Norwich City are well positioned for another attempt at Championship play-off glory

Alex Neil has tasted play-off glory at Wembley before and could yet do so again this season.
Pictur

Alex Neil has tasted play-off glory at Wembley before and could yet do so again this season. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Drawing at struggling Wigan may have been frustrating but Norwich City are now in the same position to push for promotion as they were two years ago.

The Canaries are in seventh place in the Championship table after playing 30 matches and two points adrift of the play-off places – just as they were in 2015.

They may have three points less (47) then Alex Neil's team had at this stage but the opportunity for another Wembley final is still alive.

Those chances may be slimmer this time around but considering many fans were calling for Neil to be sacked after an eighth defeat in 10 games on Boxing Day, it is a heartening similarity.

The Scot's current squad have scored 50 goals and conceded 42 in their opening 30 games, making them one of the most entertaining teams in the division.

Back in 2015, the Canaries had scored more and conceded less, with 57 goals to their name and 36 against. From there they pushed on and finished third, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion having won 11 of their final 16 games of the regular season.

To achieve a similar success City are likely to need a similar amount of points from their remaining fixtures, as the top six are separated by more points now.

Two years ago just seven points separated leaders Middlesbrough, who were on 59 after 30 games, and Brentford in sixth on 52.

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The current state of play in the second tier has leaders Newcastle on 62 points, 13 better off than sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday.

With Brighton also just one point behind Newcastle in second, closing the 14-point gap to the top two looks extremely unlikely for Neil and his players, particularly with games against each of the top six still to play.

Photos of Norwich City's joyous day at Wembley

However, sixth place is as valuable as third when it comes to qualifying for the play-offs, it just means having to play the second leg of the semi-finals away from home.

History shows that Norwich, under Neil's guidance, can do it. It's just that disastrous mid-season run of four points from a possible 30 which has left little margin for error.

COMPARISON

2017 – P30 W14 D5 L11 F50 A42 Pts 47

2015 – P30 W14 D8 L8 F57 A36 Pts 50

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