Jonny Howson is the midfield addition of note for Norwich City

Norwich City midfielder Jonny Howson is back in the mix after suspension for Blackpool's Championshi

Norwich City midfielder Jonny Howson is back in the mix after suspension for Blackpool's Championship visit. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

In a week dominated by Norwich's pursuit of new midfielders, Jonny Howson's return could not be better timed for Alex Neil.

Tony Andreu completed his transfer move on a deadline day when City were frustrated in their pursuit of the likes of Graham Dorrans and Craig Noone to supplement an area of Neil's squad which has had to cope with the injury absences of Alex Tettey, Gary O'Neil and Vadis Ofoe since he arrived in Norfolk.

Neil's first match at Bournemouth was notable for a stirring win that came at the cost of losing Howson for three games following his red card and failed FA appeal. But the Scot knows he has a gem in his ranks.

'It is great to have him back. It is a big boost to the squad and I am hoping he will prove his worth between now and the end of the season,' said Neil. 'Jonny is a bit of an all-rounder, he has the legs, he can get a goal and he can pass the ball. He is a good player and watching him in training you can see that and everyone knows the difficulties we have had in the middle of the park.'

O'Neil (toe) remains sidelined this weekend and Elliott Bennett (hamstring) is a major doubt.


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'He has a tight hamstring at present. We will make a last minute decision on him so you would have to say he is doubtful,' said Neil. 'It's not looking good. He has not done much training. He felt fine after Birmingham but just as the week progressed it has got a wee bit worse. Gary is not quite right. He fractured the toe and we are waiting for him to be pain-free so he can start running again.'

Ryan Bennett (hamstring) is definitely ruled out for Blackpool's visit and Vadis Ofoe will not be considered after his 60-minute outing against Chicago Fire in a practice match at Colney on Thursday.

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Neil also revealed on Friday top scorer Cameron Jerome is still troubled by the hamstring problem that limited his involvement against his old club Birmingham last weekend.

'It is on-going and we need to make sure we monitor it as best as we can,' said Neil. 'He had not trained all week leading up to the (Birmingham) game and he still felt a wee bit of fatigue in it. He felt he was okay to be involved so that was little bit disappointing to feel it during the game and he has not trained a great deal either this week.

'Ryan is still not quite there. He has done some running, fine, but with hamstrings it is a gradual process of building it back up. It is one of those injuries if you come straight back in the likelihood is it will go again so we have to bed him back in. Vadis got 60 minutes on Thursday against Chicago Fire just to update his minutes on the pitch as much as we can.'

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