Alex Neil hoping for more Norwich City resilience during FA Cup replay at Southampton
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Resilience is not an attribute Norwich City have shown they have in their armoury on many occasions this season but manager Alex Neil is hoping to see more of it against Southampton tonight.
The Canaries head to St Mary’s for a replay against a Premier League side they pegged back twice at Carrow Road earlier this month.
Steven Whittaker’s penalty and a header from Steven Naismith earned City a replay – which now has the reward of a televised fourth round home tie against Arsenal riding on it.
“It’s something that I’ve been critical of this season because I don’t think we’ve had enough resilience but as I said before the Rotherham game, I thought there were two or three games where things were starting to get better and Southampton was one of those games,” Neil said of the 2-2 draw.
“To come back twice was a good sign, I think the only other time we’ve done it this year was at Nottingham Forest where we won the game having come from behind.
“So it was certainly a step in the right direction but with the disappointment at the weekend, this game we want to go and try to do as well as we can but Saturday is of real importance to us.”
Neil has a host of selection issues to contend with when picking his team for the replay though.
“We’ve got to look at the grand scheme of things and what’s most important, which is to get back on track in the league and win as many games as we can,” Neil continued.
“What I can’t do is jeopardise that and run the risk of potentially risking that, which is what I would be doing if I was silly with my selection.”
After slipping to a ninth defeat in 13 matches in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Rotherham, City have slipped to 11th place in the Championship and eight points adrift of the play-off places.
Which means Neil will be keeping one eye on the visit of Wolves to Carrow Road on Saturday during tonight’s St Mary’s encounter.
“I don’t think what happens is going to have much bearing on Saturday,” Neil added.
“I think Saturday will be a game in itself because we are going to have to make some changes for the game and the importance of Saturday for us, regardless of what happens, Saturday is a game when we obviously need to try and win.”
• Norwich have reached the fourth round of the FA Cup in just five of the past 20 seasons
• City had just 37pc of possession during their 2-2 draw with Saints but had as many shots at goal (12) as their top-flight opponents
• Victory is potentially worth £500,000 – £67,500 in prize money, plus £144,000 in TV money against Arsenal and half the gate from that tie
• Saints have lost just three of their 16 home games this season
• Victory tonight would tee up a home clash against Arsenal on Saturday, January 28 (5.30pm)