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Jonny Howson happy to keep Norwich City’s captain armband warm for the time being

PUBLISHED: 16:35 17 August 2016 | UPDATED: 16:43 17 August 2016

Jonny Howson celebrates scoring Norwich City's only goat against Bristol City with the man who teed him up, Wes Hoolahan. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Jonny Howson celebrates scoring Norwich City's only goat against Bristol City with the man who teed him up, Wes Hoolahan. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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Jonny Howson is happy to keep the captain’s armband warm for the time being – but doesn’t want to be left alone as the only leader on the pitch for Norwich City.

After a summer back injury halted Russell Martin’s competitive action before the season started, City boss Alex Neil turned to Howson to lead his troops into Championship battle.

And that seems set to continue for the big one on Sunday, when City take on the East Anglian Derby and Ipswich Town at Portman Road.

“It’s obviously something I feel very proud of, to captain the side in the absence of Russ,” said Howson. “It’s a nice honour to lead the side out, especially with the experienced players we’ve got here. I’m sure when Russ is back in he will be taking the armband back.

“OK I might be wearing the armband on Sunday but we’re all talking to each other and I’m sure the majority of us have played in derbies before.

“So we know what to expect and what’s coming up. We’ve got experienced lads all over the pitch and everyone is helping each other out at the minute.

“That’s the only way it should be and it’s what is going to take us forward.”

Howson could not stop smiling after he took advantage of another piece of Wes Hoolahan magic – the Irishman’s deft flick paving the way for Howson’s decisive strike.

That earned the Canaries their second win out of three opening Championship games as they slipped through the fingers of Bristol City at Carrow Road on Tuesday night. Alex Neil’s men are also still to concede at goal at home, after their best start to a season since 2002.

“It was an instinctive finish,” said Howson, as Norwich provided the best response possible to Saturday’s goalless draw with Sheffield Wednesday – who in turn lost 3-1 at Burton. It also teed up Sunday’s East Anglian derby a treat.

“Certainly when you’re in and around the box, you haven’t got the time to think sometimes and it’s a natural reaction.

“And that’s one of Wes’ major strengths. He’s sharp and clever around the box, and he’s just let it run through to me and it was a quick reaction more than anything.

“I didn’t say it straight away when I first came here because it was more about getting to know him, but I think he’s certainly possibly the best player I’ve played with – certainly when he’s on his game, and he’s on top of it at the minute.

“Some of the things he does in and around the attacking third, he comes up with things that top class players do.

“Two clean sheets at home is another positive to take and I think possibly, looking at it now and the way it was after that first game at Blackburn (a 4-1 win), people maybe just expected to roll up and do the same again no Saturday.

“That might have been why we got that (negative) reaction after the game.

“But we’ve got an experienced bunch. We know it’s part and parcel of the game and we’ve moved on. Yes Saturday could’ve been better, but we’ve now stayed unbeaten and got another clean sheet.”

Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey and Facebook @mbjourno

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