Dean Smith has revealed Norwich loanee Billy Gilmour has gone back to parent club Chelsea to have an ankle injury assessment but does not expect the midfielder’s season-long loan spell to be cut short.
The Scotland international has been a regular under the Canaries boss since he replaced Daniel Farke in November but was not involved in Sunday’s FA Cup success over Charlton.
Gilmour, who was singled out for criticism from a small section of the Norwich faithful at Crystal Palace last month, sustained an injury in training and is set to miss the club’s remaining games in January.
Smith, speaking ahead of Wednesday’s trip to West Ham, said: “Billy has got a high ankle (sprain) injury so it will probably put him out for three or four weeks.
“He has gone back to Chelsea today for them to assess it but hopefully he will be back for his treatment and rehab over the next few days.”
Asked if Gilmour’s loan could be ended early, Smith insisted: “No, I don’t believe so. I don’t think the injury is significant enough for that.
“I believe it is an injury where he will be assessed by Chelsea and then sent back to us. Hopefully in the next three weeks he is back playing.”
While the youngster joins Mathias Normann (pelvis), Lukas Rupp (hamstring) and Andrew Omobamidele (back) on the treatment table, the health of the Canaries squad is in a much better place compared to their last Premier League fixture with Crystal Palace on December 28.
Injuries and Covid-19 cases saw Norwich without 11 players for their last clash of 2021 but Tim Krul, Grant Hanley, Milot Rashica and Teemu Pukki all returned in the 1-0 win over Charlton which halted the club’s five-match losing streak that including a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Arsenal on Boxing Day.
“I feel we have been a little bit unfairly criticised in the last three (league) games where our squad has been decimated,” Smith added.
“I think there is a slight ignorance about the football club from people outside of Norfolk and Norwich.
“I look at Liverpool last season and they were struggling to make the top four.
“They lost (Virgil) Van Dijk, they lost Alisson (Becker), they lost Joe Gomez and a couple of others. We played three games where we were pretty much decimated as a squad.
“I know it is similar for a lot of other clubs as well but it is hard enough when you get promoted to win games with your best XI out there in that first season back, so with 10 or 11 players out – and eight of them probably starters – it is nigh on impossible.
“Sometimes context and perspective have to be put on some results and I thought the criticism of a couple of our results was over the top.”
Todd Cantwell sat out the trip to the Valley due to illness and, while the academy graduate has been linked with a move away this month, Smith is hopeful he will feature at West Ham.
“No developments at all,” the 50-year-old said. “Todd has been ill, that is why he wasn’t in the squad at the weekend.
“He didn’t train yesterday, he was still feeling ill but I expect him to train today and to be in the squad.”
Meanwhile, recent Norwich debutant Jonathan Rowe, 18, has signed a new contract at the club until the summer of 2025.