Norwich City’s shadow squad prove their worth to Alex Neil

Elliott Bennett impressed at right-back in Norwich City's 4-2 Championship win over Fulham. Picture

Elliott Bennett impressed at right-back in Norwich City's 4-2 Championship win over Fulham. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil was adamant Norwich City's 4-2 league stroll against Fulham proved a worthwhile exercise in his play-off preparations.

Elliott Bennett and Gary O'Neil both grabbed a rare chance to impress in the absences of Steven Whittaker (hamstring) and Alex Tettey (knee), with Cameron Jerome given a watching brief after carrying a minor niggle into the previous weekend's Rotherham draw.

Neil remains cautiously optmistic the trio will be back in contention for the start of Norwich's play-off quest, when he takes the Canaries to Portman Road for a semi-final, first leg showdown on Saturday.

'It wasn't precautionary. They just weren't capable of making the match,' said Neil. 'Cam came on at Rotherham but even then I took a bit of risk with him, whereas I didn't take any risks with Steven Whittaker and Alex Tettey. They weren't ready to be involved. I would like to think they will be in contention (for Ipswich). We just need to monitor them over the course of the week.

'I thought Elliott did great, the same with Gary O'Neil and Gary Hooper led the line well and made the first goal with his run.

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'I see them in training but I can assure you a 90-minute match is very different and I haven't had that opportunity to play some of the other players, without risking the game. If they were not ready or not quite up to it then it was potentially three points we could drop, which we couldn't afford to do, so some of the guys have been unfortunate in terms of game-time. It was difficult for me to find out what the players were capable of. I thought this match presented me with a great opportunity to put some of those lads in and see how they performed. To be fair they did well. I was really pleased with what I've seen.'

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