Gloves are off for Norwich City’s derby decider against Ipswich

Norwich City midfielder Jonny Howson broke the deadlock at Ipswich in the first leg. Picture: Paul C

Norwich City midfielder Jonny Howson broke the deadlock at Ipswich in the first leg. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil is convinced Ipswich Town will come to mix it in a Championship play-off semi-final, second leg of epic proportions.

Norwich's squad have routinely faced obdurate opponents on home soil over these last nine months, but the Scot does not expect Mick McCarthy's men to follow suit.

'I would be really surprised if they sit in. I don't think they have played in that style in any game I have watched them this season,' said Neil. 'I don't think it is in their nature or Mick's. He is an on the front foot type of manager who wants his teams to get in your face and upset you.

'I would be surprised if they adopted a different style and it would be a gamble for them because if your players are used to playing in a certain way then it is difficult in a week to change that. They will try to nullify what we are good at but that is the same as us. We know each others strengths and weaknesses.'

McCarthy claimed Norwich were now 'slight favourites' after last weekend's 1-1 first leg draw after pounding away at the Canaries in a derby Neil was determined not to lose.


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'I just think the magnitude of that game, and how we set-up, which was a conscious decision from me and I stick by that, was the right thing to do,' he said. 'The last thing you want to do is go behind and chase your tail coming home in games like these. The game went exactly how I felt it would go and that was reflected in my team selection. If we not had a sloppy moment on their goal we would have won the game.

'It is a two-legged affair, you have to look at the bigger picture as a manager and put everything in context. I was aware of their home record and every game they had lost this season was by a single goal. For anyone thinking we would turn up and roll them over three or four it was never going to happen.

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'The goal we scored was really important for us and although we let them back in, we were relatively happy - now it's a 90 minute match at our place, a winners-take-all decider.'

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