Norwich City have visited the New York Stadium on four occasions since it opened in 2012, but their trip there this weekend will be fairly different as they face Rotherham United behind closed doors.
Following the recent international break, Rotherham have a fully-fit squad of players to choose from. Millers debuts could be handed to Dan Barlaser, who signed on loan from Newcastle United at the start of the month, and Florian Jozefzoon, who joined the club on a season-long loan from Derby County on Thursday.
Norwich are set to be without winger Onel Hernandez for between 10-12 weeks as the Cuban recently had a minor operation after suffering an adductor injury. Additionally, full-back Sam Byram is still sidelined as he continues to recover from a hamstring problem.
German defender Christoph Zimmermann will miss the trip to the New York Stadium with a calf injury, while Marco Stiepermann and Todd Cantwell are slight injury doubts. In more positive news for the Canaries, Poland under-21 international Przemyslaw Placheta is back in training and should make the matchday squad.
Rotherham: Blackman; Harding, Ihiekwe, A. MacDonald, Mattock; Wiles, Crooks, S. MacDonald, Sadlier; Hirst, Ladapo
Norwich: Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Quintilla; Skipp, Rupp; Buendia, Vrancic, Cantwell; Pukki
Despite starting the new Championship campaign with opening-day victories, both of these sides have found things to be more difficult in the second-tier since.
Rotherham are winless in their last three league games, but have only suffered one defeat, which was inflicted by Millwall on September 19. The Millers led Huddersfield Town for over an hour in their most recent match but were denied victory in the sixth minute of stoppage time when Angus MacDonald found his own net.
Many Norwich fans believed that they had turned a corner when they defeated Huddersfield on September 12 to earn their first league victory since February. However, their more recent results have been poor, with back-to-back 1-0 defeats suffered to Bournemouth and Derby County.
Ones to watch
One of Rotherham’s key transfers this summer was the addition of young striker George Hirst, who joined from Leicester City on a season-long loan deal in September.
It is understood that the tall forward is rated very highly by his parent club, and the 21-year-old has an added amount of pressure on his shoulders due to the fact that he is the son of former England international David Hirst.
So far this term, Hirst junior has made three appearances for the Millers, but is yet to open his account in red and white. Given Norwich’s clear defensive frailties, he will be particularly eager to grab his first Championship goal on Saturday.
Norwich’s most expensive signing of the transfer window was 28-year-old Jordan Hugill, who arrived from West Ham United for a reported fee of £2.6 million plus future add-ons.
The physical striker’s arrival helped to boost the Canaries’ forward options, but he has been used sporadically up to this point, with three substitute appearances in the league equating to just 16 minutes played in total.
Teemu Pukki has started every second-tier game instead of Hugill so far, but after the Fin missed a penalty last time out against Derby, there is a chance that Daniel Farke will be considering a change up front.
These two teams last faced each other in March 2019, when Norwich left South Yorkshire with all three points thanks to a 2-1 away victory. Centre-back Ben Godfrey – who left Norfolk to join Everton for a club-record sale less than two weeks ago – scored the winning goal for the Canaries on the day.
At the end of the 2018/19 Championship season, Norwich were promoted to the Premier League and Rotherham were relegated to League One, but a year on, they find themselves back in the same division again.
The Millers’ recent record in this fixture is very poor; they have tasted victory in just one of their last 17 matches against the Canaries.
How to watch
This game kicks off at 3pm on Saturday October 17 and is not on TV, but it is available to watch on either ‘iFollow Millers’ or ‘iFollow Norwich’, with a match pass costing £10.
What the managers have said
Rotherham manager Paul Warne will not be in the home dugout on Saturday as he is currently self-isolating after a family member tested positive for COVID-19. In his pre-match press conference, he discussed how unique the experience is set to be for him.
Warne said: “I will obviously be watching it on iFollow Millers and having a live link from the bench. It will be quite good, I think if I was not so vocal on the side of the pitch I’d quite like to manage from higher up. You get a great angle of the game and probably get a different perception to ground level.
“Obviously not being there is not ideal, but I have a lot of trust in my staff. It is surreal playing Norwich without a crowd in and obviously without being in the dugout, but it’s all about the lads, not about me. We want to get them to a level where they can give Norwich a good game. I am looking forward to it and it should be a really good test.
“Norwich were a Premier League team just a few months ago, so we’re well aware of the enormity of the challenge, but I have full belief in the lads that we can go toe-to-toe with them and if we take our chances we’ll have a great chance.”
Meanwhile, Norwich head coach Daniel Farke revealed his frustrations with the busy schedules some of his players faced over the last two weeks as they represented their countries.
He told the press: “It seems tricky for the players to be flying around more during international breaks. It's strange to fly around for friendlies. Five of my players were away until Thursday like Teemu [Pukki] and Adam [Idah].
“It is always difficult to sleep after a game. You can imagine what time they had to get up to get back to Norwich and then travel to Rotherham.
“The positives are that all COVID results came back negative. They seem to be fit and in a good mood, but we'll have to make some late decisions on who plays tomorrow.”