Jonny Howson completes Norwich City Reserves win over Wolves
Norwich City Res 3, Wolves Res 2: January signing Jonny Howson took a major step towards his Norwich City debut with 90 minutes of second string action at Colney on Tuesday afternoon.
The midfielder, who joined from Leeds United for a reported �2m at the turn of the year, has been out of action since the start of December with a knee injury.
But after completing his rehabilitation and returning to first team training last week, the 23-year-old made his first public appearance in a yellow shirt – going the distance in City's 3-2 second string win over a youthful Wolverhampton Wanderers.
And while gaining fitness was the clear aim of the afternoon, the slight-framed Howson still showed a composure and eagerness to break forward that is certain to add to Norwich's Premier League mix when his first team debut finally arrives.
His appearance was right on schedule, having been pencilled in for a March return before making the switch from Championship to top flight.
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Simon Lappin, skipper on the day, and Leon Barnett were the other senior players to get 90 minutes of action under their belts, while striker Aaron Wilbraham took in an hour before being withdrawn.
And it was Lappin's excellent free-kick that helped set City on their way late in the first half – Wolves keeper Aljaz Cotman parrying Wilbraham's header, leaving Matt Ball to dispatch the rebound.
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Howson came close to scoring himself, heading over from Richard Brindley's cross on the hour mark and curling another effort into the arms of Cotman late on.
He got a taste of several roles too, being handed the central berth of Norwich's midfield three in their 4-2-3-1 starting formation before a spell on the right and finishing the half at the tip of a midfield diamond. Howson finished the game in a holding role – and played his part in City seeing out what proved to be an superb last quarter of the game.
With 18 minutes remaining a Josh Dawkin through-ball sent Wilbraham's replacement Jamar Loza in on goal and the striker slipped the ball past Cotman to double City's lead, only for a combination of Barnett and substitute Harry Barker to send Zeli Ismail to the floor minutes later.
The Wolves youngster dusted himself down to put away the penalty with aplomb – but back came Norwich, taking just 60 seconds for Ball to side-step Michael Ihiekwe before rifling home an excellent effort low into the far corner.
The quality kept coming as lively Wanderers substitute Liam McAlinden made for a thrilling final� with a brilliant turn and shot inside Steer's far post.
But City – and notably Howson – stepped up their composure to see out the remaining minutes and secure only the second win for Norwich in the Premier Reserve League this season.
• Norwich: Steer, Brindley, Toffolo, Clunan (Murphy 72), McKenzie (Barker 84), Barnett, Ball, Howson, Wilbraham (Loza 62), Lappin, Dawkin. Subs not used: Wooton, Jones.
• Wolves: Cotman, Kostrna, Cranston, Harris, Ihiekwe, Bashford, Forde, Ismail, Spray (McAlinden 65), Price, Gorman. Subs not used: Whittal, Flatt, Iorfa, Kempton.