Norwich City have all the bases covered for Ipswich return

Alex Tettey was back in the fold for Norwich City at Ipswich. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Image

Alex Tettey was back in the fold for Norwich City at Ipswich. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Numerous Championship rivals have made great play of the depth within Norwich City's ranks, and Alex Neil's starting line up against Ipswich underlined the point.

The Canaries' chief elected to protect Wes Hoolahan from the early hurly burly at Portman Road before a second-half introduction once a degree of calm had been restored after a frenetic start to the play-off semi-final first leg.

Steven Whittaker, Alex Tettey and Cameron Jerome all came back in after missing the final league game against Fulham to prepare for two huge promotion battles.

'There are always close calls to be made with a squad of good players when it comes to leaving some out,' said Neil. 'I just felt coming away from home, and with what I was expecting in the first half, I felt we needed to have strong men in there to go and compete.

'I knew the way Ipswich were going to play was going to be physical and we would have to win those battles early on because teams like Ipswich can bully you when they go that direct. That was just how it panned out. Then the onus was on the likes of Jonny Howson to nick off and get a goal, which he did. I felt with Jonny's penetrating runs that could work for us.

'Up until that point the game plan worked perfectly but then we conceded and it changes and we tried to put on more attacking players to win the game.

'If we had got to half-time still leading then the second period would have been a lot more comfortable for us.'

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Neil is convinced City have all bases covered for the second leg after maintaining an impressive unbeaten start to his Norwich career on the road.

'We have got a good variety,' he said. 'You look at Wes, Jonny, Alex, Graham Dorrans, they are very, very different, which gives you a good spectrum of players to chose from.

'The resilience of the team, whenever you come up against adversity is what makes you what you are going to become moving forward.

'We have responded very well in difficult moments, particularly away where we have not lost a game, and we have been to some difficult places, no more so than Ipswich.'