Norwich City boss Alex Neil outlines a new threat from Ipswich Town
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Blood and thunder might not be the order of the day in the latest edition of an East Anglian classic.
Alex Neil has detected a noticeable shift in Mick McCarthy's methods at Ipswich Town that injects another element of uncertainty into Sunday's Carrow Road duel.
'They have changed their shape, which is quite significant,' said Neil. 'They have normally always gone 4-4-2 or one up front against us but the back four has been a back three, back five.
'It is the type of player that is perhaps different as well. The boy (Emyr) Huws from Cardiff they brought in, the lad Grant Ward who can operate in the middle. They don't have that target man like Daryl Murphy in the past, they have more footballers, you could argue. It will be interesting to see how this game goes because of that.
'Ipswich will be really, really determined. They have acquitted themselves well of late and they have played well against a lot of the top teams. They will be confident, knowing they are resilient, hard to beat and can score goals, albeit Tom Lawrence is missing. I imagine they will see it as the pressure is all on us as the home team and they will be giving it their best shot.'
Neil is putting the absence of Town's suspended talisman Lawrence in proper context. The on-loan Leicester City midfielder has been a revelation at Portman Road this season, scoring 10 goals in 29 appearances.
'Probably because he has got the goals people assume he has been doing it all himself but I know looking at my own team it is never just about one player,' said Neil. 'I am pretty sure a lot of the Ipswich lads have been doing plenty of running, plenty of harrying to get him into those positions where he can score. He'll be a loss but it gives someone else a chance to play in a big game.'
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The Canaries have had the rare luxury of a free week to rest battered bodies and tired minds after a painful defeat at Burton.
'For some of our lads, the likes of big Mitchell (Dijks), who has been excellent, perhaps Burton was a game too far. I didn't think he played as well as he had,' said Neil. 'Some of the other lads looked mentally tired as much as anything else. Now having a week of training, getting back on the pitch with the boys, has been beneficial. When it is pretty much game, two days, game there is very little you can do with them because it is pretty much about recovery. Come Sunday everyone should be refreshed and determined.'