Norwich City must turn up the heat on Championship rivals, urges Alan Irvine

Alex Pritchard was one of Norwich City's most creative threats at Aston Villa. Picture: Paul Chester

Alex Pritchard was one of Norwich City's most creative threats at Aston Villa. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alan Irvine is challenging Norwich City to make life uncomfortable for their Championship play-off rivals.

The Canaries cashed in on slip ups for all the clubs trying to hunt down sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday in beating Barnsley 2-0, to move within five points of the Owls.

Given Fulham and Preston are both in City's sights on the run-in, Irvine - who is poised to remain in charge over the international break - insists Norwich is back in the race.

'If the gap was exactly the same as before Barnsley then it gives you less of a feeling you can actually claw those points back but five points sounds a lot less than eight and we are, I believe, capable of winning each of the games in isolation,' he said. 'I am not saying we will win all those games but who knows how much pressure we can put on other teams above. We have an element of control over it. Not totally but we play two of the teams around us. Nobody thought the previous week Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham and Preston would all slip up. They have done. It is this league. There are no certainties.

'The more we get, the more pressure we put on the teams above us. Some people were not really too sure to believe me when I said there was still a chance. One thing I know about working in this league is you do not get points where you sometimes think you might get them. It is extremely tough and any team that goes on a good run between now and the end of the season can make a huge difference to where they finish in the league.'

Irvine reiterated he wants to stay at Carrow Road and has experience of working under the model unveiled by the club's board, from his time at West Brom.

'I am not feeling anxious at all about any uncertainty. I will carry on doing anything they want for as long as they want,' he said. 'It can be done in different ways. My brief at West Brom was simply you work with the players we bring in. There wasn't a great deal of influence in the players we signed but I took that job knowing that so it wasn't any surprise to me.'

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Irvine felt City deserved all three points against the Reds.

'Getting the goal just before the break was great timing for us,' he said. 'Michael (McGovern) makes a crucial save. That could have changed the course of the game. It could have swung either way but overall we should have finished it off earlier.'