Norwich and Reading have one eye on other results

Bryan Gunn and his players will have their eyes glued to the TV sets tomorrow afternoon as results from around the Championship come in. But while the matches involving Barnsley, Blackpool, Nottingham Forest and Derby will all have an immediate bearing on City's future, there's one other fixture at the other end of the table which won't go unnoticed.

Bryan Gunn and his players will have their eyes glued to the TV sets tomorrow afternoon as results from around the Championship come in.

But while the matches involving Barnsley, Blackpool, Nottingham Forest and Derby will all have an immediate bearing on City's future, there's one other fixture at the other end of the table which won't go unnoticed.

The evening kick-off from St Andrews, where second-placed Birmingham face Preston, may well have implications for the Canaries when they entertain Reading on Monday night.

Steve Coppell's side are fourth after their win at Derby on Tuesday, six points behind Birmingham, who, if they beat Preston will wrap up the second automatic spot alongside Wolves.


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But if Preston come out on top it means a Reading win at Carrow Road would strengthen their slim claims for second place - especially as they face Birmingham at home on the final day.

However, they still need third-placed Sheffield United to drop points from their two remaining games, against Swansea and Crystal Palace.

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It's a typical end-of-season conundrum, but if Reading's hopes are still alive by Monday, then it increases the challenge that City face in a match they must win.

Reading striker Shane Long believes the Royals have the mental strength to come out on top.

“Everyone at the club will be watching Birmingham on Saturday,” he said. “I won't have any fingers left but if Preston manage to go there and win it will be very exciting.

“That would take it to the last game of the season. The fact is right now we can still get automatic promotion. It's unlikely but it's an outside chance and we have got to concentrate on that.”

Despite Tuesday's win, Royals have picked up just three wins in their last 15 games and Long admitted: “Before Christmas we were unstoppable. Everyone at the club thought we were certain to go back up. But after Christmas it just fell to pieces.

“I don't know how we're still in this position after the run we've had but when we play well I think we're the best team in the Championship.

“We deserve to be back in the Premiership but we have to show that week in week out and that's what we have to do from here in.

“Norwich will give everything because they are fighting for survival and Birmingham will want to turn us over because we beat them at their place.

“So everything is up for grabs, but if we are in the play-offs we want to go into them with some form behind us and a good feeling like we had at Derby.

“If we do that I'm positive we can keep winning the games and get back to the Premier League.”

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