Alex Neil - History beckons for Norwich City’s squad

Norwich manager Alex Neil has challenged his players to carve their niche in the club's history. Pic

Norwich manager Alex Neil has challenged his players to carve their niche in the club's history. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil is backing his Norwich City players to write themselves into Canaries folklore by dumping Ipswich out of the Championship play-offs.

The City boss has laid it on the line just how big this weekend's semi-final, second leg is with a place at Wembley and a shot at the Premier League for the victors.

'I actually went down that route before the first leg when I told them there are only certain times in your life when you get this sort of opportunity,' said Neil. 'You want to make sure you grasp it. We did the first part by making sure it was level pegging going back to our place and now we have a job to do to ensure these lads here are part of Norwich folklore moving forward. We went to win (at Ipswich) so to concede a goal was disappointing at a crucial time in the game.

'However, looking at the bigger picture I was fully aware of Ipswich's home record and I think they have only lost three games there all season.

'It is the second best in the division, so it was always going to be a difficult task even before you add the enormity of what was at stake and the local rivalry.'

Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy insisted Norwich were now 'slight favourites' to progress after a 1-1 deadlock at Portman Road.

'I thought our boys coped well with a really intense game,' said Neil, speaking on Wednesday at Colney. 'There wasn't as much football played as a Norwich team would like and we hope to get the ball down and play at our pace a bit more and try to stamp our authority on the match.

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'You would have to ask them if they were happy with a draw.

'I know if I was the home team I wouldn't have been happy. We would have wanted to win the game. Hopefully we can perform to our maximum and if we do that we have a great opportunity of going through. I don't think it was that bad a result. We are certainly capable of playing better than we did.'