Norwich City playing for high stakes ahead of Ipswich Town clash, admits Alex Neil

Norwich City manager Alex Neil knows this is a big weekend in the Championship promotion race. Pictu

Norwich City manager Alex Neil knows this is a big weekend in the Championship promotion race. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil is confident Norwich City will rise to the occasion in a derby clash against Ipswich Town that could make-or-break their Championship promotion bid.

City host Town at Carrow Road on Sunday looking to cash in on any slips when play-off rivals Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday meet today in another big derby. Both Yorkshire clubs go into the weekend seven points ahead of Neil's squad, who lost ground at lowly Burton last time out.

'I think the lads moved past that pretty quickly,' he said. 'The midweek result with Sheffield Wednesday (losing to Brentford) probably helped, the fact we have the derby and Leeds and Wednesday play each other. There is always pressure around a derby but there is pressure anyway with the league situation. The pleasing thing, excluding the disappointment at Burton, is we are not just chasing one team. Leeds have had a wee sticky patch and that has allowed us to chase them and Sheffield Wednesday. If it was just one club you would be heavily reliant on them not picking up results. With it being two teams it makes it more interesting.

'Every team from now until the end is not going to win every game. We need to ensure our run from here on is considerably better than one of those other teams. We have got to put a similar run together as the recent one, which is winning maybe four games in six. We have to do that in the next six and then re-assess where that takes you.'

Neil confirmed in the build up Steven Naismith and Ivo Pinto had trained this week after injury problems as he looks to get his heavy artillery back.


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'You need a team capable of showing all the attributes required in a game of this scale,' he said. 'You need resilience, people who can handle pressure, people who can rise to the big occasion, but equally there has to be an element of determination and energy in the team to get about the pitch and compete. We know what is at stake for the fans, but this is also an important game in terms of what we are trying to achieve in the league. At the moment we know it is a seven point gap but there could be a completely different complexion after we play Ipswich and then go to Sheffield Wednesday. You could literally be a point behind and everything has shifted. Then it is about can we kick on and hopefully get ourselves into the play-offs.'

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