The feeling that surrounds Norwich City’s clash with Coventry feels more heightened, and David Wagner is hoping his side embraces that.

Norwich are hoping to draw level on points with the Sky Blues, who missed the opportunity to move five points clear in midweek, with a victory at Carrow Road today. They also know defeat would double the points gap between the sides with just 16 games left.

That context is what has built the sense of occasion around this contest. If Norwich want to prove they are capable of becoming a top-six side, then they need to continue their recent habit of extracting points against sides above and around them.

Wagner was unwilling to play down the noise around this encounter, largely due to the trust he feels in his playing group.

After a week of defeats against Leeds and Liverpool, Coventry represent the latest test of City’s play-off credentials. Wagner knows the rewards are there if Norwich can discover three points.

“For sure (it is a big game), Hull, Southampton and Leeds were as well – the last four or five teams that we have played are all in this category,” he said.

“Coventry are a top team, especially offensively. (They are) super, super good and have good individual quality. They have some good ideas, play with a lot of freedom, and have only been beaten once in the last 13 – this shows the confidence that they have at the moment.

“It’s a big test, like we had in the past. We have to be on our best level and fully focused in all areas. At home, we have a lot of confidence and belief in ourselves. It will be another good test for us, and hopefully, we can get another good result.”

If Norwich hold aspirations of breaking into the top six come May, then gaining positive results in these matches are of the utmost importance, just as they've achieved of late.

Their win over West Brom last time out at Carrow Road offered reasons for optimism, but Wagner knows they face another tough test against a side that has lost just one of their last 16 matches in all competitions.

“I can imagine that it will be a good football match tactically and technically as well against two teams who like to win. This is what I expect.

“Does this automatically mean that we will see a lot of goals? I don’t know,” he said.

“But I expect a tough test for us. I know that we have to be at our best, but I have so much belief and trust in my group that we are capable of giving them a game, and this is exactly what we would like to do.”

Saturday’s game also sees another Carrow Road return for Mark Robins, who played for City between 1992 and 1995, in the opposite dug-out.

Norwich Evening News: Coventry boss Mark Robins is an anomaly in modern football management.Coventry boss Mark Robins is an anomaly in modern football management. (Image: PA Images)

Robins is an anomaly in the modern game, having been in charge of the Sky Blues for nearly seven years – only John Coleman at Accrington Stanley and Harrogate’s Simon Weaver have been at their respective clubs for longer in the EFL.

Wagner is full of admiration for his longevity and achievements – taking Coventry from League Two to one kick away from the Premier League, but is eager to ensure his poor run against his former club continues.

“What he has done is remarkable,” Wagner said. “In general, if you stay as a manager at a football club as long as he has, then it speaks for itself. This automatically means that you have done a good job and have been successful. This is exactly what he has done.

“Yes, they have spent a lot of money in the winter and they have sold a few players as well, but they have done very smart business and financially, they now have a certain power which they have used very well.

“I know for the one or other, Coventry isn’t the sexiest club or biggest name in the division, but in terms of the individuals they have and how they play, they are a top team who deserve to be in the play-off spots again, just as they did it last season.

“They have a certain consistency and have a good team. But it doesn’t change that we want to beat them.”

Norwich are hoping to get back to winning ways after consecutive defeats in both league and cup.

Despite the two defeats against Leeds and Liverpool, Wagner believes a connection between the spells of possession they displayed in the second period at Elland Road combined with the clinical edge to net twice against some of the world’s best at Anfield.

“First of all, you have to address it and speak honestly about what you can do better and what you have done well. We were not clinical against Leeds at this moment, but against Liverpool, we were very clinical.

“Only Fulham have scored three goals at Anfield and we scored two. There, we were clinical with less ball possession – so it is always a mix,” he said.

Norwich Evening News: Norwich netted twice at Anfield last Sunday in a 5-2 FA Cup defeat.Norwich netted twice at Anfield last Sunday in a 5-2 FA Cup defeat. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

“The important thing is not to get driven away by good performances or good ball possession but to address what you are able to do better. Against Leeds, it was a certain area. Against Liverpool, it was another one. Against West Brom, it was the next one.

“But you have to make clear that there was good stuff in these games as well. This is how we’ve done it in the past and will do it in the future – to speak about what we should improve, what we have to work on but also the good things as well.

“We have to improve in all departments and all areas. We have a high demand on ourselves.”

Norwich will be without top goalscorer Jon Rowe and defender Danny Batth through injury. New signing Sydney van Hooijdonk will be hoping to make his debut.