Steven Naismith was a victim of Norwich City’s squad strength

Steven Naismith was not included in Norwich City's match squad for the win over Cardiff. Picture by

Steven Naismith was not included in Norwich City's match squad for the win over Cardiff. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Player reputations will count for little in Norwich City's pursuit of promotion back to the Premier League this season.

Steven Naismith was the latest player to find that out to his cost when being left out as City beat Cardiff 3-2 at Carrow Road.

The £8million January signing was strongly linked with a move to Sunderland ahead of transfer deadline day but Canaries boss Alex Neil says there has been no falling out.

'He was in the squad, like Sergi Canos, like Steven Whittaker, they were involved in the squad but unfortunately didn't make the 18,' Neil said of Naismith. 'The bottom line is I've got a real strong squad now, everybody's really back (from injury) and it's a case of I've got to leave three good players out of the matchday squad and unfortunately for those guys, it was them that time.'

Wigan head to Carrow Road tonight in City's next Championship clash but the match is likely to be too soon for recent signing Nelson Oliveira – with the striker having had little pre-season training at Benfica before signing – but he could make his debut against former club Nottingham Forest on Saturday.


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'Probably too soon for Nelson but he will be involved relatively quickly,' Neil added. 'I think this one's just maybe a tad too soon.'

Martin Olsson is ready to return from a hamstring problem and Robbie Brady may also shake off the hip problem that forced him off in the first half on Saturday.

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'Martin's fine,' Neil said. 'Martin got held back at the weekend because he'd only really trained about three days in the best part of five weeks, so we've managed to get a couple of sessions in his legs since then.

'So he's always been scheduled to come back for this game anyway.'

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