Norwich City boss Alex Neil wary of Derby backlash
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil is wary of a Derby County backlash adding to the rising temperature surrounding Saturday's Championship promotion duel at Carrow Road.
Norwich City will go above the Rams with an eighth league win in nine, but Neil expects a Derby side still seething at the manner they blew two points deep in stoppage time against Birmingham.
'That is how I would be going about it if it was my team,' he said. 'When we lost to Wigan the first thing you say is, 'listen, we have a point to prove here now because they are starting to question me and my players. Let's go and show everyone.'
'I know how I felt and how my team felt after the Wigan game, like a wounded animal. You have to be careful because they will want to respond and respond well. We have to be up to the task.
'It is one you can look in two ways. It might be a good time to play them because they may lack a little bit of confidence or they have re-focused and their energy is right at the top and they are desperate to prove a point to the doubters.'
Neil insists Derby's injury problems in attack do not tilt the contest in his side's favour, with Darren Bent ruled out and former Norwich Academy product Chris Martin (hamstring) a major doubt.
'We have Lewis Grabban missing, which is a blow for us, and that is something you have to adapt to,' he said. 'They move the ball well and you have to try and limit that as much as you can. They have good power and pace at the top end of the pitch and good movement if you stand off and let them play. We have prepared over the last couple of days and done all the final bits and pieces so we know exactly what we want to do.
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'They have dominated a lot of those recent games. It is not as if they have been beaten by better sides. Sometimes you can go through spells when you are playing some good stuff and not getting the rub of the green, or maybe there is one fundamental that is not working quite as well so I wouldn't read too much into that. They are near the top for a reason.'