"We've been looking forward to this."ALEX Neil is hoping to see a reward for the work put in over pre-season when his Norwich City team mark their Barclays Premier League return by hosting Crystal Palace on Saturday (3pm).
Under eleven weeks on from their historic Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final win over Middlesbrough at Wembley, Neil’s squad start life back in the top flight after a one-year absence at Carrow Road against Alan Pardew’s Eagles.
A pre-season schedule producing five victories from seven friendlies, including last Saturday’s 2-1 win over Brentford, has given City a promising platform on which to build, according to their manager.
“We’ve played some good stuff. I’ve got a lot of players a lot of minutes under their belts, and now it’s just a case of when it really kicks off, that we’re ready and we can go and perform,” Neil told Norwich City TV on Friday.
“We’ve been looking forward to this game since pre-season began. You do all your work during the week looking at one thing, and that’s the game on Saturday.
“There should be steel and determination from the players. Ultimately if there is not, then I’ve got a problem and they’ve got a problem. We want everybody fighting for every second in every game, and I expect that to be the case.
“After the day at Wembley, this is what we’ve been looking forward to from that point.”
City are still unbeaten away from home in competitive matches under Neil, but he is of the opinion that form at Carrow Road will be an important factor as the Canaries look to establish themselves in the Premier League.
“I think it’s going to be crucial. Home form is always important; however our away form last season was fantastic,” he added.
“We just want to try and get as many points as we can, whether that’s at home or away. To be honest it’s irrelevant provided we are picking up points.”
On the challenge of facing a team who finished tenth last term, he commented: “I think they’re a good side. The fact that they’re coming out and saying that they’re targeting European qualification shows where they’re expecting to finish.
“However, if we perform to our maximum there’s no reason why we can’t win the game.”