Is it a case of ‘Here’s Jonny’ for City fans?

Jonny Howson - will he be back this weekend? Photo: PAUL CHESTERTON

Jonny Howson - will he be back this weekend? Photo: PAUL CHESTERTON - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Jonny Howson could be back in a Norwich City shirt this weekend – something that would most certainly warm the cockles on a winter's day.

Howson hasn't played for Norwich since October 1 and his appearance at City's pre-match press conference on Friday ahead of the Brentford game was something of a surprise – and a pleasant one at that – given the forecast was a New year return.

In 10 starts for City this season, Howson scored three goals from midfield. His driving runs into the danger areas are a huge feature of his game – and game-changers.

There is little doubt that, when fit, Howson is one of those 'first name on the teamsheet' players. His commitment to the cause is exemplary; his ability isn't really in question. His physical build belies his strength – and his eye for a goal in terrific.

Howson isn't just your average hard-working midfielder. Cast your minds back to May, 2013, at The Etihad Stadium. There wasn't much for Manchester City to play for, but at 2-2, in the 65th minute, Howson ran from the halfway line, left four light blue shirts in his wake and then slotted the ball past Joe Hart with the sort of finish of which Grant Holt would have been proud.

Whether Alex Neil risks Howson or not we will have to wait and see – but even the knowledge that he is close to a return will be a boost to everyone.