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CHARLTON v CITY: THE MANAGER'S PREVIEW

9 February 2015

Boss delivers positive news on Bassong's fitness

ALEX Neil expects Charlton Athletic to provide stubborn opposition when the two sides meet in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday (7.45pm).

City face the Addicks as they look to build on Saturday’s impressive 4-0 triumph over Blackpool.

Their hosts, who occupy 19th place in the division, have lost only eight matches in the league this season – the same amount as the Canaries – but have drawn 15, the most of any team in all four divisions.

Neil is confident City have the tools to make inroads at The Valley, however.

“I think they’ll sit in and I think they’ll make it difficult for us to break them down, as I’ve tended to find with quite a lot of the teams that we’ve played so far,” he told Norwich City TV.

“I’m hoping that our quality will come through and that we can open the game up and try and get the first goal, which I think is absolutely crucial.

“If we can get that, then I think it can change the complexion of the match.”
 


The Canaries are just three points off the top six going into the match after Gary Hooper’s hat-trick helped put Blackpool to the sword at Carrow Road at the weekend.

Whatever the outcome on Tuesday, though, Neil will not make any bold statements regarding his side’s ambitions for the rest of the campaign.

“We’ve got 17 games left, and we’ve got to go and win as many as we can,” he said.

“If we don’t win the next one, then it doesn’t mean that we’re not going to be there or thereabouts, but equally if we do win it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll go on and challenge

“We need to make sure that we build a consistency, and first and foremost that performance levels are at a good level week-in, week-out.”

Neil delivered positive news regarding Sebastien Bassong, who could be in contention for the game despite being forced off with a back injury against the Seasiders.

“He’s got a chance. He’s been improving, which is great news. We’ll see how it goes. It will be a last-minute decision I think, but he has considerably improved from Saturday, and we’re hoping he will be ready in time for the match,” he added.

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