Charity must begin at home for Norwich City boss Alex Neil
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City stalwart Malky Mackay can forget any sentiment as the current Canaries bid to emulate his achievement and earn a shot at the Premier League.
The Wigan boss was a cornerstone of the City squad which won the old Division One title in 2004, but Alex Neil is adamant Norwich's need is just as great as the struggling Latics, who head to Carrow Road on Wednesday nine points from safety.
'This is a really tough match, with Wigan fighting for their lives,' said Neil. 'They managed to beat Blackpool at the weekend, which will give them a bit of confidence, and at this stage of the season teams at the bottom can go on wee runs and pull themselves out of trouble.
'We have to make sure that doesn't start against us. Malky did extremely well when he was here and at Cardiff as well so he is more than capable of putting a good, competitive team together.
'We are in a good place. We are playing well, we have the momentum and we have deservedly won the last few games. We've got the basic ingredient, which is hard work, and I also have really intelligent players who take information on board and produce it on the field. Everybody has put a shift in and it's a collective effort, and I include the fans in that because you can sense they are giving us their backing.'
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Cameron Jerome has been declared fit after his late exit with a foot injury against Ipswich at the weekend but City will have to make at least one enforced change as Alex Tettey starts the first of a two-match ban.
'It's a big blow to lose Alex. I've gone on record to say in terms of his type of player he is relatively unique in my squad,' said Neil. But like any member of the squad we have more than enough options to come in and do a job. So far I think I have only named two consecutive starting line-ups and with the workload at present it is something I will look at but whether I freshen it up or not you'll have to see. Making sure you are picking the right combinations is all part of being a manager. Thankfully for me we have managed to get that right.'
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Neil insists any changes in personnel do not mean a different approach, with Wigan likely to try and frustrate the hosts.
'The way we play going forward doesn't change. It's really about starting positions within the game,' he said. 'When we got the ball against Ipswich the aim was to keep it, move it and have good movement high up the pitch and good options going forward. Regardless of whether we are playing a top side or one at the bottom of the league it shouldn't make any difference. It just means perhaps they have different strengths with the ball, but when we get it our style of play doesn't need to alter.'