Jonny Howson is out to make up for lost time at Norwich City
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Jonny Howson is back and desperate to help haul Norwich City out of a Championship slump.
The influential midfielder has returned ahead of schedule from ankle surgery to boost Alex Neil's squad ahead of Saturday's latest home test against Brentford.
Howson's absence has coincided with a five-game losing stretch in the league and an EFL Cup exit at old club Leeds, but the 28-year-old is ready to answer his manager's call.
'When you enjoy doing something in life and it is taken away from you of course you miss it,' he said. 'Obviously there is more to life than football, I have a young family and they keep you occupied and busy. Ask any player when you are out injured it is tough.
'When the team is struggling as well to pick up results you want to get back even quicker to help. I have trained this week. Everything has been fine, no problems. I'm in a place where I feel I am okay to get back involved. The manager has to decide when I am ready to play.
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'The way I am, if you had asked me two or three weeks ago I would have said I will give it my best shot.
'At first I thought I would be out longer. I had the operation six weeks ago on Thursday. If it went well I hoped we could push it and speed things up. I had some floating bone in the ankle for the majority of the season and it wasn't getting any better, so we had to get it operated on, which was disappointing.'
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Howson's stock has risen sharply in the recent decline but last season's player-of-the-year is adamant Norwich's slide is far more complex.
'When things start to go wrong people might look for reasons but I wouldn't say it was a case of me being out of the side. We have a terrific squad,' he said. 'It is nice to feel you have been missed but, in a strange way that only makes things worse because when you are injured you want to get back for yourself, but when the results are not great there is an extra sense of wanting to get back to help the lads.
'In my position, we have had Graham Dorrans suspended, Louis Thompson got in the side and then got injured so we have been a bit restricted for numbers in that area of the pitch.
'In this league sometimes you just have to have that mentality of knowing how to win a game when you are not playing well. It is hard to pinpoint it to one thing because you would sort it out there and then. I had the chance to watch the games at home. You just have to keep working hard, dig in and it will turn for us.'
Howson dismisses any notion Norwich's hopes of automatic promotion have disappeared after slipping well behind the likes of Newcastle and Brighton.
'No, we are not even at Christmas yet and if we can have a dip any team can in this league,' he said. 'There is a long way to go yet. You can't make judgements until it is the end of the season. The belief is still there. Without that you might as well not bother. I see these lads on the training pitch every day and that has not gone.
'Confidence takes a hit when you are not performing as well as you can. We all have that passion and hunger to do well.'