Can Norwich City turn it around against Championship pass masters Reading?

Cameron Jerome was part of the Canaries team beaten 2-1 at Reading two years ago could he return to

Cameron Jerome was part of the Canaries team beaten 2-1 at Reading two years ago could he return to the starting line-up today? Picture: PAUL CHESTERTON - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

For much of this season Norwich City have been expected to dominate possession after returning to the Championship battleground.

During the campaign's early throes that proved to be the case but as City's form has fallen away in the past two months, their supposed Premier League quality has failed to prove dominant.

However, this afternoon against in-form Reading the boot could well be on the other foot.

The Royals are in the midst of a Dutch revolution under Jaap Stam which sees them top the league's possession rankings.

They have averaged 58.5 per cent of possession in their matches so far this season to sit ahead of Fulham and Huddersfield as the best ball retainers in the division.

Norwich sit sixth in those rankings with an average of 51.6pc but will be under little expectation to dominate proceedings against the third-placed Royals today.

Leicester City proved that possession was susceptible to counter-attacking football and high pressure on their way to their superb Premier League title win last season and City boss Alex Neil appears to be a relishing a different challenge for his side.

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'There's two different approaches,' the Scot said when asked about Reading's style. 'There's sitting into your shape and then hitting on the counter attack or you can get up and get after them and try to pressurise them in areas where they're going to become uncomfortable, and then maybe try and dominate possession ourselves. So obviously we've got a plan of action that we're going to take out but I don't want to give too much away.'

He added: 'We need to go and play well first and foremost. We need to put a performance in and hope the result will follow.'

The importance of getting a result at the Madejski, followed by a trip to Brentford on New Year's Eve, is not lost on Neil however.

Canaries supporters made clear their frustrations after last week's 2-1 home loss to Huddersfield saw Neil's team slip to their seventh defeat in nine games and to 10th in the table.

'We've got a big game coming up and we need to turn results around, and it doesn't come any bigger than going to Reading because they've done well this year,' he said.

'It's going to be a tough test for us but we're well up for the challenge.

'The players have trained well but as we all know, what happens Monday to Friday doesn't really matter come Saturday so we need to make sure that we replicate what we've been doing in training in the game.'

With no fresh injury worries Neil has an embarrassment of riches to pick from, with some supporters frustrated to see the likes of Wes Hoolahan and Alex Pritchard unused in recent weeks.

He was keeping his cards close to his chest when asked if that due could be key players in upcoming games though, simply saying: 'They could be but we'll pick the team for the game and we'll see who's in the starting line-up.'

Neil was keen to stress that he is not dwelling on his team's recent disappointments though – and he has asked his players to take the same approach.

'I don't think you can ever look back and that's whether you win or lose or draw, it doesn't make any difference,' He continued.

'Because when we were on a good run, we didn't really pay attention to the seven games that we had won, we were paying attention to the next one because the thing in football is the next game is the most important one.

'The simple fact is once a game is done and dusted people will say what they have to say about it over a 24-hour or 48-hour period and then attentions turn to the next one because that's three points, that's all it is, the next one is the next three points you need to get.'