Manager looks ahead to Bolton test

ALEX Neil has no doubts about the strength of desire and focus in his playing squad as he readies the promotion-chasing Canaries for their final five matches of the Sky Bet Championship season.

City picked up a maximum of six points over the Easter weekend to occupy a top-two place in the division for the first time since Neil took charge in January.

Speaking to Norwich City TV ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bolton Wanderers (3pm), he laid out what he believes his team will need to demonstrate to get them over the line in the coming weeks.

“The amount of effort and hard work we’ve put in to get us to this stage – we’re going to have to do that and more to stay there,” he said.

“We know exactly what’s required, nobody needs to tell us the importance of the next five games. It’s a case of us going out and delivering now.

“I think you can see how hungry they are and how much they want it. They’re focussed on their jobs and they know exactly what they’ve got to do.

“We’re in the good place, but it’s about making sure that come this game and when the whistle blows, we’re ready and we go and perform as well as we can.”

Neil, who revealed that the team will stay up north after the weekend to prepare for Tuesday’s game at Leeds, confirmed that Elliott Bennett (hamstring) will be part of the travelling party after last featuring for the Canaries against Birmingham in January.

Bradley Johnson will start his two-game suspension after picking up his tenth yellow card against Sheffield Wednesday but City’s boss has faith in the depth of his squad.

“Everybody has got their part to play. Bradley’s been fantastic since I’ve been here, but it’s another opportunity for someone else to come into the fold and prove their worth to the group,” he added.

“I know what I’m going to do. Every game that you’re going to play, you’re always going to have a plan but you’re also going to have another plan just in case that one doesn’t work.

“There are guys who have contributed, who unfortunately for them haven’t been in the team of late, but I’ll give one of them, or maybe more than one of them, a chance to come in and see what they can do.”

Bolton have lost just once at home in their last 13 league matches, and on their threat Neil commented: “I think they’re a very attacking team, the way they line-up. They commit men forward so it will be quite an open game. I don’t think it’s going to be a cagey affair.

“We’ll go into the game knowing what we’ve got to do, and we’ll approach it in that manner. We’ll be going to try and win the game, it’s as simple as that. I’m hoping we’re on the good end of the scoreline come Saturday.”

Middlesbrough, Friday April 17, 7.45pm


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