Norwich City play-off winner sends warning to Leeds United as three dangermen highlighted

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Leeds United kick-off their Championship play-off campaign at Carrow Road on Sunday.

Former Norwich City manager Alex Neil has warned that Leeds United will have their hands full against a vibrant Canaries frontline during their Championship play-off semi-final clash.

Norwich are rank outsiders for play-off glory, having finished the regular season in sixth, but face a Leeds side short on form and confidence in their semi-final clash. Daniel Farke’s side have taken just four points from their past six games and go to Carrow Road on Sunday at a season low, having conceded the automatic promotion places to Leicester City and Ipswich Town.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A strange end to the season means none of the four teams still fighting are in flying form and Norwich lost to relegated Birmingham City on their final day, but a week to reset and prepare will even out the playing field for up to three more crucial games. Despite losing both regular season meetings, Norwich caused Leeds plenty of problems and Neil, who guided the Canaries to promotion via the play-offs in 2015, knows it will be a tough 90 minutes for all involved.

"My concern for Norwich was, 'Who is going to be fit?' I know Ashley Barnes has been struggling, but if Norwich have a fully fit squad to choose from, I think they will grow in confidence from that,” Neil told the Pink Un. “A lot of their experienced players will be available and have been around the block before. They will be a handful for Leeds in the game in terms of what it's going to look for.

Get a personalised Leeds United news round-up, as well as breaking news, when you sign up for our free Leeds United newsletter email.

"David Wagner has brought a robustness to Norwich. They don't necessarily need to dominate the ball to win games now. Defensively, they've been stronger and can be more stuffy than they have been in the past. If Norwich have everyone fit, guys like Rowe, Sargent and Sara can produce moments.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Sargent in particular, because I don't think they have anybody quite like him with his running power. He's got a bit of everything. It'll be really interesting because Leeds are full throttle and have real pace down the sides. It'll be a really good game. Let's not be fooled - I'll be supporting Norwich in the play-offs and I want them to go up."

Norwich will likely be without striker Barnes for Sunday’s home leg at the least, while Onel Hernandez and Liam Gibbs will miss both games. Shane Duffy is in contention to feature despite being arrested and charged for drink-driving earlier in the week, while Christian Fassnacht and Jon Rowe have both been in full training and could feature.

Leeds will be without striker Patrick Bamford for both semi-final legs after what was initially described as a bruised knee developed into a more complex patellar tendon injury. Dan James could return after recovering from an abdominal injury, but is unlikely to be risked for a full 90 minutes. Pascal Struijk remains out and will not feature again this season after undergoing surgery on a groin issue.