Neil: I'm really looking forward to itALEX Neil says Colney preparations have been ‘excellent’ for his introductory home game as Norwich City manager against Cardiff City on Saturday (3pm).
Neil will take to the Carrow Road dugout for the first time since he was appointed last week, and assessing his first days of full training with the squad, the ex-Hamilton boss has been impressed.
“Our first three days training were excellent, the tempo was good and there’s real quality within the squad, as we already know. As I’ve said it’s just about getting them functioning properly on the pitch,” he told Norwich City TV ahead of the game.
“It’s just been about letting the lads know what their tasks are when they’ve got the ball and when they’ve not got the ball, how we want to go about our business in terms of the actual game itself and looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition.
“It’s basic stuff, but stuff that if you do properly, can have a real impact on matches.
“I think the lads are getting used to me as well. It’s worked well this week and hopefully that will mean we get a good result on Saturday.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I’m hoping the fans can get behind the team and hopefully we can give them a good performance."
Neil confirmed that Ryan Bennett (hamstring) will join Jonny Howson (suspension) on the sidelines after the 2-1 victory over Bournemouth, but that Steven Whittaker has fully recovered from the illness that forced him off at the Goldsands Stadium.
“He’s been better. He missed training on Monday but he joined in the next two days, so Steven will be fine for tomorrow,” revealed Neil.
“Ryan’s got a Grade One tear on his hamstring, so you’re probably talking maybe two weeks.
“We made an appeal against Howson’s red card, but unfortunately for us it got rejected. Jonny’s a big player for the club as well, so that’s a bit of a blow but we’ve got guys who can come in and fill in.”
City’s boss believes the Canaries need to stick to basic principles against a Cardiff team who have won just once on the road all season in the Sky Bet Championship.
“It will be a difficult match. They’re in a similar position to ourselves in that they’ve come down from the Premier League,” he said.
“They are very direct in their play, so we’re going to have to make sure we compete and do the dirty side of the game, because if we can control the ball, with the quality we have then I’m hoping we can be a force to be reckoned with going forward.
“If we can play at our full potential, then we’ve got a good chance of picking up a victory.”
Cardiff City, Saturday January 17, 3pm
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