Norwich City chief Alex Neil seeks another winning hand against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth

Norwich boss Alex Neil and Bournemouth counterpart Eddie Howe are the two youngest Premier League managers. 

Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich boss Alex Neil and Bournemouth counterpart Eddie Howe are the two youngest Premier League managers. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Alex Neil and Eddie Howe may be poster boys for the Premier League’s new wave of managerial talent but the Scot aims to retain his upper hand in Saturday’s latest tussle.

Neil has won both his career meetings with the Bournemouth chief, although the Norwich City boss is an admirer of Howe’s work on the south-coast.

“If people want to portray it as a rivalry, I don’t see it that way,” said Neil. “I see a rivalry with every club in this league, because we are fighting against them all, not specifically me and Eddie Howe or my players and the Bournemouth lads. I don’t really know him that well. I had a brief conversation when Lewis (Grabban) was getting transferred and other than that we’ve only really spoken after the two games.

“He has done well. They deservedly got promotion last season, they play a good brand of football and the one thing he has in his favour is he has had that group together for the best part of three or four seasons. That always helps if you can build a bond and the team are familiar with everything he does in terms of his methods. We have our methods but it really depends on who plays well on the day. The game last season down there I wouldn’t say we were fortunate, but it was difficult.

“We had 10 for long spells, they played well and Cameron (Jerome) won it with a bit of magic. Then we performed well here this season at our place and we have to make sure we reach that level again.”

A swift reunion with Grabban may have dominated the build-up but Neil has no special plans in place to deal with Bournemouth’s expensively-purchased new strike force, with Grabban joined by Benik Afobe at the Cherries.

“Everybody is fully aware they have an owner who has vast amounts of money,” he said. “They have invested and worked extremely hard to get to the Premier League and now they are working hard to stay there and that is one of the methods. If they have the money, that is up to them.

“Lewis wasn’t contributing to what we were trying to do as a squad. To be honest he had his head turned, he didn’t want to be part of the team and with the money we got for him we felt it made perfect sense to let him go.

“We’ll need to see if he is playing first, Eddie has a decision to make.”

Neil is looking for the likes of Wes Hoolahan and fit-again midfielder Matt Jarvis to grab the headlines after their influential roles in Norwich’s 3-1 league win at Carrow Road. Jarvis made his first team comeback at Stoke, and Neil is ready to unleash the wideman.

“Matt is naturally fit,” said Neil. “There are some players who you come across, when regardless of how long they have been out for, they pick up the speed really quickly and Matt is blessed with natural fitness. As far as him being available for the game there won’t be any issues.

“He played well in that match and Wes was in fine form that day. He created two and scored one, and if we could have that sort of day down there that would be alright by me.”

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  • you were out thought Neil,time to rethink your team selections I think.

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    Saturday, January 16, 2016

  • It's a shame O'Neill's out. I can imagine him winding Grabban up until it comes to a head, with Seaside Chelsea reduced to 10 men for the last third. That's what happened the last time Grabban played v a former team I believe.

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    Saturday, January 16, 2016

  • We have the mental edge over these guys and will edge it by the odd goal, 2-1 city.

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    Saturday, January 16, 2016

  • Its the Lewis had his head turned and didnt want to be part of the team comment that sits uneasily with me .Surely that happened in the summer window ,so to prove a point we kept him in the squad until january and then let him go. That apart this game has away win written all over it, with NCFC taking the game by two clear goals.

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    Saturday, January 16, 2016

  • Wishful thinking, but being realistic, City will concede 1 goal at least and I can't see them scoring more than goal against this Bournemouth side, so 1-1 best result, but I suspect either a 2-0 or 3-0 to Bournemouth

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    Saturday, January 16, 2016

  • Three one City, we have a point to prove, it is hard to dislike Eddie Howe though don't you think?

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    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Saturday, January 16, 2016

  • Very cold in Bournemouth this morning but beautiful blue skies. Time for a walk on the beach before pre match beers. Good to be back. COYY

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    Saturday, January 16, 2016

  • I hope for a win but old players come back to score against you so I am going for a 1-2 defeat I hope I am wronge just being realistic .

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    City man

    Saturday, January 16, 2016

  • Brew, I'd classify myself as more Diophantine than gerontocrat, however descension is a term used in astronomy 'a section of sky when it descends below the horizon', which hopefully applies to the stoke debacle. Maybe today we'll be in the ascension, City to win 2-1.

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    Saturday, January 16, 2016

  • Good luck for today. They're all important but not to lose would be excellent indeed.

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    el dingo

    Saturday, January 16, 2016

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