Alex Neil - Norwich City must be fearless to sink Middlesbrough

Norwich manager Alex Neil knows Ipswich will test his side at Portman Road. Picture by Paul Chestert

Norwich manager Alex Neil knows Ipswich will test his side at Portman Road. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil admits he is counting the hours to a titanic Championship promotion shoot-out with title rivals Middlesbrough at Carrow Road.

The Canaries return to home soil on Friday after vital league wins at Bolton and Leeds underlined Neil's men are desperate to clinch a Premier League return over the run-in.

Neil insists City will not be found wanting with the stakes so high now ahead of the Teessiders' televised test to Norfolk.

'I said it five or six weeks ago it is a snowball effect. Each game gets better, but it won't get much bigger than this one,' he said. 'We need to make sure the place is absolutely rocking. Mentally it is tough to keeping going, but we are well up for the challenge. We are enjoying putting ourselves under pressure and having to win games. That is what you are in football to do.

'It is not one simple thing that will get us across the line now. It is a combination of cool heads, having the quality when it's required and not being scared of the occasion. That is why it is such a hard task.'

City's celebrations on and off the pitch after Graham Dorrans' stoppage-time strike sunk Leeds at Elland Road in midweek was just the latest stop on a rollercoaster ride.

'We've worked so hard to get here. It has been difficult, not easy, and we are still continuing to work hard and you could see what it meant,' said Neil. 'That could be a massive moment. Looking at Bolton and Leeds they were two extremely hard venues and the fact we picked up six points says a huge amount about the character in my squad.

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'Emotionally as much as anything, this period can be draining for players and fans. With 10 games to go, I wanted to win all 10 so I am not going to say anything different now. We know if we win our games we'll be promoted.'