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Norwich City interim chief Alan Irvine strives for the right formula to stall Brighton

PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 April 2017 | UPDATED: 13:03 21 April 2017

Wes Hoolahan is back in the mix after being rested at Preston. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Wes Hoolahan is back in the mix after being rested at Preston. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Norwich City’s new wave sparked Preston’s downfall, but Alan Irvine knows it will take a streetwise edge to halt Brighton’s Championship title charge.

Chris Hughton returns to Norwich. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdChris Hughton returns to Norwich. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Irvine underlined his commitment to youth with a goalscoring Canaries’ league debut at Deepdale for James Maddison. Josh Murphy was also on target in a rare league start, with Alex Pritchard a key figure in the opening two goals.

Pritchard could have joined Brighton last summer before opting to head east but the attacking midfielder has had to be patient for his first team chance.

“I have got to say that picking the team for this one is not easy because we are doing it on the back of two excellent performances in the last three games,” said Irvine. “It is a much nicer problem than none of them playing well. I would much rather have too many. Obviously Brighton is as hard a challenge as you can face at home, which has to be taken into consideration, but certainly in terms of playing young players it is always something I have been in favour of, if it is the right time and if they are ready. The fact is I have said it has to be the right kind of performance and it was at Preston. That was an opportunity to put James Maddison into a team playing well and he benefitted from that.

“It wasn’t a risk or likely to be a bad experience for him. I have seen the other side of that when young players have not recovered from going in at the wrong time. It was brilliant for him to get the goal as well but Steven Naismith played a fantastic part in that and I am sure James appreciates that. It is about the best team to get a result against Brighton.”

Brighton's Anthony Knockaert is one of four Seagulls' players in the PFA Championship team of the year. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdBrighton's Anthony Knockaert is one of four Seagulls' players in the PFA Championship team of the year. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Championship player of the season Anthony Knockaert has earned many plaudits but the Brighton wide player is not the only danger.

“Knockaert has had a fantastic season and is a real threat in this division and will go on to be the same in the league above. There is no doubt about that,” said Irvine. “They have over 40 goals from their three main strikers, they have got other players in wide areas who have done extremely well for them, like (Jiri) Skalak, (Jamie) Murphy and (Solly) March. Quite simply, they have been a very effective team. They have won games quite comfortably at times and also ground things out. They are not an easy team to play against or score against.”

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6 comments

  • I so hope that Brighton win the championship title tonight against city and rub more pain and misery into Delia Smith and her board for making the mistake in sticking faith in Neil I hope Brighton make a easy win for them .

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    City M

    Friday, April 21, 2017

  • Disgraceful comments about our skipper a fine loyal servant for NCFC, probably worked longer for the club than the vermin have been so called supporters.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    TERRY LYON

    Friday, April 21, 2017

  • Timbo, if he cooks like he runs, the burgers will be cold!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Ged in the onion bag

    Friday, April 21, 2017

  • Anyone would think we are playing barcelona ! its brighton for god sake,just let the kids play with passion and bet we get a better result this time !

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    nelly

    Friday, April 21, 2017

  • I see Chris the Country Vicar has stuck with his old, reliable Marks + Sparks sweater then....Hope the lads go all out to muller Brighton. We owe 'em after earlier in the season. Ged- I hear Martin will be playing a vital role @ The Carra next season.....there's a job going @ the burger van outside......

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    Timbo

    Friday, April 21, 2017

  • ABSOLUTELY NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER IN STALLING BRIGHTON'S PROMOTION PARTY...... LETS SEE WHAT POTENTIAL WE HAVE FOR NEXT SEASON....RAMSEY, EFETE, CROWE, GODFREY, MADDISON, THOMPSON, MURPHY'S, PRITCHARD, SHOULD ALL BE IN THE SQUAD...... THIS IS ABOUT US BLOODING PLAYERS IN FAVOUR OF THE FAILED OLD GUARD. NO INTEREST IN MARTIN GETTING TO 300, IT'S AN ABSOLUTE TRAVESTY HE'S BEEN ALLOWED HIM THIS MANY GAMES ...... SORT IT OUT. OTBC.

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    Ged in the onion bag

    Friday, April 21, 2017

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