Alex Neil is keeping his Norwich City players on their toes

Wes Hoolahan was back in the Norwich City starting line up at West Ham. Picture by Paul Chesterton/F

Wes Hoolahan was back in the Norwich City starting line up at West Ham. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil is warning his Norwich City players he plans to keep them on their toes to maintain the club's Premier League progress.

The Scot has shuffled his pack for the past two top flight games, with the likes of Wes Hoolahan and Nathan Redmond both omitted from the starting line up, and Kyle Lafferty not making the squad for last weekend's West Ham draw after his goalscoring League Cup cameo.

'It is difficult to leave good players out. They work hard every day, they have great attitudes and I get on well with them,' said Neil.

'The players give everything they've got and that's all you can ever ask.

'The day they don't do that is the day they've got a problem. It is important with your squad that players understand where they are in the pecking order to a certain extent. It doesn't mean you can't climb up that pecking order, of course it does, that is the whole nature of having a competitive element, but when someone has the jersey and is doing really well then you are going to have to bide your time and be patient until your chance comes along and then show enough to suggest you can take his place.'

Neil is unlikely to be swayed by popularity contests, with Lafferty's exclusion at Upton Park a major talking point.

'What people tend to do when they watch a match is just look at that game and if someone has played well then suddenly they deserve to start the next three,' he said.

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'I have to take it all into account and make sure I put out the strongest team. Kyle was really unfortunate (at West Ham), it was certainly a 50:50 call but I can't discount what the guys have done for me over the time I have been here.

'Kyle is doing really well at the minute, which makes it a tough decision but I have to make sure I have the right options on the bench.'