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Norwich City will not wilt in Premier League relegation scrap, pledges Alex Neil

John Ruddy has experienced both sides of the Premier League relegation battle at Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

John Ruddy has experienced both sides of the Premier League relegation battle at Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Norwich City will not crack under the pressure of a Premier League relegation tussle, insists Alex Neil.

The Scot can draw on the experiences of John Ruddy, Russell Martin, Wes Hoolahan and Jonny Howson who form the core of his squad which have been over this course and distance at Carrow Road before.

Norwich visit West Brom on Saturday looking for a first Premier League win since January 2 to move out of the relegation zone ahead of Sunday’s north-east derby meeting between rivals Newcastle and Sunderland.

Neil knows the Baggies occupy a unique place in the recent history from a previous successful survival mission.

“When Norwich finished 11th in the Premier League a few years ago they needed to beat West Brom in their second last game and they were sitting something like 17th or 18th at that stage,” he said. “That shows you how it can change. Whether they have been in this position or not, the lads have all been in similar situations. They are well-seasoned at playing under pressure. Last season was a different pressure to get up but they know what it is like to try and maintain your Premier League status. This is nothing new.

“We need to take the good performances, certainly Manchester City, Leicester, West Ham and Chelsea and turn them into results.

“I have not been through this as a manager myself but I have played in teams who were struggling at the bottom end of the table and had to fight their way out and we did.

“Football is not all good, or all bad. This is a test of character and when it goes well it is a lot more enjoyable and we can enjoy our work, but you also have to deal with the other side of the game.”

Neil predicts one of the strugglers will find the winning formula.

“This is an unpredictable time of the season,” he said. “There is always a team that strings wins together. Leicester did it, then Sunderland before them. There is always a surprise along the way and we have to make sure it is us, and put some wins together.”

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