Norwich City’s rivals show signs that they are feeling strain

Norwich City's stirring charge towards promotion appears to have rattled both of their main rivals to the point of paranoia.

Cardiff boss Dave Jones complained last week that Norwich's Easter programme gave them an 'unfair' advantage – a complaint he repeated on Monday after his team had looked to have re-claimed the automatic second promotion place with a 1-0 win over Preston at Deepdale, only for Simeon Jackson's 95th minute winner against Derby to keep Paul Lambert's side a point clear of the Bluebirds.

And QPR boss Neil Warnock added his voice to the debate with a dig which suggested he might be a little nervous about the pending Football Association ruling over the third-party ownership of Ajejandro Faurlin.

Rangers fans also had celebrations cut short on Monday when news of Jackson's late winner filtered through to Loftus Road, where QPR had thought their 1-1 draw with Hull would be enough.

The Canaries could now technically still overhaul Rangers for the title if the leaders were to lose their last two games against Watford and Leeds. And QPR could even miss out on automatic promotion if the FA choose to dock them points for their rule infringement.

Such thoughts have prompted further fingers to be pointed in the direction of City's fixture list as the moving of the East Anglian derby back to last Thursday meant the Canaries had two days extra to prepare for their Bank Holiday Monday meeting with Derby County compared to Cardiff and QPR, who faced each other in South Wales on Saturday.

'They must know somebody at the Football League, Norwich, getting their fixtures like they have,' said Warnock.

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'Poor old Dave Jones was moaning about it the other day, I think Delia Smith must be cooking something for them.'

Jones reiterated his moans on Monday, saying: 'Maybe the two or three extra days worked for them. It's not fair but they've gone and done it. Norwich kept going to the 95th minute and got the goal because they were probably a lot fresher as they had three or four days extra to recover, which is ridiculous.'

Jones, however, is warning the Canaries to expect a fight to the finish with both in action next on the same night. Cardiff host Middlesbrough on Monday just before City's game at Portsmouth in a live double header.

'Who knows if that will have any bearing? We've just got to keep doing what we are doing,' he said. 'It'll go to the last week and that is all we can ask of it.'