Gary O’Neil hopeful that international break will benefit Norwich City’s top-flight prospects

Gary ONeil of Norwich applauds the fans at the end of the Barclays Premier League victory over Swans

Gary ONeil of Norwich applauds the fans at the end of the Barclays Premier League victory over Swansea at Carrow Road, Norwich. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Experienced midfielder Gary O'Neil is hopeful that the current international break will benefit Norwich City's top-flight survival prospects.

The 32-year-old played a key part in the Canaries shaking off a four-match losing streak to beat Swansea City 1-0 at Carrow Road on Saturday.

He is now one of City's squad members who can stay in Norfolk and prepare for a return to action at reigning Premier League champions Chelsea.

'We've got a tough couple coming up and we've got a few people out with little niggles, so hopefully the break will help us to get a couple back,' O'Neil said.

'We're above them (Chelsea) in the league, so we're probably favourites going to the Bridge!


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'Then it's Arsenal at home the following week, so a tough couple of games but they're the ones you want to get promoted for.'

Among those injury worries is a thigh strain that saw winger Nathan Redmomd sit out the clash with Swansea and subsequently pull out of the England Under-21 squad.

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O'Neil is hoping that will mean the City players not on international duty will be allowed some recuperation time – having completed his first full top-flight match in over two years.

'It'll differ slightly,' the former Portsmouth and West Ham midfielder said of training during international breaks.

'Either the fitness coach will say we need to add a little more fitness, which is what we did in the last international break, but in this one I'm guessing there might be a little bit more down-time, we might take it slightly easier with so many games recently with the Capital One Cup as well.'

O'Neil feels that rest will be well-deserved for the Canaries squad as well, with the Swansea win following a late defeat at Manchester City and a penalty shoot-out loss at Everton in the Capital One Cup.

'It is easy, when you've had those four defeats on the trot, to get bogged down and realise how tough it is,' O'Neil continued, speaking to Talk Sport.

'But the boys stuck at it and we're very lucky to be in this league and playing with some great players and against some good players, so the boys are just trying to enjoy it as well as pick up points along the way.'

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