As big as it comes for Norwich City boss Alex Neil

Norwich City boss Alex Neil is ready for a defining moment in his managerial career. Picture: Denise

Norwich City boss Alex Neil is ready for a defining moment in his managerial career. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

'Just go and win the game' - those will be Alex Neil's final words before sending his Norwich City squad into battle against Ipswich Town.

The Scot aims to end the phoney war with a stirring parting shot prior to his players emerging into a raucous Carrow Road atmosphere in Saturday's Championship play-off semi-final, second leg tie against their old rivals.

City drew 1-1 in Suffolk last week to set up the East Anglian derby to end all derbies, with Wembley the prize.

'That is going to be my final message,' said Neil. 'Ultimately as a player, manager or coach these are the games you want to be involved in. There might be a few nerves but I don't think that is a bad thing. It shows the importance of the game and how much they want to succeed and move onto the next step.

'It only becomes an issue if it starts to affect your performance. You want to be part of these big days and you want to make sure you don't fall at the final hurdle.


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'We need to overcome this hurdle to make sure we get to the final and ultimately get to Wembley. We know exactly what's coming and we know exactly how we're going to go about trying to win the game. We're really determined, really focused, and now we just can't wait for it come.'

City's mammoth Championship play-off semi-final, second leg derby is a career-defining moment for Alex Neil.

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'Yes, I would say this is the biggest game I have been involved in,' he said. 'Hopefully if we win the final will become even bigger. It is one of those games where if you don't win then ultimately your season is finished. You could describe it as a cup final. I have played in a couple of finals, been promoted as a player and through the play-offs as a manager.

'I also went to Celtic Park and beat them but for me what has happened in the past should be left there. The next game is always the biggest of my career because you are always trying to prove yourself.'

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