Jacob Murphy feels Norwich City need points at Aston Villa to stand ‘any chance’ of a play-off place

Jacob Murphy fires in his 10th City goal of the season against Barnsley.
Picture: Paul Chesterton/F

Jacob Murphy fires in his 10th City goal of the season against Barnsley. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The importance of today's clash with Aston Villa is crystal clear for talented Norwich City winger Jacob Murphy.

Steve Bruce's side have won five of their last six games and are expected to be full of confidence when City arrive at Villa Park looking to close the five-point gap to the play-off places.

Defeat would leave the Canaries' chances of making the top six looking even more unlikely, with Murphy saying: 'I don't think it will make or break the season, this one particular game, but we know that we've got to go there and get a result to be in with any chance of the play-offs.'

The City academy product won his first England Under-21 caps during the international break but has returned fit and ready for a return to Championship action.

Ahead of the game the 22-year-old is taking heart from the 1-0 victory over Villa at Carrow Road back in December, when Nelson Oliveira scored the decisive goal.

'We know they're going to be up for it,' Murphy continued. 'We're two of the so-called bigger teams so it will be a big battle to get bragging rights over each other.

'We've already done the job when they came to our place so hopefully we can get it done again.'

The hosts are 11 points adrift of the play-offs with eight games remaining but are starting to see the benefits of the £25m Bruce spent in January, on players including midfielders Conor Hourihane and Henri Lansbury, as well as striker Scott Hogan.

'It will be massive, they're in good form themselves,' Murphy said. 'They've picked up a lot of points and a lot of wins of late so we know it's going to be a tough game but the boys will be confident. It's a nice pitch, a nice stadium, a good game to go and play football in so hopefully we can get the three points.'

The speedster scored his 10th goal of the campaign in City's 2-0 home victory over Barnsley ahead of the break, during which he clocked up his 40th appearance of the season. Murphy says he still has targets to meet – although he is keeping them under wraps.

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'I'm always setting targets, even when I've hit them,' he added, speaking to City's official website.

'I've hit my goal target and straight away I've already set a new one, for targets for the end of the season, so hopefully I can hit them.'

• Click here for all the latest Norwich City news and views ahead of today's match

• Follow David Freezer on Twitter @davefreezer or on Facebook @DavidFreezer1

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