Norwich City boss Alex Neil convinced he could have handled Ross McCormack

Norwich City missed out on Ross McCormack in the summer. Picture: PA

Norwich City missed out on Ross McCormack in the summer. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Alex Neil feels he could have got the best out of Ross McCormack as he prepares to face his big summer transfer target on Saturday against Nottingham Forest.

McCormack opted for Aston Villa's greater financial muscle, rather than a potential Carrow Road switch before a ball was kicked, but the striker has now been farmed out to the Reds after falling out of favour with Steve Bruce.

'The one advantage I had was I knew Ross. Being able to cope and deal with that type of player, if you know them already, certainly helps,' said Neil. 'It is a difficult one to comment on what has happened at Aston Villa. For whatever reason he has not managed to find his feet, hence why he is now at Nottingham Forest. The one thing though I would say is, and he has proved it over the years in the Championship, he is a regular goalscorer. There are no questions about that. You don't really know what the situation is at any other club. Of course I see the bits and pieces in the media and things but ultimately no-one will know the real story at Villa apart from him and the others around that.'

Neil has also been touted with McCormack's new team mate, Britt Assombalonga, during previous transfer windows and the bustling hitman looks to finally be over his long term knee injury.

'It is not a lot of injury problems. It is one significant injury problem with his knee but equally I am delighted to see him back playing because you don't want to see anyone struggle with a bad injury,' said Neil. 'He is playing now and he is really threatening in and around the box. We are going to have to pay particular attention to that but we have good players as well.'

Neil faces his own striker dilemma with Nelson Oliveira and Cameron Jerome both in the goals.

'No individual, regardless of a wide player, defender or a striker, will take precedence over what I feel is the best side to win the game,' he said. 'It doesn't mean I play two good strikers if I feel an extra midfielder could make the difference, and that is no reflection on them because they are good players. When we went to Wigan, who were the lowest scorers in the division, I wanted to go and out-score them. The best chance I felt was playing two up top. They play relatively direct so I wasn't worried about getting over-run.'