke to the media about their arrivals at Colney this morning.

“They’re both straight into the squad, obviously I’m not going to tell you if they’re in the team but they’ll be travelling to Cardiff,” Neil said, with a smile.

First of all you look at the size and stature of them, that’s something I’ve spoken regularly about this season, about being more robust for the Championship.

“I think certainly Yanic is used to the Championship, whereas Mitchell is going to take a bit of time to settle. However, he’s a big lad, played Champions League football, I think he’s won leagues with Ajax, he’s only 23 but he’s a big lad and he’s looking forward to getting started.

“Power, pace, certainly in Yanic’s position, the ability to go past players and get people off their seats.”

Experienced winger Matt Jarvis is unlikely to be involved but is likely to step up his recovery from a hamstring problem when City’s under-23s take on Aston Villa at Carrow Road on Monday evening.

Neil did also provide an update on former Reading midfielder Jem Karacan, who had recently trained with the Canaries and played in an U23s’ game as a trialist.

“I would never rule anything out in football, somebody may get suspended or injured, whatever the case may be but at this present moment in time I didn’t see the need to bring another number in when I couldn’t guarantee them football,” he added.

“I think that’s unfair on them and bringing them in on false pretences really.”

Watch a review of this morning’s press conference from our reporters in the video above.

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