Playing catch-up does not faze us

David Cuffley Manager Bryan Gunn is losing no sleep at the possibility of his Norwich City side having to play catch-up on their relegation rivals in the last two weeks of the season.

David Cuffley

Manager Bryan Gunn is losing no sleep at the possibility of his Norwich City side having to play catch-up on their relegation rivals in the last two weeks of the season.

With the Canaries' final home game, against promotion-chasing Reading, moved back two days for live TV coverage, it means they will be playing two of their last three Championship matches after the rest of the sides currently fighting to avoid the drop.

The East Anglian derby against Ipswich at Portman Road on Sunday, April 19 (12.45pm), comes a day after all the other strugglers are in action.

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And the Reading match, moved to Monday, April 27 (7.45pm), will be played two days after an otherwise complete Championship programme.

But Gunn is confident there will be no added pressure on his players through having to wait an extra day or two. Instead, he believes the delay could prove to be in City's favour.

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He said: “I hope we will have achieved results before that that will keep us in a healthy position and it might work to our benefit if you look at it the other way.

“Reading at home on a Monday night excites me. I'm sure it does the players as well - just like we had Cardiff at home on a Tuesday night. We got a reaction from the players and supporters.

“That's looking too far ahead for me at the moment but I don't think there are any negative feelings from our side.

“The derby game is the other one and that's on a Sunday - again, once we get to that, I hope we will have done jobs in the other games to keep us in a healthy position. And then we can maybe take advantage of other things that are happening around us.”

Whatever happens against the Blues and Royals, every Championship match kicks off at the same time on the last day of the season, with City's game at Charlton on Sunday, May 3, and the other 11 fixtures all starting at 1.15pm.

By then, Gunn hopes the Canaries will be safe - and he paid tribute to his new management team for their role in the club's survival mission since he was appointed two months ago.

He said: “It's a great team effort off the field which hopefully gets replicated on the field.

“We've had a couple of blips but I think the majority of the time there has been good football, stylish football, passionate commitment - everything that I was as a player and some of those guys were as players as well is being reflected on the pitch.

“We've got ourselves a great opportunity to carry on making our mark and the mission is to get those points. We have a great opportunity to finish the job off.”

Speaking ahead of today's Championship match at Birmingham, 45-year-old Gunn said he was feeling more at home in his new job.

“It doesn't feel like a lifetime but it feels like a long time,” he said.

“I feel very comfortable in the role, I'm enjoying it. I think I have had a bit of everything now - four wins, four draws and four losses, so I've had that sort of rollercoaster of emotions that go along with being a manager and have had to make some tough, tricky decisions along the way as well.

“But I hope I am making them for the right reasons and that's for Norwich City and the fact that we can keep this club in the Championship. That was the mission that we started back in January and we're still on course to complete that mission, which is heartening.”

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