Boss: We'll play to win at Portman RoadNORWICH City will travel to Ipswich Town looking to take the initiative in their Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final, says boss Alex Neil.
For the first time in 30 years, East Anglia’s fiercest rivals meet in the last four of a knockout format, with both vying for a place at Wembley to then compete for a Premier League spot.
Speaking to Norwich City TV leading into the contest, City’s boss outlined his determination to set his team on the front foot from the outset come Saturday lunchtime.
“We play to win every game, so we’ll be going there looking for the result to give us an advantage going into the next game,” he said.
“We want to go into the second leg having made sure that we did our job in the first leg. We don’t play to draw any match, we’ll be there to win.
“I’m confident going into every game. We’ve only lost three of 22, that’s a good record and we need to make sure that we maintain that.
“We know exactly how we’re going to go about the game, and in the main we’ve worked really well. It’s just about making sure that you’re fully prepared for the match, you know what’s coming and that you perform on the day.”
Steven Whittaker and Alex Tettey missed the Canaries’ final two matches of the regular season against Rotherham United and Fulham, but Neil is ‘hopeful’ they will be able to make a return in time for Saturday’s first leg (12.15pm).
“It will be a last-minute call on both. We’ll have got a better idea after training on Friday, and that will determine where we are,” he revealed.
“I think they should be ok, I’m really hopeful that they’re going to make it but sometimes you don’t really know until they get out on the field. That will be the true test.
“Cameron Jerome’s joined in this week so he should be fine.”
On Mick McCarthy’s Tractor Boys, Neil added: “The one thing about Ipswich is they do compete, they are aggressive.
“Everybody has said we’re favourites but as long as we win, it doesn’t matter what people say.
“I think it’s important that we don’t get carried away and that the occasion doesn’t get the better of us. However, we’ve played in a number of games like this, and the boys have over their careers, so we’ll be ready.
“I feel there’s been momentum over the last three months. The fans have got behind us and I think the players have performed exceptionally well in the majority of the matches.
“We’ve got another opportunity now and we certainly don’t want this one to pass us by.”