Norwich City boss Alex Neil targets final flourish against FC Augsburg
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil is targeting a winning flourish to a training camp in the Alps that may go a long way to ensuring Norwich City's squad is fit for purpose ahead of their Premier League challenge.
The Canaries slipped to a 1-0 loss against Maccabi Haifa on Monday in the sweltering heat of Kufstein, Austria, but after watching the club's development talent pick up two midweek victories, Neil wants to sign off on a positive note against Bundesliga foes FC Augsburg on Saturday in the Bavarian resort of Prien am Chiemsee (KO 1pm UK).
'The only disappointment so far, in terms of results, was the Maccabi Haifa game. We haven't lost a lot since I have been here,' he said.
'The team we put out was more than capable of winning. We were dominant, had good opportunities and we just couldn't score, but we probably only had two regular first team players on the pitch at the end.
'We have made a steady progression in terms of the opponent. We started with two non-league games to give something back to those clubs, and I know that is commonplace at Norwich, but the games since then have now got gradually harder and I expect that to be the case in the final three pre-season games. We are beginning to put plans in place for our starting XI so the regulars will start to get more game action.'
Neil has drilled his squad through punishing double sessions most days at their base in Grassau, but there is a Premier League purpose to the hard graft.
He said: 'We are certainly not here on holiday. There has been a lot of hard work put in.
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'Pre-season is important. You lay a lot of principles down at this stage and you get to know the lads even better. In the Premier League we are going to come up against different challenges and we have to be ready. We've discussed different scenarios with the players here that we didn't come up against in the Championship. We have studied some of the other teams and the analysis lads have done their work, so when it does come it won't be a shock to them. I think we had a really good atmosphere within the squad towards the end of last season and we have continued in that vein.'
John Ruddy, Russell Martin and Alex Tettey are among the frontline options poised to return, but Cameron Jerome is expected to sit out Saturday's friendly after picking up a foot injury in the Cambridge United warm-up match.
Martin Olsson has continued his recovery from early-summer shoulder surgery on this trip, with the Swede now starting ball work with the club's fitness coaches. Kyle Lafferty remained in England for treatment on a knee problem which has prevented him taking part in the club's pre-season programme.