Favourites? So what is new says Norwich City boss Alex Neil ahead of Ipswich play-off derbies
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Alex Neil insists it is not price tags or Norwich City's status as derby favourites that will decide the outcome of their Championship play-off semi-final against old rivals Ipswich.
Neil is used to rival managers highlighting the quality in his ranks, after Town chief Mick McCarthy pointed out the gulf in resources earlier in the week when he revealed his squad cost only £110,000 to put together.
The City chief is also no stranger to the expectancy levels ahead around the Canaries ahead of tomorrow's semi-final, first leg trip to Portman Road.
'There has not been a game I have had as Norwich manager when someone has not said that to me so, to be honest, it is par for the course,' he said. 'Every game we have played so far we have been favourites, we have the bigger squad, the better squad and so on. That is fine. At the end of the day, none of that matters. I hope everyone is right and I do have the best squad and that they go and perform. It doesn't concern me if people want to talk about our squad and how much it is supposed to have cost. If we win, then ultimately none of that matters. If we lose, then you might hear it talked about. What I have got is leaders in the group and I think that is going to be very important. That is something I encourage. It's not just how I want us to play but it is vital we get their views as well.'
Neil led Hamilton to play-off glory 12 months ago but the 33-year-old has stopped short of labelling City's derby battles as his biggest in management.
'It is difficult to say if these two games will be the biggest of my career so far,' he said. 'I guess if we had beaten Middlesbrough then that would have been the biggest of my career. When you are at a big club and playing for things, like we are, then they are all big games.
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'At the stage where I am at and this club, which is trying to get to the Premier League, all these games are huge, but these two in particular are big purely because of who you are playing against. We all know that these next two could determine how successful a season it has been and we don't want to let all that hard work we have put in go to waste.'
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