Battle of wills for Norwich City in Championship test at Brighton

Chris Hughton's final Norwich City game ended in a 1-0 Premier League defeat to West Brom in 2014. P

Chris Hughton's final Norwich City game ended in a 1-0 Premier League defeat to West Brom in 2014. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City's trip to Brighton is less a Championship promotion duel and more a battle of wills.

Alex Neil underlined the differing philosophies set to clash on the south-coast on Saturday in his assessment of a heavyweight assignment against Chris Hughton's squad.

'If you look at the figures they have conceded nine or 10 less than us but equally we have scored nine or ten more than them,' he said. 'The bottom line is there is one point between us so which is the best method? We know we have to improve the defensive focus but do you go and keep it tight and try to nick games or do you actually try to win? My approach is always to go and win a game and if it costs us a goal then I want us to score two or three.

'I am not saying that is always the right approach but that has what has got us this far. Ultimately we go to win, as they will. Our method versus their method and it comes down to the players and who performs.'

Neil is an admirer of Hughton the man as much as the manager.

'Chris is a really good coach. He knows how he wants his teams to play,' said the City boss. 'They are organised, they follow his instructions, and he has had success in the Championship. He did well in the Premier League and he is a nice man as well when you meet him and spend any time in his company.

'They are a strong side. They have a pattern of play they are used to, with two up front, and they are quite direct in their approach at times with (Sam) Baldock working off either (Tomer) Hemed or (Glenn) Murray. Behind them they have two inverted wingers in (Anthony) Knockaert and (Jiri) Skalak or (Jamie) Murphy on the other side. We know exactly what is coming but it is making sure we perform well on the day. We know it will be tough but equally we have players at the top end who have shown nearly every game they are capable of hurting teams.'

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