Play-off drama is nothing new to Norwich City boss Alex Neil
- Credit: PA
Alex Neil is no stranger to play-off drama and the Norwich City boss is confident his squad will emerge victorious through a Championship minefield.
City's place in the play-offs was sealed by Bournemouth's Monday night 3-0 league win over 10-man Bolton, but the Canaries will not discover their two-legged semi-final opponents until after this weekend's regular season finale against Fulham at Carrow Road.
Norwich and Middlesbrough will be joined by two from City's bitter rivals Ipswich, Derby, Brentford or Wolves in the battle for the Premier League to go alongside Watford and the Cherries.
City chief Neil knows what it takes after winning promotion as a player at Hamilton and then guiding Accies to the Scottish Premier League 12 months ago following a tense play-off final penalty shootout success over Hibs.
The Scot aims to draw on that experience to equip Norwich for the defining moments of this season.
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'I have done it with Hamilton as a manager and I've been there before as a player and won promotion. I know what it takes but more importantly my guys know what it takes,' he said. 'Experience plays a huge part in that and looking at the teams at the top end we probably have the edge in that respect, having been a Premier League team. It is about keeping cool heads and making sure you stay focused and doing your jobs.
'We have a good, honest group. There is a lot of interaction between the players and the staff and we are fighting for the same goal and the team spirit is fantastic.'
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Neil is still unbeaten away from home as Norwich manager, but the City chief knows Carrow Road could hold the key to the Canaries' promotion prospects ahead of Fulham's final day visit.
The Cottagers are the latest team to visit Norfolk with nothing but pride to play for.
'What you tend to find is teams with nothing to play for have a freedom to express themselves and a lack of pressure,' said Neil. 'There is no expectation on them, whereas the others who know what is at stake can get uptight because they want it so badly.
'I'm proud we are doing well and winning games away but home form is crucial for a team, whatever your agenda, and that is something I want to try and improve. Going away and winning games shows character and I don't think there is any question we have that in the team and the togetherness of the squad sees us through games.'