Norwich City make their return to league action on Saturday afternoon following the two week long international break, playing host to Cardiff City at Carrow Road. Both teams will be looking for a precious three points, as they look to improve on underwhelming starts to the campaign.
Norwich went in to the international break with a number of short term injuries to key players. The much-welcomed rest will likely give Alex Neil a wider variety of options, with the likes of Cameron Jerome, Ivo Pinto and Alex Pritchard expected to be fit. Jerome and Pinto in particular are believed to be given an instant return to the starting XI, with poor performances from stand-ins Naismith and Whittaker last time out at Birmingham. All of Norwich’s international players, including Robbie Brady and Timm Klose, have avoided any major injuries while away on duty.
City’s most recent addition to the promotion-chasing squad, Nelson Oliveira, is also fit to make his debut for the Canaries following his move from Portuguese giants Benfica.
Cardiff have had a much greater change in personel since their last outing, a 1-0 home defeat to Reading. Their key player David Marshall was sold to Hull City, while Adam Le Fondre and ex-Manchester United man Federico Macheda also leaving the Welsh capital. However, they have made notable signings to fill their boots, bringing in Ben Amos, Joe Bennett and England striker Rickie Lambert. Given their poor start, it’s possible all three will make their Cardiff debuts at Carrow Road.
Both managers will be starting to feel the pressure from the fans as both clubs slump in mid-table, as they look to recover from a draw and defeat. It’ll be a cagey affair, with both teams being low on confidence after a spell of poor form. Norwich undoubtedly have a stronger squad, and a core nucleus in the side that will be bolstered by key players returning from injury. Combine that with Cardiff losing their main man, David Marshall, manager Alex Neil goes in to the game with the stronger hand and home advantage. I’m predicting Norwich 2-0 Cardiff.