Alex Neil promises Norwich City will be on the front foot at Ipswich

Norwich City fans have enjoyed recent East Anglian derby battles against Ipswich Town. Picture by Pa

Norwich City fans have enjoyed recent East Anglian derby battles against Ipswich Town. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil's Norwich City side will not take a backward step at Portman Road.

The Canaries' boss knows he has two derbies to plot a route past Ipswich Town and reach a Wembley Championship play-off final, but Neil is not interested in playing the long game ahead of Saturday's semi-final, first leg tie.

'I would never take a draw. We play to win. We never go into any game not looking to win the match,' he said. 'I don't think we would ever look to shut up shop against any team. We'll be focused on it as a 90 minute game and worry about the second leg afterwards.

'The last thing you want to do is throw caution to the wind but if I feel we need to force the issue or protect what we have that is something I will call at the time during the game. That is my job to sense the flow of the match. It depends on the momentum at the time but the boys have played in enough big games and we'll be ready.

'We know what is coming. It is about performance on the day and we will have done our homework. We are confident but we have to show complete focus.'


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City player-of-the-year Bradley Johnson has echoed his manager's call to arms as the visitors bid for a third consecutive win this season over Ipswich.

'You only have to walk around the city to realise what it means to the fans, but this is a clean slate now, anything can happen,' he said, 'People can decide for themselves whether the two previous wins have any bearing. We have put that to one side. Ipswich will be fired up and so will we.

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'You can't let the occasion get to you. Things can happen in the emotion of the game, especially if it is a hostile atmosphere, and we know a Mick McCarthy team will be hard to beat. They are a good side who deserve to be in the play-offs. We would have taken anyone. If we play to our full potential on any given day we can beat any team in this league.

'We just need to show the same attitude from earlier in the season when we went there with confidence, but knowing we have to work hard to earn the right to play our football.'

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