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

Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Sport
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice