Fit-again Norwich City duo Jonny Howson and Gary Hooper make their mark in 5-0 development league win over Leicester City
Jonny Howson made an influential return from knee injury in Norwich City's 5-0 development league win against Leicester City's Under-21s on Friday afternoon at Colney.
Howson set up Gary Hooper for the opener, with the striker also on the comeback trail after a calf injury, before another perfect throughball was despatched by Jamar Loza.
The Jamaican international completed his hat-trick after the interval with two left-footed strikes from just inside the Foxes' area before setting up Cameron McGeehan to complete the rout.
Summer signings Conor McGrandles and Ignasi Miquel also featured for the Canaries, with first team boss Neil Adams and his backroom staff interested spectators.
Howson and Hooper were withdrawn just after the hour mark and Howson admitted it was a relief to make his re-appearance after suffering knee ligament damage in the final friendly match of the club's summer tour against French outfit SC Bastia.
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'It's just nice to be back playing again,' he said. 'I had it last season when I was injured and it really is just a frustrating time so it's nice to be involved in competitive football again. When you have been out for a fair few weeks you take any game or any opportunity to get back on the pitch. I know the first team is doing extremely well and now, for me, it's about carrying this on. I've just played 60 minutes and it is up to the manager now. Hopefully the opportunity comes around sooner rather than later, but I know there are numerous players to come back into the side.'
Howson is looking for an injury-free spell after knee and back problems disrupted his progress over the past nine months following an impressive start to the last Premier League season.
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'The last six or nine months has been frustrating for me,' he said. 'I got in the side at the start of last season, felt I hit a good run of form and was doing okay, and then I had a few injuries that knocked me back. Touch wood, throughout my career I have been quite lucky. To have three longer term injuries by the age of 26 is not too bad.
'This latest one was something and nothing in pre-season. I felt a little tweak when I did it but really it was nothing I was too concerned about. That night it felt quite good, but it was more over the next two or three days when it was quite sore. Having gone through the back injury last season I was probably better prepared. Sometimes the ones with no contact or little contact end up worse. I don't think there is ever a good time to pick up an injury, but having got through pre-season and to do it in the second last game was difficult.'
• Norwich City: Killip; Awuah (Kelly 72), McFadden, Miquel, Toffolo; Howson (McGeehan 61), McGrandles; Hall-Johnson, Loza, Jacob Murphy; Hooper (King 61). Subs not used: Oxborough (GK), Eaton-Collins.
• Goals: Hooper (11), Loza (24, 78, 87), McGeehan (90)
• Leicester City (starting line up): Maddison, Pearson, Elder, McCourt, Sesay, Kennedy, Dodoo, Cain, Hopper, Panayiotou, Barmby.