‘This is your time’ Alex Neil tells his Norwich City squad ahead of Wolves test
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil is urging his Norwich City players to embrace the expectation around a heavyweight Championship collision on Saturday against Wolves at Carrow Road.
The Scot knows the stakes are high with both on the fringes of the top six and Neil wants City to match the intensity of the occasion.
'I think it is one of those defining moments of the season, if we win we really put ourselves amongst the pack and distance ourselves from the teams below us. If we lose, then it's going to be a tough task,' he said.
'We are under no illusions how important the game is. Wolves will be thinking along exactly same lines as us. It really comes down to who plays well. If I can get my best players at their maximum and limit our mistakes we have a great chance of winning, but Wolves will feel the same.'
Neil realises the hosts must box clever after the manner of Brentford's recent Carrow Road victory in similar circumstances.
'Wolves certainly have one thing and that is pace up top. They are a threat but if we can try and control the ball and the game you can limit how much service they receive,' he said. 'We are used to sides trying to do that with us. Blackpool tried it, I think Charlton tried it as well, but in both of those games we dominated the ball and it didn't really matter because we had the control. It will be a harder proposition against Wolves but we believe we can do that.
'Teams like Charlton and Birmingham, to a certain extent, put a lot of men behind the ball. That is something I have found since I came down. A lot of teams just sit in and invite you to try and break them down.'
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Neil has also detected that inner confidence in the Wolves ranks which he enjoyed at Hamilton after promotion success.
'I think they have that momentum from being promoted,' he said. 'It's a big thing, whereas we had to come from the other direction and after going down you are trying to change that momentum and make sure we are a forward-looking team.
'When you come up everything is positive, you are used to winning games but I think we have shown good signs over recent weeks.'
Norwich still have to crack the top six despite Neil's impressive start which has brought four wins in six league games.
'That tells you what a difficult task this league is but the good thing is we have it in our own hands,' said the Scot. 'We have a lot of teams above us to play at home, Watford is the only one away, so ultimately it will be how we perform against them. This is the first of whole host of important games and we have to make sure we are up for it. We can't plan for the next four or five beyond this one, Wolves is all we are thinking about it.'