Norwich City must hit the heights to put out Forest fires

Jonny Howson opened the scoring in Norwich City's 2-1 Championship defeat at Nottingham Forest. Pict

Jonny Howson opened the scoring in Norwich City's 2-1 Championship defeat at Nottingham Forest. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Nottingham Forest will arrive at Carrow Road as one of the Championship's form horses but for Alex Neil it's a hurdle Norwich City must clear in their pursuit of the ultimate prize.

Neil drew parallels on Friday between the potency of Forest's attacking threat and the composed manner his side dismantled Wolves on home soil last month. The Norwich boss is demanding another faultless performance to subdue the Reds and revive their fading hopes of an automatic promotion spot.

'If I am honest I don't really pay attention to Forest,' he said. 'Of course if you analyse them they are on a good run, they have momentum and they believe in what they are doing. You can see they are relatively confident in the way they are playing, but so are we.

'They have a lot of power and pace but so did Wolves and to be honest we nullified them. We set the team up in the right way, we did our jobs and the lads performed well on the day and if we can put those three things together again then we have a good chance.

'We have looked at how they have played and we'll be prepared but it is about us playing our game. If we do as we have recently, excluding Huddersfield perhaps, then we will be fine.'

Neil knows the only way to draw a line under what unfolded in West Yorkshire at the Terriers or Wigan's recent win in Norfolk is to deliver an emphatic response over the run-in.

'The frustration came from the fact it was an opportunity missed, when we could have made up ground or at least stay firmly in touch with the teams at the top,' he said. 'We put a winning run of six games together before so there is no reason we can't replicate that or do even better. Not many have won six on the trot and it is going to take something like that to make sure we are competing at the top end.

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'I thought the team I had out (at Huddersfield) was more than good enough to win the game but we shot ourselves in the foot. I am not making any excuses for them. I wouldn't expect the lads would want me to make any for them.

'If you look at the game we controlled 62% of the possession, we had more shots on goal than them, we just didn't have enough cutting edge and quality at the top end of the pitch and we were sloppy on the goals. I am not solely blaming the guys at the top end of the pitch for the lack of goals and creativity or the back four for the goals. We are a unit and it wasn't functioning as well as it should have been.'

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