Ignore the hype is Alex Neil’s message to his Norwich City squad

Norwich City manager Alex Neil will leave the hype to others ahead of Saturday's Championship play-o

Norwich City manager Alex Neil will leave the hype to others ahead of Saturday's Championship play-off semi-final, second leg tie against Ipswich. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil is warning his players to forget the hype surrounding Norwich City's East Anglian promotion duel against Ipswich Town and focus on the Canaries' Wembley Championship play-off quest.

Blues' chief Mick McCarthy admitted after the 1-1 first leg draw at Portman Road it would be impossible to protect his players – short of cocooning them 'in the 'Big Brother' house or the jungle' - in a reference to reality television.

Neil, however, has no such fears his squad may get distracted from the job in hand ahead of Saturday's second leg return at Carrow Road.

'To be honest we are relatively sheltered from it. We don't read the press, certainly leading up to big games, because it is important they have a clear head and they are just focused on the task,' he said. 'That is not an issue. We don't get involved in the tit-for-tat.

'I would rather leave that for the fans. You saw two dedicated teams doing the very best for their clubs (at Ipswich) and you will see exactly the same thing again this week. 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 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.

Neil accepts Saturday's home tie is likely to be billed as the biggest derby ever in these parts.

'Probably, but I have had 22 big games since I came to the club. It snowballs for us,' he said. 'If we win, the next one becomes bigger, if you lose one, the next one becomes even bigger, so every game is a big game. This is now the biggest one of our season so far, and if we manage to get through it, then the next one will be the bigger.

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