CITY and Sheffield Wednesday played out a stalemate as competitive football returned to Carrow Road for the 2016-17 campaign.
Hopes were high for the Canaries following last weekend's stunning start to the season at Blackburn Rovers, but they found a well-organised Owls side a difficult proposition in the televised evening kick-off.
Neither team tested the other's goalkeeper in a first half that City started and finished the strongest, and too went closest to breaking the deadlock when Sam Hutchinson turned a cross just over his own goal via the crossbar.
Ahead of the second period both will have fancied their chances of coming out on top but City never hit quite hit top gear with injuries to Martin Olsson and John Ruddy not helping their cause, and in the end a draw was inevitable against a tough Wednesday outfit.
HOW THEY LINED UP
Despite having a few injury concerns leading into the match, Neil was forced into only one change from last Saturday's thumping win.
Jacob Murphy was ruled out through injury, but City were boosted by the return of Robbie Brady, who started on the left with Ireland compatriot Wes Hoolahan switched to the right.
Olsson and Jonny Howson overcame minor issues picked up at Ewood Park to start, while Russell Martin, Sergi Canos and youngster Carlton Morris were among the substitutes.
The visitors were missing key frontman Fernando Forestieri but former City man Gary Hooper started in attack.
Neil will have laid out his gameplan to overcome a Wednesday side who went so close to promotion last season, but Olsson's first half injury forced a rethink.
With Hoolahan and Brady given licence to roam in off the flanks, much of his side's planned width would have come through the marauding Ivo Pinto and Olsson behind.
Even though City ended the first 45 strongly, a slow start to the second period left their manager frustrated, with his players not reaching the creative heights that propelled them to victory on the opening weekend.
WHAT IT MEANS
Ultimately, it's a decent point for Norwich versus a team who many expect to be in the upper reaches of the division.
City's lack of attacking incision, however, will sharpen focus on their hunt for a new striker, with Neil reaffirming after the whistle that work is still being done behind the scenes to add to his front line.
At the other end of the pitch, Michael McGovern made an unexpected debut as a half-time substitute, and the Northern Ireland man pulled off one standout save to deny Barry Bannan and preserve his cleansheet.
After topping the table following the goal blitz last Saturday, City were placed in fourth in the Sky Bet Championship at the end of the day's action.
: Ruddy (McGovern 45); Pinto, Bennett, Klose, Olsson (Jo. Murphy 34); Howson (c), Tettey; Hoolahan, Naismith, Brady; Jerome (Mulumbu 73). Subs not used
: Martin, Bassong, Canos, Morris.
: Westwood; Lee, Abdi, Hooper (Fletcher 72), Lees (c), Joao (Nuhiu 85), Hutchinson, Hunt, Wallace (Buckley 81), Pudil, Bannan. Subs not used
: Wildsmith (GK), Palmer, Semedo, Vermijl.
: Andy Woolmer
City are quickly back in action in the Sky Bet Championship, with another home match against Bristol City on Tuesday night.
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