Time for Norwich City’s shadow men to emerge at Rotherham
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
Norwich City's shadow squad get a rare chance to impress Alex Neil on Tuesday night in a Capital One Cup second round trip to Championship Rotherham.
The Scot has opted for a settled Premier League line-up in the opening weeks, which has limited the opportunity for many inside the Norwich dressing room.
Neil will resist the urge to field a completely different side at the New York Stadium, but the likes of Andre Wisdom, who is eligible to feature under the terms of his loan move from Liverpool, and Bradley Johnson can press their top flight claims against the Millers.
'I wouldn't think I would make wholesale changes,' said Neil. 'We have quite a big squad with a lot of senior players that haven't managed to get into that league 11 so whatever team I put out will be regular first team players - it won't be players who have never played before.
'There will be some of the guys who need a game, but it will be a side I feel is more than capable of winning the game.
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'You have to keep certain aspects settled within your team to give it structure. It is only fair that the boys who might be given an opportunity are in with some regulars, so the way the team plays overall stays the same. They are good, honest professionals who can do a job at a good level but the way the team is playing at present the ones I have selected in the league are doing the business.'
Neil has enjoyed a stellar start to his managerial career at Hamilton and now south of the border but the 34-year-old admitted yesterday there is one blemish.
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'My cup record as a manager is not the best, if I am being truthful, good everywhere else but cups not so good,' he said. 'When I was at Hamilton I didn't have a big squad so the 11 who played in the league generally played in the cup as well. For one reason or another we didn't do as well as we would like, but everybody wants a cup run. I think the earlier rounds for every club is about hoping you can get by without injuries and putting in decent performances. Then when it gets to the later stages clubs take is seriously.'
Neil is taking nothing for granted despite Rotherham's poor start to the Championship, with memories still fresh of last season's epic league tussle. Lewis Grabban was red-carded early on before Gary Hooper's wonderful strike looked to have secured the points until Jordan Bowery's 86th minute equaliser.
'Perhaps it doesn't have as much at stake this time around but Rotherham have not started as they would have hoped and will look at this as a chance to get some confidence,' said Neil. 'We want to maintain our form, not least leading into an important one for us on Sunday (at Southampton).
'It is a one-off and strange things happen in cups so you can't go with the attitude of underestimating the opposition. It was a tough place when we went there last season and we will have to be prepared.'
• Extra-time and penalties will be played if the sides are level after 90 minutes at the New York Stadium.