Alex Neil warns Norwich City to brace for an Ipswich Town backlash

Alex Neil and Mick McCarthy go head-to-head again on Sunday. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images L

Alex Neil and Mick McCarthy go head-to-head again on Sunday. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil had no idea Norwich City's hex over rivals Ipswich Town dates back to 2009 but the Scot will not be caught out by the ferocity of the Blues' backlash at Portman Road.

Neil and his troops are well aware Mick McCarthy's side is desperate to set the record straight, ahead of Sunday's first meeting between the two since Norwich's play-off semi-final aggregate success 15 months ago.

'I didn't know it was that long and I don't think it is a great statistic but it is one we want to make sure continues,' he said. 'For it to be that long tells you something, albeit the clubs have been in different divisions at various stages. I would expect them to try and make it a hostile atmosphere and to whip up that intensity.

'They would be well within their rights, and I would be doing that as well if I was them. It is going to be noisy, loud, they will try to put you off your stride and we have to rise above that.

'If you are them you know this run will end some day, but we have to make sure we match all that willingness and endeavour to do well, because if you don't you get caught out.'

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Neil has emerged the right side of the result over the past three meetings, culminating in two tense play-off battles.

'It feels like a lifetime ago, that second leg game to be honest,' he said. 'We had a good record leading up to it against them since I had come in but the play-offs, in particular, carried an extra burden because of Wembley and what was at stake. It was a nervy affair and over the two games we deservedly went through to the final. They were hard tests. In these type of affairs it can be a bit of quality or a mistake or basically who performs on the day that makes the difference.'

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