Contract talks on hold for Norwich City midfielder Gary O’Neil
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Gary O'Neil believes the next four games will determine how good his two years at Norwich City have been – whether it ends there or not.
The midfielder will reach the age of 33 three days after the Canaries complete their Premier League campaign at Everton.
By then Alex Neil will know whether he's planning for another year in the top-flight, or a second stab at Championship promotion.
O'Neil is out of contract come the summer and has already been linked with Aston Villa, who know they have a second-tier campaign on their hands next term.
'I've not really thought about my future,' admitted O'Neil.
'The relegation battle is all-consuming at the minute. The club haven't mentioned anything to me, and I don't mind that.
'I understand how it works. When you get to my age, it happens every year. I had it at QPR and West Ham. It's just the way it goes.
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'But I'll be fully commit-ted to the next four games and do everything I can so Norwich are in the Premier League next year, whether I'm here or not.
'It's been great, I've had a great two years – although these next four games will probably decide how great it is,' smiled O'Neil.
'Obviously last season was fantastic to go up and this year would be just as good to stay up. So if the next four games go well, itwill have been a fantastic two years.'
O'Neil has been a lucky charm for Championship sides in recent seasons, winning promotion with his last three clubs including
City. But the battle facing him now is a much more brutal affair.
He said: 'These are a lot tougher because you've been losing. That's why you're down there. When you are fighting for promotion, you're winning and one of the best teams. If you play well, generally you'll win.
'I remember at West Ham, Mark Noble got a bad injury and Sam (Allardyce) threw me in with 15 games to go, and we were in the bottom three. But we managed to go on a good run and finish much higher.
'At Portsmouth we had a few of these battles. We had a great escape where we were miles adrift and picked up that momentum.
'These are tough mentally. I don't know what the fans think but when I go home after results like Saturday, it's not all rosy, the game's done, life's great and sit playing with the kids. It bothers me as much as it bothers them, I can assure them. It ruins my week.
'This league is ruthless. We could go to the Emirates on Saturday, play as well as we can and still not be any where near enough if they are on their game.
'But this is the situation we find ourselves in and the lads will give it everything.'