Gary O’Neil gets a swift chance for redemption at Norwich City

Norwich City midfielder Gary ONeil paid a high price for a crude challenge at Stoke City. Picture by

Norwich City midfielder Gary ONeil paid a high price for a crude challenge at Stoke City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Gary O'Neil's return from suspension could not be better timed with the loss of midfield enforcer Alex Tettey.

O'Neil was threatening to establish himself in Alex Neil's midfield before a rush of blood at Stoke, but Tettey's 10th booking of the campaign in the midweek 3-0 defeat against Tottenham could offer a swift chance for redemption on Saturday at Aston Villa.

'We would like to have both Alex and Gary available and that is where my frustration lies,' said Neil. 'I have had to do without Gary and now when he comes back and we are trying to get somewhere Alex is out for two games. It is easy to say in hindsight but Gary came into the team and had been involved in the win against Southampton and the famous win at Manchester United so his experience and his organisational skills is something we have sadly lacked.

'The disappointing aspect for me in striving to get a settled side is we then lost him for three games, Alex is now suspended for two, Robbie (Brady) and Graham (Dorrans) were not well during the week. It is tough to get that consistency when some of the players are not available.'

City's bumpy spell in January raised those inevitable concerns again over a lack of leadership when the Canaries' find themselves on the back foot.

'I think there are guys trying to lead,' said Neil.

'We have guys who are vocal, who want to win, who are determined and who will fight for the cause. There is no question about that. I think there are different types of leaders. There are those you can visibly see them stick their chest out, they are big, imposing characters on the pitch and others who lead by example by carrying out their task well.

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'You don't always get the same type but one can be just as effective as the other if they are doing their job properly and the rest can feed off them. We need to ensure we get as many of them on the pitch as we can.'