Norwich City preview: Canaries must not let the mask slip at Preston

Wes Hoolahan came in for special treatment by Preston at Carrow Road this season. Picture: Andy Kear

Wes Hoolahan came in for special treatment by Preston at Carrow Road this season. Picture: Andy Kearns/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Andy Kearns/Focus Images Limited

Alan Irvine hopes the mask has not slipped as Norwich City look to avoid another desperate Championship away day at Preston.

Preston chief Simon Grayson is on for second consecutive top half finish in the Championship. Photo:

Preston chief Simon Grayson is on for second consecutive top half finish in the Championship. Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Irvine admitted his main task following Fulham's 3-1 Good Friday win was to lift the squad after similar setbacks at Aston Villa and Huddersfield since becoming interim boss.

Norwich were unable to break down 10-men, after Chris Martin's sending off, and were caught by a double sucker punch.

'I mentioned leading up to the Fulham game, after Reading, in the Championship you have to move on really quickly. That is exactly what we have to do,' he said. 'We had to go in Saturday morning and no matter how we felt as a staff you have to put the mask on and move on to the next game. If we are moping about that is going to be the general feeling around the training ground. No matter how we feel inside we now have to get the lads ready for the Preston game.

'I have spoken about the inconsistency for the last two weeks. In the end, what you try and do is make sure the players are prepared for everything that is going to come. I said it wasn't a magic pill that I had produced to beat Reading by that margin. The players deserved the praise last week but they have to take some criticism now. It is frustrating as a coach because you are trying to do the same week in, week out and then you hope the performance is at the level you know the players are capable of.'

Cameron Jerome scored his 16th goal of the season against Fulham. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Ima

Cameron Jerome scored his 16th goal of the season against Fulham. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd


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Irvine's powers of persuasion worked wonders in a previous coaching stint at Preston, when he took a side in danger of relegation and led them to the Championship play-offs.

'The team was bottom of the league and funnily enough after about 10 games they were still bottom of the league,' he said. 'We stayed up with a lot of games to spare and then the next year we got into the play-offs. I have a lot of happy memories from my time at Preston and still have a lot of contacts there as well.

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'They are an honest, hard-working, hungry, determined squad. They are a team who are a real threat and they have had a great season and I am delighted for them because it is a club that means a lot to me.

'I think Simon (Grayson) has done a really good job and it is nice to see them back where I think they should be. It will be a really difficult test for us.'

Timm Klose damaged his knee against Fulham.
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Timm Klose damaged his knee against Fulham. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

James Maddison picked up a knock in training prior to Fulham. Picture: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Lt

James Maddison picked up a knock in training prior to Fulham. Picture: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd

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