Neil: Time to find a regular levelNORWICH City are striving for the consistency that will keep their promotion hopes intact, according to manager Alex Neil.
Last weekend’s home loss to Brentford was Neil’s first setback after victories in his first two games over Bournemouth and Cardiff City.
When speaking to the press ahead of Saturday’s trip to Birmingham City (3pm), Neil admitted that the up-and-down nature of the Canaries’ campaign has been a source of grievance.
“We need to try and get that level of consistency that we’re talking about. The players have got to find a level which is acceptable and make sure they don’t dip below that,” he told reporters at the Club’s Colney Training Centre on Friday.
“If you look at Norwich’s season so far – let’s be honest, if they’d have played the way they did in the first half against Cardiff this season, the chances are I wouldn’t be here.
“I think the problem we’ve had through the season is the consistency from one game to the next. That’s why we find ourselves in the position we’re in.
“It’s frustrating as a manager, and is probably frustrating as a player as well. It’s something we’re obviously going to have to try and address.”
Neil is hoping to welcome back Alex Tettey (groin) for the visit to St Andrew’s, but Gary O’Neil (toe) is ruled out and it will come too soon for Ryan Bennett (hamstring) and Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe (knee), while Jonny Howson will serve the final game in his three-match suspension.
Birmingham are currently enjoying the security of mid-table, with Gary Rowett having overseen just three defeats since leaving Burton Albion to take the manager’s job in October.
“They were struggling at the start of the season, but Gary’s gone in there and their form has been excellent. We know it’s going to be a difficult task, but we’re hoping we can put a performance in,” said Neil.
“I think over the last six or seven games, they’d be sitting third in the league. Their form has been very good and they’ve been strong at home, but we’re more than capable of going there and getting a result.”
This weekend’s round of fixtures are the last before the transfer window closes on Monday night, and Neil says the Club are working hard behind the scenes to ensure the squad is in good shape for the remainder of the season.
“I think it’s been a quiet window so far, for every club in the Championship,” he added.
“You’ve got guys in the squad who may potentially be moving on, and there are other ones who we’ve obviously targeted who we’re trying to bring in. It’s about getting the balance right and making sure that you don’t leave yourself heavy or light.
“Like every other club I think it will go right down to the wire in terms of people coming in and people going out.”
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