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'Anyone with two eyes has worked that out' - City star on first-team absence what's next for Canaries

PUBLISHED: 22:24 14 March 2018 | UPDATED: 22:24 14 March 2018

James Husband flies down the wing on his return to Norwich City action, as they claw back a point off Barnsley at Oakwell. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

James Husband flies down the wing on his return to Norwich City action, as they claw back a point off Barnsley at Oakwell. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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James Husband hopes supporters don't underestimate how tough it was for Norwich City's returning players this week.

The left-back was among a handful given a rare start for their rearranged Championship draw at relegation-haunted Barnsley, mostly due to a Canaries casualty list growing by the match.

How many will continue to feature when Daniel Farke’s side host Reading on Saturday ahead of the first international break of 2018, remains to be seen.

But with the Tykes – without a home league win since November – pegged back by Norwich despite taking the lead just before half-time, Husband believes City could take credit from their second-half Oakwell efforts.

“It’s not easy,” said Husband, who teed up Josh Murphy’s 71st-minute equaliser. “People probably underestimate how hard it is to not play for a few months and then come into a game of that importance, for them especially.

“First half we felt our way in and we weren’t brilliant. We know that. But the change of system in the second half and the way we played, probably helped my attributes thrive.

“We’ve only been beaten twice in the last 14 league games, so it’s hard for us to get back into the team. And when we get given a chance, we’ve got to take it as much as possible.

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“The boss has drilled it into us so that pretty much any of us can play in most positions. We understand the tactical reasons around certain formations, and in the second half it paid dividends.

“Saturday at Hull was a rare time when we thought we’re doing all right going forward – and then we were a bit lazy defensively. So we had a meeting and looked at it, and I thought we were more solid here and especially, we were much more free-flowing going forward.

“It’s tough for Marley (Watkins) as he’s not played much for a while. It’s tough for Mario (Vrancic). It’s tough for everyone who’s not played – but I thought the performances were good here.

“For me, it’s been a long time coming to get an assist. I’ve not played in a while so it was nice just to get back out there and help the team really.”

Husband’s absence has in part been due to the rise of Jamal Lewis, who has enjoyed a promising breakthrough season after recovering from his pre-season knee injury – including his first call-up for the senior Northern Ireland squad this coming international break.

Whether Husband or Lewis gets the nod at Carrow Road on Saturday, it will be a familiar proposition that stands in the way of Farke’s squad on home soil.

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“I think teams have almost said to themselves right, we’ll go to Carrow Road and let Norwich come on to us,” said Husband.

“I think anyone with two eyes that work has worked that out. So we’ve now got to find a formula to beat that and get through it.

“Again, it will be two footballing sides on Saturday. I don’t think Reading will park the bus, which some teams have done this year – and it’s harder to break that down than it can be against flowing teams. So it’ll be a good football game on Saturday.

“I had been struggling a little bit with injury, but Jamal has been brilliant. I can’t praise the kid enough.

“He’s a 19-year-old and he’s come straight into playing in the Championship. People have underestimated how hard it is, and he’s been terrific.

“He’s had a bit of a rest here and I’ve been ready for a while, so I enjoyed it.”

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

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