No slip-ups for Norwich City to gatecrash the Championship promotion race

Jacob Murphy enjoyed his international break with England. Picture: PAUL CHESTERTON

Jacob Murphy enjoyed his international break with England. Picture: PAUL CHESTERTON - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City's interim boss Alan Irvine warns one slip now could blow the Canaries' Championship play-off bid.

City head to Aston Villa on Saturday five points adrift of sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday, but with five of the top seven still to play.

Irvine, who confirmed on Friday he will remain in temporary charge until after Reading's visit to Carrow Road next weekend, knows Norwich must end a wretched winless spell against sides in the top 10.

'It depends what other teams do as well but certainly we have to make sure we don't have too many slip ups between now and the end of the season if we want to get into those play-offs,' he said. 'We are in a position where we have managed to get closer than before the last series of games. Hopefully after this weekend we will be closer still, although it could well be we end up a little further away again. We have seven games in April and any team who go on a good run now will considerably improve their position in the table, whether that is a team down towards the bottom, the middle or a team like us striving to get into the play-offs. If the sides above us have a good run then it makes things more difficult, maybe impossible.

'We have to change that record (against the top 10). Clearly it is one of the things that gets mentioned when we talk as a group. It is something I am happy to mention and keep on mentioning. We have to turn that around and end that statistic. If we have the same record going into these remaining games then we won't get to where we want to be.'

Irvine and the majority of his Norwich squad had the international break to gear up for the final league push but City starlet Jacob Murphy impressed in two landmark appearances for England's Young Lions.

'Great for him and it shows the quality they have to choose from that he has not been in and around it until now,' said Irvine. 'He obviously performed well. He got a nice message from Aidy (Boothroyd) to say he was really pleased with him, both in the games and the training. It is important to speak to them when they do come back because they have such a high and they can go into a low or they can continue on that high. Jacob was certainly buzzing when he came back and I am hoping that enables him to kick on.'

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