Norwich City will be without midfielder Alex Pritchard until January due to the ankle injury he picked up in the pre-season friendly with Cambridge United.

Speaking at his press conference ahead of the Canaries’ game against Sunderland this weekend, head coach Daniel Farke confirmed that his player will undergo ankle surgery which means he will not be fit to play until 2018.

Farke said:

It is bad news – [the recovery period is] a minimum of 12 weeks. That is when everything works in a perfect way then perhaps the end of November, I guess. So, that means, all in all, we have to do without him for more than four months. Then when he returns, he will need some time back in training. To be honest, I don’t count on having him until the beginning of the new year.

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Norwich originally hoped to avoid putting Pritchard under the knife as he had surgery on the same ankle two years ago. They hoped that they would be able to resolve the issue without the need for an operation but their methods were proving unsuccessful, meaning the only alternative is for him to have surgery.

The news will come as a blow to Norwich fans as Pritchard is clearly one of the club’s key players, but the Canaries will have to play the first half of the season without him as they look to make a push to earn promotion back to the Premier League.