Alex Pritchard will get the chance to move centre stage at Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil is ready to thrust Alex Pritchard centre stage at Norwich City.
The 23-year-old has had to bide his time to audition for Wes Hoolahan's number 10 role since a big-money signing from Tottenham.
Pritchard replaced the Irishman last weekend at Derby County and ahead of Saturday's meeting with a Brentford side where he sparkled on loan two seasons ago Neil is backing the youngster to grab his chance.
'We know Alex's qualities,' said Neil. 'I know the number 10 role is his best. He has played a fair share of games, including Brighton and Leeds and they were poor results, but we know what he can contribute.
'The simple fact is up until now I have plumped for Wes in that number 10 role over anybody. He has played the majority of the games, which was not the case the last time we were in the Championship. Wes very rarely played for me away from home.
'I had different players at my disposal and I always went more solid away. I have been missing those type of players for a considerable number of weeks and it prevented me from solidifying those areas of the pitch.
'You have to be more aggressive away from home and that hasn't suited the players we have. At Derby we had players in the middle who could put their foot in.'
Defender Martin Olsson was suspended for that 1-0 Championship defeat at the Rams, but agreed a contract extension earlier this week.
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'Martin is a Swedish international left-back and when he is at the top of his game he is arguably the best in the Championship in that position,' said Neil.
'It is a good bit of business for us to retain his services. We have been negotiating with Martin for quite a while. It has not been an easy process but we got there in the end.
'None of our players will ever run out of contract unless we allow them to do so. We don't look a month before the transfer window opens and think, 'we should maybe sign him'.
'The planning is done well in advance but sometimes depending on the player, other interests or the agent it can take longer to complete.'