Any Norwich City fans scouting for areas that need strengthening this window will not have to search for long.

In a squad increasingly impressive under David Wagner’s leadership, one hole is growing larger and more obvious as January wears on.

Reports of interest from Birmingham City and Coventry in Danel Sinani will have alarmed a number of those supporters, after numerous creative attackers have already departed this season.

Tony Springett, an inexperienced option but one who added depth and had impressed in the Premier League previously against Leicester and West Ham, joined League One Derby County on loan midway though the window.

That was followed by Wagner’s confirmation that Todd Cantwell was not in his plans and subsequently a low-cost move to Glasgow Rangers. The 24-year-old’s form for being crowbarred into a Dean Smith midfield may have distracted from his best performances in yellow and green, but his staggering 2019-20 burst came from a wide role similar to the one the German asks his wingers to play.

Go back further and there’s the temporary loss of nearly £20million worth of wingers this summer, decisions that with hindsight are puzzling. Neither Christos Tzolis nor Milot Rashica were either happy or in form when they left Carrow Road on loan, but there was certainly a sense that their talent could prevail in a weak-looking Championship.

That the club sees potential in the futures of both in NR1 shows that there’s still belief in the 2021 arrivals’ abilities, so why they were allowed to exit an area already thin on the ground is a question that has been and will continue to be asked.

Worsening the problem is the lack of diversity amongst those wingers remaining in the building. Both Onel Hernandez and Kieran Dowell prefer to cut in from their usual flanks, and the latter’s athletic profile is not one of a player capable of driving to the byline and crossing.

Apologists of this squad makeup would suggest, however, that this is a positive, with those catering to Wagner’s needs included and anybody who doesn’t fit the system dispatched with. The Canaries’ history with ‘plan B’ signings is not a glittering one, after all, as illustrated by Jordan Hugill’s four league goals in 30 months at Carrow Road.

Hernandez and Dowell’s tendencies to cut in, as well as Sinani’s if he remains at the club, suit Wagner’s preference for advanced full-backs perfectly, and Daniel Farke’s carefully assembled side displayed the virtues of system-fitting players over Smith’s mismatched collage of charges.

The Pink Un: Kieran Dowell has impressed from the right wing under David Wagner.Kieran Dowell has impressed from the right wing under David Wagner. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

Another positive is the return of Jonathan Rowe to first-team contention, which is expected before long after original forecasts of an ankle injury that would keep him out until April.

The 20-year-old is understood to be close to team training, with City’s next competitive fixture still more than a week away. He’s seen as a potentially key part of the attacking solution for the rest of the season, and any sanctioning of Sinani’s departure would come with consideration of Rowe’s fitness status.

But the sheer lack of numbers in that department will remain a worry until the end of the campaign, even if revived Canaries careers for Tzolis and Rashica could ease the burden in the summer.

Przemyslaw Placheta’s return may have provided more comfort had it not been with the caveat of an undiagnosed shin issue which loan side Birmingham couldn’t work out. Even with Rowe’s potential return, the creative subsection looks significantly stretched in comparison with the strong Championship depth elsewhere.

In the longer term there are positives to cling onto, but with the importance of promotion this season clear to all, it’s no wonder fans are looking for marginal gains.

That’s why they’ll keep an eager eye on the flank department as the transfer deadline draws closer, and why they’re hoping for one more promotion chaser to put their faith in.