Team news: Wes Hoolahan fit to return for Norwich City but Graham Dorrans will miss Reading clash
PUBLISHED: 19:35 07 April 2017 | UPDATED: 22:48 07 April 2017
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Irish playmaker Wes Hoolahan is fit to return when Norwich City welcome Reading to Carrow Road tomorrow.
The 34-year-old limped off during the first half of City’s last home game, a 2-0 win over Barnsley, but a thigh problem saw him miss the away defeats at Aston Villa and Huddersfield.
Scotland international midfield Graham Dorrans misses out with an ankle problem though, after coming off at half-time of the 2-0 loss at Villa Park, but full-backs Mitchell Dijks and Ivo Pinto are both back from suspension.
“Graham Dorrans is not fit for tomorrow, Wes Hoolahan is back in and available, he’s in the squad,” interim head coach Alan Irvine confirmed.
“Youssouf Mulumbu is further on than Matt Jarvis, Matt’s had one 90 minutes since pre-season started so he’s still got quite a way to go really, he will need some more football.
“He needs to complete a run of training sessions that unfortunately when you’ve had one bad injury, quite often when you come back mid-season you pick up other little injuries and so Matt’s had a series of problems, which is not unusual. So from Matt’s point of view he needs to get himself ready to have a good summer and a good pre-season and restart.”
Jaap Stam’s team travel to Norfolk in fourth place and looking well set for a play-off place, on the back of three wins on the bounce.
“I probably wouldn’t have them as high in the league going back to the start of the season so yes I’m surprised at where they are if I think back to the beginning of the season,” Irvine continues.
“They’ve shown for many months now that they’re a very good side, they’re a side who play possession-based football, they have a lot of good movement, they have quality up front, they have a striker (Yann Kermorgant) who’s in really good form at the moment, so they’re a massive threat.
“They deserve to be where they are at the moment, I expect them to be one of the teams who are in the play-offs at the end of the season and I think that they’ll be a difficult challenge for anyone who comes up against them between now and those play-offs and beyond.
“It will be a really tough game for us but like any other team in this league or any other league, you look for the weaknesses and there are some. Their style of football gives you some problems but it can also cause problems for them at times.”
The former Preston and West Brom boss, who has been confirmed as interim City boss until the end of the season, is still searching for answers as to why the Canaries have struggled defensively this season.
After conceding another five goals in the past week, only three teams in the Championship have conceded more than City’s current total of 61.
“I actually don’t think the problems have been as a unit, I think they’ve been individual problems more so than being the defence has been a bit open or disjointed,” the 58-year-old continued.
“Too many of the goals we’ve conceded have been individual errors and they’re errors that you wouldn’t expect to happen as often as they have at this level and it’s not one person who has made those errors, it’s been a number of people at key moments in games.
“We’ve done it again against Huddersfield at a period of time when we’re probably not having one of our best spells, there was an individual errors, and as I said after the game I couldn’t defend the players because we caved in at that point.
“That has been something that has happened too often and that cannot be defended, I cannot protect them on that because that has to come from within, you have to have that toughness and that resilience within you.”