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Norwich v Ipswich: Alex Neil relishing pre-match hype
2015/05/17 16:18:18

Norwich v Ipswich: Alex Neil relishing pre-match hype

Norwich manager Alex Neil believes anyone who cannot take the expected flak from the terraces in Saturday's all-or-nothing Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final second leg against local rivals Ipswich at Carrow Road is "probably in the wrong sport".

Town midfielder Cole Skuse is preparing himself for a red-hot reception in the 99th East Anglia derby, which is delicately poised at 1-1 and will see the winners go onto Wembley and the shot at a #120million promotion jackpot to the Barclays Premier League.
The pre-match hype is already reaching fever pitch across both borders, and Skuse, 29, revealed he does not "relish being called all sorts of names and having abuse thrown my way" and would "rather they shouted nice things, but I know that's not going to happen".

Neil, though, feels having to run the gauntlet is what makes such games so appealing.

"The first thing which has come into my head (hearing him say that), is I might call him a name in the tunnel and see if that upsets him," Neil said at a press conference.

"It is part and parcel of the game. If he is going to get upset by people calling him names or heckling, he is probably in the wrong sport.

"That is (a) relatively surprising (comment). I am sure he probably said it tongue in cheek, I would like to think.

"(Last week) I was signing things at Ipswich for Ipswich fans and the ones behind them were booing me while I was doing it, so that is all part of the game, it is that whole sort of pantomime villain type thing.

"But the good thing is (these games) are played in the right spirit by both teams but equally are still really, really determined to beat each other and that is what makes it such a great game."

Neil is, though, keen for Norwich to make the most of home advantage, having been pegged back after taking a first-half lead at Portman Road last weekend.

"I am hoping we can create some noise for the players to get them fired up - they won't necessarily need that, but every little bit helps," Neil said on Norwich City TV.

"The more noise we can create, to hopefully put a doubt in the Ipswich players' minds, the better.

"If they get the real backing of the fans, who desperately want it as much as the players are, then we are all in it together, and certainly if we go down that route we have got a better chance."

Norwich beat Ipswich 2-0 at Carrow Road in March, with Neil's side narrowly missing out on automatic promotion, just three points behind Watford, despite a superb run of form under the Scot, who took over in January.

The 33-year-old added: "We know exactly what is coming and we know exactly how we are going to go about trying to win the game.

"Now it is just about performing on the day and making sure we are completely focused.

"We are really determined and just can't wait for it come."

Forward Lewis Grabban completes a three-match suspension, but otherwise Norwich have no fresh injury concerns from last weekend's first leg, with playmaker Wes Hoolahan pressing for a place in the starting XI.

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