Norwich City Head Coach Daniel Farke says he’s not underestimating the threat Preston North End pose when the two sides meet in the third round of the FA Cup at Deepdale Stadium on Saturday (3.01pm KO).
“I made it clear since I arrived here that I’m a big fan of cup competitions and the FA Cup is important for us,” Farke said, previewing the game in his pre-match press conference. “It’s our fifth game in 14 days so we won’t risk any injured players. We’ll use the whole squad, but we need the best starting lineup we can bring to go to the next round.
“It’s a difficult draw for us against the side with the best home record in the Championship. It will be a tough game for us. We travel in order to win the game. That’s our attitude.
“Preston are dangerous. They’re one of the best pressing sides in the country – aggressive and intense. Often in the cup, the Premier League team is the favourite, but I can’t see any favourite in this one. There’s a team fighting for promotion to the Premier League against a team fighting relegation. The gap is not that big.
“Every win is important for the mood and confidence, and with this game we have a chance to go three matches unbeaten. To go to the fourth round of the cup would be good and we want to be as successful as possible.”
The City boss also used the press conference to explain his thinking behind the departure of Patrick Roberts, who had his loan spell at the club cut short yesterday.
“Patrick is a great guy and we wish him all the best for the future,” Farke said. “He wasn’t happy with his game time, because every player wants to play every minute. It’s best to use the January window to allow this move. It was difficult for him.
“We have lots of competition on the winger position and it was a bit unpredictable but good for us that Todd Cantwell, because of the competition, stepped up so much during the summer. He was important for us last season but struggled to deliver the end product. He knew, with Emi Buendia, Onel Hernandez and Patrick Roberts, that he had to step up to keep his place and he did that.
“It was positive to have Patrick around to improve Todd, but of course you have to realise that for him it’s not the situation he’s looking for, so it was okay to allow him to have the move. We wish him all the best.”
As for other potential outgoings, Farke added that the club are under no pressure to sell any of their prized assets, as was the case in previous years.
“In the past seasons, we were under financial pressure and had to sell some of our best players, but now we’re in a situation where we can keep all our most important players and allow a move for the fringe players,” he explained. “We just want to have players who are greedy to work on the miracle of staying in this league.
“It’s quite normal that the rumours are there, but we’re quite relaxed. It’s a sign of good work. We developed several really good young players who attract interest from bigger clubs. I’m more pleased that there are rumours than if there weren’t, because that means we’re doing something right.
“We’re all on the same page and know we want to keep our best players, so no one is tempted to sell them. When there is an offer, it’s not just up to me to say yes or no, but there is no temptation at all to sell any player.”
On the other hand, Norwich City may be looking to make some signings in the January transfer window, but Farke was keen to reiterate that it’s not entirely straightforward at this time of year.
“The easiest way to spend money is to do it in the summer because there are more options and the market is a bit cheaper,” he said. “In January, you tend to find players who aren’t in their rhythm because if they want to leave it’s probably because they’re not playing. From a business point of view, it can be even more expensive.
“For players looking at the table, they will see we’re in danger of relegation. If you’re in this position you can’t guarantee you’ll be in the Premier League next season, so that makes it a bit more difficult. I’m not tempted to do too much business, but we won’t fall asleep. We’ll stay awake to strengthen the team but not out of panic buying. It has to make sense for the future of the club.
“Sometimes it’s easier to get players on loan, but I’d say that’s the second choice. A permanent deal is better because of the commitment and desire of the player. Sometimes, that’s not possible and you have to be a bit creative, but the first choice is to go permanent. It makes more sense for the future.
“In the background, you can be sure each and every day we’re working on topics in the window, but there’s nothing urgent – not one position where we definitely need a backup. We are speaking about many players, but we’re quite calm. It could be that there’s no business at all, so we won’t spend in a stupid way. Hopefully, one day we’re in a better position as a club to take more risks, but at the moment we’re in this position.”