Southampton return holds no fears for Norwich City chief Alex Neil
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil insists Norwich City have nothing to fear from an FA Cup re-match at Premier League Southampton.
City will discover their potential fourth round opponents in Monday night's draw, but first they must get past the Saints on January 18 after Steven Naismith's stoppage time header sealed a 2-2 third round draw in front of only 12,479 at Carrow Road.
Norwich hit back twice to extend their unbeaten run to three games and Neil is adamant a cup replay is not an unwanted distraction from league business.
'If we had lost then I would be getting told that was disappointing so I can't turn around now and say we don't want a replay,' he said. 'It is a good draw against a good side with good players on the pitch. They made a couple of changes, like we did. I think it was a competitive game. It is an extra game now, but we have a lot of players and it gives some of them another opportunity to play. I'm not disappointed with that.
'When you play that calibre of opposition and do not get beat it is another step in the right direction. I have watched them against the likes of Tottenham this season and they have had real good strong spells in those league games. I was pleased we kept on going. We came from behind twice and that is not like us this year. We haven't been that resilient, so positives to take from it.'
Naismith was one of six players retained from the most recent Championship win against the Rams.
'I just felt Russell (Martin) and Timm (Klose) had not been playing of late. I wanted that partnership to continue and get better and grow and they will only get that if they play together,' said Neil. 'With Alex (Tettey) and Jonny (Howson), to be honest, we were short in the middle so there wasn't many options and Steven, knowing the type of game this would be, is a player who can take instruction and carry out the stuff we need to do defensively.
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'Martin Olsson was the other one, with Robbie Brady suspended.'