Norwich City boss Daniel Farke expects Stoke City to be in the thick of the battle for a top-six finish this season.
Farke’s side lead the way in the Championship after extending their unbeaten league run to eight league games with Saturday’s 1-0 win at Middlesbrough.
However, in typical Championship fashion, it’s tight the top with just three points separating Norwich and seventh-placed Stoke ahead of Tuesday’s clash between the sides at the Bet365 Stadium.
The Potters will also go into the match in good spirits after edging a seven-goal thriller against Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
Farke said: “They [Stoke] have quality players and are a side that will challenge for the top six.
“It is the second away travel for us in three days so it is tricky for us, but we travel with belief.
“Twenty four points after 12 games, is fantastic. We have many clean sheets and we are solid. The win at Middlesbrough brings us to the top of the table, but I like even more our points total.”
Like many clubs amid the congested fixture schedule, the Canaries have been hit by injuries, with six players out until the New Year.
Farke has welcome the rule change which allowed EFL to make five substitutions in games, but believed it has come too late.
“Now it is allowed for five substitutions, but it is 11 or 12 games too late,” said the German.
“We have players playing international friendlies as well and it is hard to accept. To be able to train with the whole team has not been possible since the first international break because we are playing every three days.
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“I will stop moaning about the schedule as soon as we lose a game because it looks like excuses, but at the moment I will complain about it. We are playing in the toughest league in the world in the Championship and it is a game for human beings, not for robots.
“It is important, to use five substitutions, because you have to share the load. You still need one or two substitutes for the last few minutes because of injuries and players who cannot last the 90 minutes because they are too exhausted.
“Thankfully, now we are able to react and change things a little bit early but it should have been this way from the start [of the season].”
Also in his pre-match press conference, Farke revealed he would be without Todd Cantwell, Jordan Hugill and Kenny McLean for at least the next three weeks.