Norwich City boss Alex Neil aims to keep Derby guessing

Youssouf Mulumbu has headed off to join up with his country ahead of the African Cup of Nations. Pic

Youssouf Mulumbu has headed off to join up with his country ahead of the African Cup of Nations. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil intends to experiment again on Monday to get the better of Derby, after a radical re-think earned Norwich a Championship point at Brentford.

Neil deployed a defensive three and a front two, with the likes of Russell Martin and Timm Klose back in the mix, and Cameron Jerome partnering Nelson Oliveira. Poor finishing and Robbie Brady's harsh red card scuppered City's chances of finishing 2016 on a winning note.

Neil is without the suspended Brady against the Rams, whilst Youssouf Mulumbu has departed for African Cup of Nations duty, but Jonny Howson comes back into contention after serving his ban. The City boss is also mindful of freshening up his side for a second game in less than 48 hours.

'Without doubt that will come into my thoughts with the two games so close together. It's looking at the bumps and bruises and who is going to be fully fit and who is not,' he said. 'I thought Youssouf, who is going away now, and Alex (Tettey) were terrific in the middle of the park but having Jonny back certainly helps.'

Neil was buoyed by the devilment in his reshaped line up at Griffin Park, despite finishing another festive game with 10 men following Brady's dismissal.

'I thought the boys showed battling qualities. They had hunger, fighting spirit and everything you would look for in our team. The only thing that was missing was that final touch to put the ball in the back of the net,' he said. 'What pleased me the most is we won our battles all over the pitch. My two strikers got the better of their defence. I thought my midfield controlled most of the game and defensively we put our head in where it hurts and won crucial headers when we needed to. That is the difference between conceding or not. Sometimes when you are not getting the rub of the green key decisions go against you. You can't feel sorry for yourself. You have to roll up the sleeves and go again.'