Norwich boss Smith claims Christmas schedule is ‘impossible’

Norwich manager Dean Smith has claimed that the Christmas schedule is becoming impossible for players as he reveals the club have had some fresh cases.

The Canaries take on Arsenal on Boxing Day in a clash that has survived the Covid cull of fixtures, so far.

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Smith has admitted the club have some new cases and that this year, especially, is hard for players.

According to the Norwich Official Website, Smith said: “We have had some fresh cases, but we have got others coming back from previous cases as well. I think we are pretty similar to a lot of other clubs at the moment.

“We are not sure (how many will miss Boxing Day yet) because we have to have a PCR (test) within 48 hours of the game and that is our last point to really to find out who is going to be missing and who is going to be available.

“We will train today (Christmas Eve) and train again tomorrow (Christmas Day) morning and have a look at the numbers we have got.”

“We all know that there is a tradition with the festive scheduling and it is difficult normally, but it is nigh on impossible to ask players to play twice in 48 hours and I, at the moment, don’t know how we are going to do it.

“We have got a lot of players coming back, some from COVID-19 cases, some from injuries, and we are having to push rehab forward and people are breaking down because of that.

“It is asking massive questions of everybody’s squads at the moment and it is lunacy that we are having to play two games in 48 hours. There has got to be a question about the integrity of the competition when teams are playing weakened teams against other teams and it is affecting league positions.

Norwich were beaten by Smith’s former side Aston Villa last week and the Canaries boss has admitted he should’ve pushed harder to get the game postponed.

“We had it the other day against Aston Villa and I blame myself for not pushing to get the game called off because we shouldn’t have played.

“I had four players pull out on the day of the game. I had three players on the bench who I couldn’t put on and we ended up bringing on a player who hadn’t played for 22 months after 43 minutes. Thankfully, Sam Byram got through the game but we are in a dangerous situation where we are risking the health and well being of the players.”

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