Daniel Farke said he expects Saturday’s FA Cup match against Portsmouth to be a tough game, with the City boss preparing to make several changes as key players remain out with injuries.
Norwich will take on the current League One leaders at Carrow Road in the third round of the cup, with kick-off at 5.30pm.
And Farke said they want to put out a strong side to make it through to the next round, offering game-time to players who are returning from injury while also resting those who have been involved in all of the recent league games.
“My attitude is that the cup competitions have a high importance,” Farke said. “I think I have to calm myself down a bit in my desire to always play the strongest starting line-up in this situation because we are in a brilliant position in the league and there are a few injuries [Moritz Leitner, Emi Buendia, Jamal Lewis, Marco Stiepermann and Alex Tettey].
“So, for that I think we will have to have a few more changes than I would normally like. Normally I would like to just rotate on two or three positions because I think that is the number of rotations that are healthy for the team, but I guess we will be there with a few more.
“I also have in my mind that we’ve got several players who are coming out of pretty long rehab and it’s important that they have some game-time to prepare them for the last four months of the season. It’s a fine balance and on the one hand we don’t want to take any more risks but on the other hand there are some players who need proper game-time.
"I think we have to make some smart decisions but one thing is for sure we want to be there with a strong starting line-up and want to go into the next round."
The City Head Coach was full of praise for Portsmouth’s success so far this season, and expects manager Kenny Jackett to travel with his strongest side.
“I am pretty sure they will come with a strong starting line-up because that’s what they did in the first two rounds with no changes," said Farke. “I just can’t praise Kenny enough for his work because it’s outstanding when you are there after 26 league games already with 57 points.
“I expect a game completely on our level because Portsmouth have big opportunities and they are on a brilliant run. I think for them it’s a big stage because they want to be back in the Championship next season and it’s a good opportunity for them to show that they are competitive.
“I can’t deny that we, together with Leeds at the moment because of our position in the league and also the way that we are playing, are one of the hottest teams in the Championship. They know this and they know they can be in the spotlight when they are there with a good performance and a good result.
“We know it will be a tricky game for us because we will have several changes and it’s not easy then to compete with a side which is full of confidence and in their rhythm, so I expect a pretty close game.
“We will try to find a good balance between resting and giving some game-time and hopefully we will be successful.”