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Saturday 10 December 2016

Jonny Howson plays down play-off with Ipswich

Johnny Howson
Johnny Howson

Midfielder Jonny Howson feels Norwich must tackle next weekend's all-or-nothing East Anglia derby against Ipswich at Carrow Road as just another game.

The Canaries returned across the Suffolk border with a 1-1 draw from Portman Road following what was a hotly-contested - but cagey - Sky Bet Championship Play-off semi-final first leg.

The local rivals will now go head-to-head again back in Norfolk next Saturday lunchtime for a place at Wembley - and a shot at a promotion jackpot worth an estimated £120million.

Canaries boss Alex Neil believes his squad can keep themselves away from the hype which will inevitably engulf the region this week, with Town manager Mick McCarthy stressing the Ipswich players would become "unhinged" if there was a dramatic change in their pre-match routine.

Howson, who put Norwich ahead on 41 minutes with a well-taken finish before substitute Paul Anderson equalised in stoppage time at the end of the first half, believes ultimately it will be which side can deal with the pressure best that will stay on course for the Premier League.

"We are at the halfway point now, and it is still there for us," said Howson (above).

"As much as we were coming to Ipswich for the win, the most important thing was we didn't throw it away. It is all to play for at Carrow Road."

In the other Championship play-off, Middlesbrough take a 2-1 lead back home to the Riverside after beating Brentford 2-1 last Friday thanks to a last minute winner from substitute Fernando Amorebieta.

The return leg takes place this coming Friday.

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