Potters boss Tony Pulis shares the same ambition as his City counterpart Chris Hughton ahead of tomorrow’s anxious clash at the Britannia – one more win, one final push for the finishing line…
After City’s much-needed success against Reading and Stoke’s 2-0 away win at QPR – a result that effectively sealed their fate – both clubs are now within touching distance of that magic 40-point mark.
Both have four games to go and while the Canaries enjoy the luxury of having two more home games to come, so Pulis is clearly intent on making home advantage count tomorrow. Quite what the atmosphere will be is another matter.
After seven years at the helm, there appears to be poison in the air in the Potteries with the Daily Mirror today claiming that Pulis will walk as soon as Stoke were mathematically safe from the drop.
The Potters boss denied such talk, but it is clear that the mood needs lifting – and that Norwich could yet find themselves well-placed to take full advantage of the division that appears to be figuring large at the Britannia.
“We’ve four to go, and we need to get a result in one of those,” Pulis told Sky Sports, with Hughton likely to be thinking much the same as he gears his troops up for one of the less appealing away days of the season.
It will be a big, nasty, slog of a match – it is unlikely to figure large in tomorrow night’s Match Of The Day schedule.
“We still need to get to 40 points, which has been the target from the beginning of the season,” added Pulis.
“I personally think we will be safe with 40, and our goal difference is good, so that’s almost an extra point for us. The sooner we get to that then the more relaxed we will be, and with a lot more smiles on people’s faces. The pressure comes off.”
From a Norwich perspective, to bag three points on their travels tomorrow would be a huge result – not least because it could then allow them to approach the final two home games of the season – against Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa and then Midlands neighbours West Bromwich Albion – in a far more relaxed and confident frame of mind.
Tomorrow’s clash is far from the six-pointer that the Reading game became, but it would still be nice to nick something from the contest.
Hughton will be without centre-half Michael Turner for the trip up the A50; he is out with the groin strain picked up in that crucial win over the Royals.
Ryan Bennett could deputise again, whilst the City chief also has the services of Leon Barnett to call on after his return from Cardiff on loan.
Meanwhile, the club have announced details of the eagerly-awaited FA Youth Cup final against holders Chelsea.
The first leg will be played next Monday, the 29th, kick-off 7.45pm.
Chelsea, winners 4-1 on aggregate over Liverpool in their semi-final, will then host the second leg back at the Bridge on Monday, May 13th.
Tickets are priced at just £2 for Monday’s game. Profits will be donated towards the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation’s Sporting Light Appeal.