There are few battles within Norwich City's squad that are as hotly contested as the race to be their starting goalkeeper. 

As the Championship season pauses for the World Cup break, Angus Gunn currently has the starting gloves - but that won't result in any complacency from the Canaries academy star. 

With experienced campaigner Tim Krul pushing behind him and head coach Dean Smith admitting there is little more than daylight between the pair, it's a race that will rumble on for the remainder of the campaign. 

Gunn's job is to prevent it from becoming an active debate, so far, he has managed to do just that due to the quality of his performances. 

Given it appeared likely that Krul may head off to the World Cup as part of the Netherlands squad, Gunn may have thought that a return to action post-break would offer him a natural chance for game time, but he has manufactured the opportunity prior to that point. 

When he arrived at Carrow Road in an initial £2.5m deal from Southampton last summer, Gunn was sold a vision where he would eventually become City's long-standing number one, an ambition he has sought for years. 

The boyhood Canaries fan has been forced to display patience for his big moment - it increasingly feels like this is the moment he could stride ahead of City's goalkeeping pack. 

He arrived at Norwich low on confidence and desperate to recover some form after injuries and loan moves elsewhere. Stability was nonexistent and prompted Gunn to look for the next step - it was the perfect time for Norwich who were searching for reinforcements after electing against extending Orjan Nyland's short-term stay. 

There was an acceptance that Krul had the shirt but a willingness to work hard for when the opportunity arrived. 

Despite some positive steps during last year's Premier League campaign, Gunn was unable to nail down that starting position with Krul favoured ahead of him. 

Gunn had to display more patience at the start of this season - with Krul once again being prefered by Smith. That was taken as a challenge by the 26-year-old, who knuckled down and focused on improving his own game. 

City's boss conceded at the time that experience was the deciding factor but individual errors quickly led to a decisive change between the sticks. It was the opportunity that Gunn has refused to let slip through his fingers. 

There was a fear held in some quarters that his opportunity may never arrive and that Gunn may explore other opportunities as a result. In truth, his thinking was always on making a success of his Carrow Road stint. 

Performances so far have been impressive. 

His performance data backs up the eye test - Gunn is helping Norwich stay in games or securing points at valuable moments. 

No shot-stopper in the league has higher post-shot expected goals minus goals allowed per 90 minutes. Gunn's statistic is 0.45 - with positive numbers indicating either a high amount of luck or impressive shot-stopping ability. 

A quick glance at some of the stops Gunn has produced will lead most to come to the conclusion it is the latter rather than the former. 

During his 10 games in between the sticks, Gunn has achieved a goals prevented rate of 2.7 - bettered by just three goalkeepers - Thomas Kaminski, John Ruddy and Lee Nicholls, all of who have played over 20 matches for their respective clubs, meaning City's keeper has the best goals prevented number per 90. 

Given how Norwich have struggled for defensive solidity during a difficult run in recent weeks, Gunn's presence has undeniably kept their goals conceded column down and almost singlehandedly won them points. 

The save to deny Oli McBurnie was perhaps the highlight stop, arriving in stoppage time during City's 2-2 draw with Sheffield United last month to ensure they left Yorkshire with a point. 

Gunn's arrival into the side has coincided with a tricky set of results - but that is not a reflection on his individual displays which have been a rare shining light at points. 

His ability to act as a sweeper once the ball gets in-behind City's backline is another useful trait, with Gunn recording 2.25 actions outside the area per 90, more than any other goalkeeper in the Championship. 

Those metrics suggest that, albeit in a slightly smaller sample, Gunn is performing better than most Championship goalkeepers in a variety of areas. 

His distribution allows Norwich to mix up their build-up from deeper positions. 

There is a need to improve his ability to claim crosses and ease defensive pressure with Gunn claiming just 2 of the 110 deliveries that have entered the box. 

The Pink Un: Angus Gunn is boasting impressive performance metrics. Angus Gunn is boasting impressive performance metrics. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited)

But the positives far outweigh that figure. Gunn is edging the battle for City's number one spot at present. 

He will undoubtedly view the second half of the season as a chance to establish himself further and sustain a real run of games. 

In doing so, he has no one better to push him every inch of the way than Krul - who has achieved so much during his successful stint with the club, becoming a fans favourite in the process. 

Gunn offers a natural piece of connection given his relationship with supporters and the weight of his name. But this current run of form is down to his own making rather than romanticism. 

At the moment, Gunn has the shirt and the debate is nonexistent. For as long as those elements remain the same, he will continue to lead the race.