Alex Neil poised to unleash Norwich City’s heavy artillery against Sheffield Wednesday

Mitchell Dijks missed out on derby goal against Ipswich Town.
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Mitchell Dijks missed out on derby goal against Ipswich Town. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Mitchell Dijks will be a key weapon in Norwich City's Championship showdown at Sheffield Wednesday.

Mitchell Dijks has helped Norwich City bulk up for the Championship combat. Picture: Paul Chesterto

Mitchell Dijks has helped Norwich City bulk up for the Championship combat. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The 24-year-old powerhouse may have had to defer to City legend Darren Huckerby in a Pinkun online poll that attracted more than 1,000 votes to find the Canaries' best-ever loan import, but Alex Neil is in no doubt how important Dijks is over the run-in.

The City chief has labelled the all-action full-back a 'beast' after his impressive impact since arriving from Ajax and Dijks was a stand-out home performer in the 1-1 derby draw against Ipswich Town, which leaves Norwich needing a win to cut a six-point gap to the Owls.

'He has equipped himself unbelievably well since he has come here,' said Neil. 'Burton was probably a game too much for him, in terms of intensity, and having to churn out game after game after game. I would certainly say that was probably his poorest performance but he was great (against Ipswich). You see how strong he is, he is physical and can go past players so he certainly has all the attributes.'

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Fit-again duo Ivo Pinto and Steven Naismith returned from injury against the neighbours, in what looked close to Neil's strongest XI as he tries to plot a late play-off push.

'It would certainly be up there,' he said. 'Of course it fluctuates from game to game. Graham Dorrans would be in the mix when he comes back. Alex Pritchard when he is on his game. It depends on form and who we are playing. If we can keep this group fit of course it gives us a better chance.'

Pritchard came off the bench to replace Wes Hoolahan and Neil has seen real signs of progress from the ex-Tottenham midfielder.

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'Al has always been in the picture. At times I have just found it difficult to put him and Wes in the same team,' he said. 'Wes has been our chief creator for the majority of time I have been here but equally Alex is an excellent football player. There is with and without the ball and there is no question with the ball he is an exceptional talent. Without the ball, given his size and stature, he is never going to be a tough tackling midfielder but he has to be able to do the ugly side of the game. Same with Wes, Jacob and Josh Murphy. At this level to be effective you can't afford to carry any passengers.'