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27 January 2017

Manager previews Saturday's visit of the Blues

ALEX Neil says the Canaries will face a changed Birmingham City outfit when the two sides go head-to-head at Carrow Road on Saturday (3pm).

The Blues made the surprising move of replacing Gary Rowett with Gianfranco Zola in the managerial hotseat last month, and Neil says the Italian is looking to implement a new style with the Midlands outfit.

Even though he hasn't won any of his eight matches in charge, Zola's team have been improving steadily according to City's boss.

"Birmingham are certainly a different prospect to what they were earlier in the season," Neil told Norwich City TV on Friday.

"With Gianfranco going in there, obviously they've got a different style that they're trying to adopt.

"He's trying to make them more expansive, they're trying to play between the thirds rather than on the counter attack or direct. It should make for a good game of football.

"It will be a difficult game, but equally if we play as well as we can, there's no reason why we can't win."

Saturday's 3-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers, courtesy of goals from Steven Naismith, Robbie Brady and Jonny Howson, was City's fourth win in five home league matches.

Neil is demanding further consistency from his players as they press to bring themselves back into play-off contention in the Sky Bet Championship.

"All the points for us are really important at the moment. We need to add another three, close that gap and get ourselves into the play-off positions as quickly as possible," he added.

"When we went up last time, we were in a similar situation and we closed that gap pretty emphatically. However, it's going to take a similar run of results. We're certainly capable of doing that.

"We want to build on the Wolves performance and go on and win."

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