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Norwich boss Alex Neil insists his side are ready for Premier League football

Norwich manager Alex Neil looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match against Brighton
Image: Norwich City manager Alex Neil

Norwich boss Alex Neil says his squad has the quality to compete in the Premier League next season should they make it up through the Sky Bet Championship play-offs.

The Canaries entertain Ipswich Town at Carrow Road on Saturday - live on Sky Sports 1 - locked at 1-1 from the first leg of their semi-final at Portman Road last weekend. 

But former Hamilton manager Neil has warned his side face a massive task to claim their place among England's elite with their East Anglian rivals standing in their way of a final showdown with Brentford or Middlesbrough.

"We're not the favourites to go up when you think of what is at stake," the Scot told Sky Sports News HQ. "It's a one-off local derby but I do hope home advantage with help up.

"Since I've been here everyone has tagged us as favourites in every game so it's common for us to be favourites but it is all about who plays better on the day.

"I think the first goal will be absolutely crucial on Saturday. We were disappointed that once we took the lead last week we let it slip, particularly at a crucial part of the game just before half time."

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Neil admitted he was less than happy with his defence after they allowed Ipswich substitute Paul Anderson to cancel out Jonny Howson's opener on the stroke of half time and is looking for improvement this weekend.

"We're hoping to start the game well, get the first goal and hopefully that will set us up," he added.

"We were disappointed how we defended their goal but we are well prepared, we know what is coming and it's just a case of making sure we perform on the day. If we do that anywhere near our maximum I do believe we have enough to win the game."

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Ipswich 1-1 Norwich: Highlights

Asked if his side were ready to make the step up to the top flight of English football, Neil, who arrived at the club in January, said: "Yes, I certainly do.

"When I took over first and foremost I wanted to make sure we climbed the league and if that meant we got all the way to automatic promotion then great, but if not it would have meant we would be in the play-offs.

"So if you look at any squad in the Championship my squad is as good as any to take that step up and I certainly hope that's the case, and I obviously hope we show our quality come the game on Saturday."

Watch Norwich take on Ipswich in the second leg of their play-off semi-final from midday this Saturday on Sky Sports 1

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