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Alex Neil focused on Norwich soaring into Premier League

Championship play-off: Norwich v Middlesbrough, Wembley, 3pm (Sky)

Alex Neil believes the best way to prepare for the biggest match in his short managerial career, and arguably in Norwich's history, will be to focus on the Sky Bet Championship play-off final against Middlesbrough as being just another game.

Back in August, the 33-year-old Scot began the season as player-manager of Hamilton, tackling Arbroath at New Douglas Park.

Roll the clock on some 10 months and Neil now stands on the verge of guiding Norwich back into the Premier League, and with it a £120m promotion jackpot following a staggering run of 16 victories in his 24 matches since replacing Neil Adams at the start of January.

Wembley fever may have engulfed Norfolk and Canaries fans around the globe since beating East Anglia rivals Ipswich in the semi-final, with some 39,500 tickets having been snapped up and coaches, trains and planes from as far afield as Canada, Australia and South Vietnam all booked.

Yet Neil has kept the squad's preparations focused on the job in hand - winning a football match.

"The way I go about it and the detail is different but not the process, that is the same whether it was Arbroath or now Middlesbrough at Wembley. I will still do the same things with my players," said Neil, who took the players down to London at the start of the week to help familiarise both the squad and himself ahead of a first trip to the national stadium.

Neil added: "I know exactly what I want to do. It is about picking the right team for the game, that is the most important thing.

"I have watched Boro enough now, I know what they are capable of and what we are capable of doing.

"For the players, the message is don't have any regrets. They have worked so hard to get to this point, it's really important that we don't fall at the final hurdle."

Belfast Telegraph


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