Neil lays down gauntlet to fringe Norwich players

Date published: Tuesday 22nd September 2015 12:27

Alex Neil: Planning for Southampton clash

Alex Neil has urged Norwich’s fringe stars to stake a claim for regular Premier League football by beating West Brom in the Capital One Cup.

The Canaries boss is expected to fully utilise his squad for the visit of the Baggies on Wednesday night.

Other than having midfielder Alex Tettey ruled out through suspension after collecting a fifth yellow card in the 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Sunday, Neil reports no fresh injury concerns.

The Scot, though, indicated he will give some of those who have seen their Premier League chances limited a chance to impress, with left-back Martin Olsson now fit again following summer shoulder surgery and Congo forward Dieumerci Mbokani, signed on from Dynamo Kiev, in line for a first start.

“It is a case of getting some players game time, but also making sure the squad and team are going to be strong, certainly strong enough to win the game,” Neil said at a press conference.

“It is always a balancing act over the course of the season because it is not just about 11 players, it is about making sure you try and utilise your squad the best you can, but try and not weaken the team.”

Neil added: “The team will be motivated because those who have been playing will want to continue our momentum and those who come in will be wanting to stake their claim.

“We have got a good squad with competition for places all over the pitch, all the lads are desperate to play. Some will get their opportunity.

“It is a one-off game, so we will go all out to win it.”

Neil knows full well where Norwich’s focus is this season.

“Any cup that we play in is important, so we are not going to be dismissive of this competition, we want to do well and we want to win this game, but at the stage we are at at the moment (as a club) our Premier League hopes and aspirations are our biggest priority,” said Neil, who took the club up through the play-offs last season.

Norwich captain Russell Martin made a hectic dash back to Norfolk from Merseyside late on Saturday night for the birth of his third child and then swiftly returned to Anfield, where he later scored a second-half equaliser.

Neil said: “Obviously they have had their new baby, but with football there is no break, so it is just getting in and preparing for the next game. Russ has been in here, just like the rest of the squad.”

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