Now or never for Norwich City to gatecrash Championship promotion shake-up
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil admits Norwich City have reached crisis point in their Championship promotion bid.
The Canaries' 2-1 defeat at struggling Burton left them trailing sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday by seven points, ahead of a Carrow Road derby date with Ipswich Town.
The Owls could move 10 points clear on Tuesday night when they host Brentford, but City travel to Hillsborough at the start of next month along with away games against promotion rivals Reading, Huddersfield and Leeds United before the final reckoning.
A majority of Norwich's support who cast their vote in our online poll feel the Canaries will miss out on the play-offs and Neil knows the size of the task.
'We have it all to do. Those teams already have the points on the board,' said Neil. 'If we have any more, and I wouldn't say even performances like Burton but stupid mistakes that we continually made in that game, it is going to be extremely difficult. We win the next match, the team above us loses the next game and it is down to four points and you would say that is a realistic gap.
'We know we have to win games but it will also depend on the teams above us now. Whether they go on winning runs or have a spell of poor form. It is difficult to say what it will take from here because we just don't know what is going to be required. It is only a good thing playing the teams above us if we win some of those games.'
Neil's 2015 arrival at Carrow Road sparked a dramatic winning surge that brought 10 victories from the last 15 league games before triumphing in the play-offs.
'We have a lot to do to maintain the comparison. From the end of that January we went on an incredible run,' he said. 'If this season finishes that way I would be delighted. It is our aim. I wasn't there for the first part of that particular season so for us to replicate the same thing this time around with me in charge is disappointing. We are going to have to go on a similar run and win the majority of our games.
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'If we had not had a good run of late it just shows how far away we would have been. Burton was a game we knew we needed to win, particularly after drawing with Newcastle, which makes that point not as good.
'If we had won at Burton then you look back on that as a very good point because it allows us to grow and build even more. We let ourselves down, we are all frustrated with each other and ourselves and rightly so. I felt the (Burton) game was for the taking and we flung it away.'