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Norwich City column: International break could prove important due to rest it afforded Josh Sargent as Canaries hunt Championship play-off place

It almost feels as though the international break came at an inopportune moment for Norwich City.

The Canaries had really started to build momentum in the race for the play-offs, with heavy victories against Rotherham United and Stoke City enough to lift the club into the top six for the first time since the early knockings of the season.

The challenge for David Wanger’s side is to continue where they left off, with Plymouth Argyle the visitors to Carrow Road in the first part of the Easter weekend double header, which also includes a trip to Leicester City.

Norwich City columnist Edward Seaman
Norwich City columnist Edward Seaman

One of the big positives of the two-week interlude was the chance to give Josh Sargent a prolonged rest.

While every player wants to represent their country, it was a sensible move for all parties to withdraw Josh from the USA squad given the amount of football he has played since his return from injury in December – and the fact he has been unable to complete a full week of training since then.

If Norwich are to finish in the top six – and ultimately go on to achieve promotion – it is vital to have the 24-year-old fit and firing on all cylinders. Without him, the improbable is probably impossible.

Josh’s record this season speaks for itself. He averages a goal every 91 minutes – an extraordinary record.

Beyond that is his significance to the team. In the 16 games Sargent has started this season, City have amassed 36 points (11 wins, three draws and two defeats). Never mind promotion, that is title-winning form.

By way of contrast, the 22 games he hasn’t started have yielded just 25 points (seven wins, 4 draws and 11 defeats).

But it’s not just Sargent who has benefited from the break. Shane Duffy is fit and ready for action – and his experience can prove vital over the next eight games.

Jonathan Rowe has also returned to the grass. It goes without saying, the sooner he is available, the better.

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