Wigan v Norwich preview: Canaries midfielder Jonny Howson admits 'this season will go down to the wire'

 

Norwich midfielder Jonny Howson has admitted that his time on the sidelines has only increased his appetite to be involved in the fight for Barclays Premier League survival.

Norwich go to relegation-threatened Wigan tomorrow six positions and seven points ahead of the league's 18th-placed side, yet midfielder Howson, confined to a role on the bench for periods of the current campaign, is aware that defeat could suck the Canaries into danger.

Howson said: "The season was always going to go down to the wire and if you start to look too far ahead you can get caught out.

"It is a big game with Wigan down there but we'll keep working hard and hopefully we'll be okay. You have to have the mentality that you will survive."

It is Howson's first full season at Carrow Road, having been signed from Leeds in January 2012 - and he has made 22 appearances from 30 league matches this season, eight of them as a substitute.

Howson said: "I would have loved to have played more games but it is about the team. If it was up to me I would be playing every single week but sometimes you learn from not playing.

"It makes you stronger as a player and when you get the chance you have got to take it or you will be back on the sidelines. Your job on the bench is to keep others on their toes."

It is no surprise that Howson's best work has come in tandem with midfielder Bradley Johnson, a team-mate he is familiar with from their days together at Elland Road.

They were impressive in the 1-1 draw against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last time out and while Howson has started the last four league matches he is aware that Alexander Tettey returned to training this week following a knee injury, putting pressure once more on his selection.

Howson is ready to accept the challenge.

"You want competition for places, then no-one can switch off," Howson said. "Being on the bench doesn't change your ability, it changes your mentality.

"You learn from your experience. I came here for competition and a better level of football and it has made me much hungrier as a player."

Howson also welcomes the £8.5million signing of striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon, although he admits the dressing room chatter has been more about the 24-year-old's name than his reputation for goals.

The Dutchman will join Norwich in July on a four-year deal and Howson said: "When you sign a top quality player you can look at it two ways - either 'That's my position gone' or 'I've got to up my game'.

"You want to work with the very best. We are encouraged more than anything, it makes you better as a player."

Goals have been scarce among manager Chris Hughton's side this season. They have scored 28 in 30 matches with only Stoke (27) and QPR (26) having a poorer record.

By contrast Wigan have struck 35 times in 29 matches and Hughton, who confirmed Lee Camp will start in goal with Mark Bunn suspended, is aware of the danger they pose as they attempt to launch yet another late-season rescue act.

Hughton said: "Wigan are on a good run. They have been in this position before and have probably played better this season than in other seasons.

"In the last two games we have seen an indication of what they can do. Against Everton (in the FA Cup quarter final) away was a good as you will see and they have got that character to get a last-minute winner against Newcastle.

"They have an excellent manager in Roberto Martinez, a very calm manager who is used to being in this position. You hope they don't have a good day."

PA

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?