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Christmas came early for Alex at the weekend - now he aims to share the feeling

Alex Pritchard made his Norwich City comeback against Preston North End at Carrow Road - and now plans to make up for lost time. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Alex Pritchard made his Norwich City comeback against Preston North End at Carrow Road - and now plans to make up for lost time. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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Christmas came early for Alex Pritchard this weekend - and he has already set his eyes on improving Norwich City's Championship fortunes.

On an afternoon at Carrow Road that at times bordered on bizarre, Pritchard was the shining positive from the Canaries’ 1-1 draw with Alex Neil’s Preston.

And although it was decided against giving the forward more minutes of action on Sunday for City’s development squad, there was no hiding what good news Pritchard’s return signals.

“It was very good to be back,” said Pritchard. “I was obviously biting at the bit to get back out there, and it’s an early Christmas present for me.

“When I played 45 minutes for the Under-23s last week I was telling them come on, let me play more, I feel good but you can’t risk it.

Alex Pritchard gets off the Norwich City team coach, before going on to make his Canaries comeback as a substitute, in the 1-1 draw with Preston North End at Carrow Road.  Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesAlex Pritchard gets off the Norwich City team coach, before going on to make his Canaries comeback as a substitute, in the 1-1 draw with Preston North End at Carrow Road. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

“The injury was hard to take but at the end of the day it’s just football. Stuff like this happens to everyone in football, so you’ve just got to pick yourself up and go again.

“I’ve come back from it before (injuring the same ankle at Tottenham) and I’ll come back from it again. Hopefully I have now.”

MORE: Watch all our videos from Carrow Road as Norwich City are held by Alex Neil’s Preston

City fans will echo those sentiments as their side’s season stagnates, with Pritchard sidelined since his injury early in pre-season.

Alex Pritchard got only limited game time during Norwich City's pre-season, before an ankle injury sidelined him for four months - until his comeback against Preston North End at Carrow Road. 
Picture: Lorraine O'Sullivan/Focus ImagesAlex Pritchard got only limited game time during Norwich City's pre-season, before an ankle injury sidelined him for four months - until his comeback against Preston North End at Carrow Road. Picture: Lorraine O'Sullivan/Focus Images

But with four months’ recovery completed, including a recent trip to Los Angeles, Pritchard is in a good place.

“After a while you’re watching too much football and you’re really, really getting fed up,” said Pritchard of his absence. “But it’s just trying to get back out on that pitch as quick as possible. That’s what drives you.

“LA was fitness. I had done my rehab by then and it was purely for fitness and strength work. It was just somewhere different instead of being here for three months or whatever it was.

“I asked the question can I do this, and it was OK. It clears your mind, gets you out of the bubble and you don’t have to focus on too many things. It was nice – but it’s back to reality now.”

That reality is a six-game winless run in the Championship following Saturday’s draw, leaving City 14th in the table and not much closer to the top six as they are the bottom three.

MORE: Tell us your man of the match as Norwich City have to settle for a draw at home to Preston North End

Pritchard added: “It’s difficult – and then you’ve got to go to Cardiff away, and that’s not going to be the easiest. You know what it’s going to be when we go up there.

“But we’ve got to play to our strengths. We’ve got good footballers in this team. We need to play football, we need to press high, we need to get on the ball.

“We went ahead here and then I think we dropped off a little bit. Why? Just keep going, get at the ball, press them, stuff like that.

“These things happen but we need to get out of it very quickly because you see the pack of this Championship, it gets away from you and it’s really hard to catch up.

“We’ve got to stick with it and hopefully we can get some wins under our belt and catch them up. We can’t get too downhearted but we do need to get out of it quickly.

“We’ve got the wins away from home – Middlesbrough, Sheffield United – so we can do it and we’ve got to do it at Cardiff. We’ve got to go again on Friday and we need to get three points.”

For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…

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