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23 February 2017

City ready for Ipswich battle, says the manager

SUNDAY's East Anglian derby against Ipswich Town is an important game in different ways, says City boss Alex Neil.

The Canaries host their closest rivals knowing that both local bragging rights and crucial Sky Bet Championship points will be up for grabs.

City haven't lost to Ipswich since 2009 and will hope to pull closer to the play-off places in the division by extending that impressive run this weekend.

"It's going to be vitally important. The fans will want to continue with the bragging rights," Neil told Norwich City TV on Thursday.

"We don't take that lightly. We want to make sure that we go and perform well, hopefully the fans can get in full voice and we can win the match.

"It's one of the fixtures the lads look for right away because they know everybody will be up for it.

"We've got a good record in it and we want to maintain that, and because of the league situation as well we need to maintain that."

Mick McCarthy's team held promotion-chasing Brighton and Hove Albion in their last away game, but Neil is confident that he has the tools at his disposal to combat their 3-5-2 system.

"We've beaten every back three or five that have come to Carrow Road," he said. "We're well equipped to do that, we know how to break that down, but equally it starts from winning your own battles.

"You need to win headers and dominate the ball, and then you can do the rest from there."

Neil admits he will have mix of emotions on the day, adding: "You're excited about the game because derby day is one that, if you don't get excited, then what's the point in being involved in football?

"Equally, there's certainly more onus on you to win this game because of how much it means to the supporters, and certainly with the league position it becomes doubly important."

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