Shock treatment can work for Norwich City
- Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd
A dose of shock treatment may be the final ingredient in Norwich City's pre-season planning for the Championship kick-off at Blackburn.
Alex Neil's best intentions for a final dress rehearsal against Bundesliga Two outfit Hannover 96 were in tatters after just 10 minutes when Artur Sobiech and Sebastien Maier pounced on slack marking down the City right.
Jacob Murphy was sacrificed for the nous and craft of Graham Dorrans in central midfield and a comeback inspired by two Wes Hoolahan goals in seven minutes fell short after Maier had added his second shortly after the interval.
'I said that to the boys at the end the first 25 minutes gave us a shock and we can't afford that this coming week,' said Neil. 'It should get us in the right frame of mind. Our schedule has been great over pre-season. In these last few games we have got the balance.
'I think because we have such a big squad you want to keep everyone fit. The difficulty is, like in this game, you start with a team in your head and after 20 minutes you think I am going to have to alter it. Pre-season, players can play themselves in and out of the team. I now have a clear idea how I want to go about it at Blackburn, providing everyone is fit, but I think that is a good thing for us.'
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Perhaps of far greater significance for the opening-day trip to Ewood Park was Jonny Howson requiring treatment to a left ankle injury before Dorrans himself headed down the tunnel in the closing minutes with a groin injury.
'I think he felt something at the end. We are hoping that is not going to be too serious because I thought he was excellent when he came on,' said Neil. 'I am hopefully that he will be okay. I thought he was one of the main catalysts why we improved. Jonny half-rolled his ankle. There won't be any issues.
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'The one thing you can't guarantee is how they perform (at Blackburn). The only thing we can do is ensure all the work is done and make sure they are best prepared. With our quality we are more than confident we'll be ready and then we need to deliver.
'Our schedule has been great over pre-season. In these last few games we have got the balance right. FK Dukla Prague was a tough one, Rubin Kazan, tough, Coventry City the lads came back from Austria and showed up well and we finish with another tough one. Hannover is a good side, but second half we showed how good we can be but that has to be from the first minute this week.'